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Editorial: Shop locally for the holidays this year

It seemed that Christmas paraphernalia went up in stores earlier than ever this year.
Think about shopping locally for the holidays this year. (Metro Creative Services photo)

It seemed that Christmas paraphernalia went up in stores earlier than ever this year.

Weeks before Halloween, shops were already changing their displays from spooky to jolly. If you tried to buy some last minute Halloween candy on Oct. 31 your choices were, to say the least, limited. (We imagine someone could have made a nice chunk of change on the last-minute shoppers if they’d kept some more stock out.)

Which brings us inevitably to Christmas shopping.

While people celebrate the holidays in myriad different ways, giving gifts to those closest to us is a tradition followed by the majority. Whether you start shopping as soon as the Christmas displays go up, or wait until Christmas Eve, we urge you to think about buying your gifts locally this year. Your limited holiday budget won’t mean much to billion dollar corporations like Amazon, but will mean a lot to mom and pop shops in the Cowichan Valley.

This year, BC Buy Local Week is from Nov. 28 to Dec. 4, and they’ve got a different theme for each of the seven days.

There’s buying online from local stores, shopping in person at local stores, giving local experiences, supporting communities by shopping main street, choosing local food and beverages, buying locally made items and buying gift cards to local stores.

The BC Buy Local Week website calculates that the average Canadian spends about $1,600 on travel, food, drinks and gifts over the holidays. By shifting a portion of that money to local establishments you help keep local businesses open and local people employed.

The Cowichan Valley boasts some of the best local shopping out there. From thrift stores for the frugal and environmentally minded, to excellent restaurants, wineries, breweries, craft fairs full of local artisans, and boutiques, you can find it in Cowichan.

Brick and mortar stores employ locals and pay taxes to keep our communities running. BC Buy Local Week says that $63 of every $100 spent at these shops is recirculated back into the local economy.

If you prefer to shop from your computer, consider that of the $4 billion Canadians spend every month online, two out of three dollars goes to a U.S. multinational. You can bet they’re not sponsoring the local soccer team. So think about looking up some of Cowichan’s best as you browse.

If you haven’t yet explored what Cowichan retailers have to offer you’re in for a treat. Especially as the cost of living rises for everyone, your patronage will mean more than ever to your fellow Cowichan Valley residents this year.

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