Ways to Support Local this Holiday Season

David Olivier Gascon image of wrapped gift

By Samantha Lacy

2020 has been one of the most challenging times of our lives, with many of our favorite local retailers suffering the economic impact of lockdowns. As we continue to pull together to get through the pandemic, consider how supporting local is good for you, our community and our economy.

Holiday gift giving can be full of stressful package delays and high shipping prices. Shopping at locally owned businesses this year allows you to avoid these stressors, help support hard-hit retailers and find unique presents for loved ones. 

The holiday season also makes up a large portion of expected yearly sales for local retailers. They need your support more than ever. Crossing a name off your shopping list at one of your favourite local shops supports not only that business owner, but also their staff, and the local economy at large.

With just over a week until Christmas, here are a few ideas for supporting local retailers when you’re looking for those last-minute gifts:

Shopping from retailers directly

There are a few options for buying gifts from local shops—in-person, curbside pickup, or online. If you are uncomfortable or unable to go into or pickup from stores, Downtown Victoria is partnering with many local retailers within the DVBA area to offer free delivery, making shopping online even easier. Contact your favourite Downtown Delivers participating retailers to find out more about the different delivery options available.

The gift of choice

Gift certificates support local retailers, can be used at any time and allow the recipient to choose when and how to use it. Support Local BC—a program created and run by Think Local First in Victoria—was created to support local, independent businesses while they weather the financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by selling gift certificates on their behalf. You can easily browse and purchase gift certificates all in one place for businesses within your community, including Greater Victoria businesses like Nezza Naturals, Crust Bakery, Robinson’s, and many more.

Spread the word

Local businesses reinvest in their local community and provide one-of-a-kind offerings and character, making each community unique. But, in order to be successful they need that community’s support in return. The more you can lend your support through purchases, sharing positive shopping experiences you’ve had with a business or suggesting it to others will benefit that retailer. So, add items from your favourite locally owned Victoria shops onto your own wishlist this holiday season and suggest to your friends and family to shop locally this year too.

Local gift inspiration

Still needing inspiration for last minute presents? Here are a few ideas for cozy, relaxing gifts for everyone on your list:

  • A Sapphire Day Spa gift certificate is the perfect escape for some well-deserved self-care. 
  • Pop in to Silk Road Tea, a one-stop-shop for all things tea-related, as well as aromatherapy and bath products.
  • Grab a Festival of Trees mug—a collaboration between the Bay Centre and Boo To You Designs—with 100% of the proceeds going to the BC Children’s Hospital.
  • Checkout the KWENCH pop-up market for some great stocking stuffers like mask lanyards, perfume or cooking spoons.
  • A cozy sweater or recycled cashmere toque from Anián, a company focused on creating timeless clothing that you can feel good about.

Check out the Think Local First app or Downtown Victoria for more Victoria retailers to support.

Happy holidays!