Holiday shopping season kicks off this weekend

The West Coast’s Christmas shopping season is about to kick it full-throttle.

While Santa Claus does his best to navigate his sleigh through the West Coast’s winter conditions, locals boost his efforts by scouring through local stores in search of the perfect presents for loved ones.

To assist these searches, the business communities of Ucluelet and Tofino each host annual Christmas shopping specials to celebrate the season.

Ucluelet’s event is called Midnight Madness and it is ready to rock on Friday, Nov. 28 with Tofino’s Jingle into Christmas scheduled the following weekend.

Jingle into Christmas will be held from Dec. 5-7 with the main event happening on the evening of Dec. 5. Jingle’s main event fell on the same day as Midnight Madness last year, which had some West Coasters feeling Scrooged as they found themselves unable to attend both events.

This same scheduling conflict looked ready to repeat itself this year until the Tofino and Long Beach Chamber of Commerce (TLBC) pushed Jingle back a week after surveying the local business community.

“We were asked by local individuals to consider changing the Jingle into Christmas date to avoid conflicting with Ucluelet’s event,” said TLBC’s executive director Jen Dart.

“We also thought it would benefit everyone on the West Coast if the events were held at different times, and the online poll we did overwhelmingly supported that notion.”

Dart is confident the scheduling change will not negatively impact Jingle’s jingle.

“I think we’ve given the community more than enough warning about the date change, and we are supporting members by promoting their events,” she said.

Look for full coverage and a complete pull-out guide to Tofino’s Jingle Into Christmas in next week’s Westerly News.

Tofino’s move was much appreciated by Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce executive director Sally Mole.

“Huge thanks to those guys,” she said.

“Changing the dates was a huge gesture of goodwill on their part and I hope people will make the trip down to Tofino the following weekend to do their Jingle into Christmas shopping.”

Mole said Midnight Madness provides an early push for locals to catch hold of the season’s spirit and an important opportunity to keep their Christmas cash in town by taking advantage of a strong variety of Christmas specials.

“It’s an opportunity to get out and mingle a bit because we’ve all come off a really busy summer and it’s good to catch up with everybody and support the local businesses because they really do support our local community,” she said.

“We’re coming into a lean time of the season and it’s really important to get out there and show that you really do support our local economy.”

The chamber will be participating in Midnight Madness this year, as the chamber office on Peninsula Road will be hosting a garage sale from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 28.

“It will be great and a good time to come in and say ‘hi’ and, if I haven’t met you, introduce yourself and let me know about your business and what you do in the community,” Mole said.

The Westerly News will be joining Blackberry Cove in a Midnight Madness extravaganza, bringing a little punch to the event and offering a special doorprize with a basket of wee gifties from some of our advertisers.

“Drop by and register for the draw! We’re looking forward to getting a chance to thank our readers in person,” said publisher Jackie Carmichael.

In Tofino, the district is sponsoring a special Christmas shuttle to move shoppers throughout town on Dec. 5th.

According to Dart, the chamber will be dishing out refreshments at Tofino’s Village Green.

“Both business owners and locals come out and enjoy a festive evening with the whole community,” she said.

Dart said the community’s Jingle into Christmas event brings a festive opportunity for locally minded shoppers to spread cheer throughout their town while supporting its economy.

“Buying local is a key component to keeping Tofino’s small businesses vibrant,” she said adding the event also brings opportunities for Tofitians to send uniquely local treasures to out of town loved ones.

“We have an eclectic business community that offers products and services not available anywhere else,” she said.

“Locals have the chance to give the gift of Tofino at Christmas, whether it’s clothing or products made and available here.”

She added many businesses in Tofino keep their Christmas specials rolling through the weekend.

reporter@westerlynews.ca