A variety of bentwood-style boxes are available in Sooke.

Shop local for Christmas and give two ways

Take the stress out of holiday shopping - shop local

Small businesses in Sooke are trying to provide interesting options for holiday gift giving. If you are tired of the long lineups and the picked over goods in the stores downtown, consider shopping locally.

In this day and age of mass-produced goods and imports, in an effort to find something different for gift giving, people are seeking unique, local and well- made items. They enjoy shopping local and supporting the small businesses in their own community.

Small businesses have remained very stable in a very uncertain economic climate. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business states that B.C. is once again above the national confidence level at 63.7 and fourth to Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba. But, 42 per cent of B.C. small businesses say that insufficient domestic demand is their greatest business constraint.

Tired of the same old, same old? Well, all you have to do is take a stroll through Sooke to find something suitable for almost anyone on your list. There are a number of great places you wouldn’t necessarily think of for your holiday shopping.

The discriminating shopper can find things such as beautiful handmade glass icicles and snowflakes, pottery, and books written by local authors. Local potters, and craftspeople showcase their work in a number of stores and shops. Consider some handwoven First Nations baskets, seaweed baskets, gourd broaches, and driftwood Santas.

In the core of Sooke there are shops carrying handmade jewelry, ornaments, antiques, handmade knives, masks and diamond rings.

More environmentally conscious? How about passes to a fitness facility or SEAPARC Leisure Centre? Treat someone you love to a spa day. What about the person who loves classical music? How about a season’s pass to the Sooke Philharmonic?  Get someone a coffee card and combine it with a handmade mug, or a beautiful wreath for their front door. Seniors in the mix? How about a membership to the Legion or a garden plot at the Sunriver Allotment Garden? Take a drive to some of the local artists’ studios and pick up a thing or two for a totally West Coast flavour. Or go to one of the local galleries for original works of art. For those with limited budgets there are beautiful art cards for those special occasions. It’s so much nicer to support a local artist with your card purchases.

Local businesses rely on locals who appreciate what they sell and buy them to help them continue to thrive. If we lose our small shops and stores then we lose a part of what makes Sooke an amazing community.

Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be stressful, expensive, unimaginative and time consuming and it won’t be if you shop local.