Tofino jeweller Lisa Fletcher meticulously crafts a new one-of-a-kind ring at her workspace in The Factory on Nov. 29. The unique Tofino store offers patrons opportunities to watch wares being made as they shop and it will be open late into the night on Dec. 6 as the community celebrates its annual Jingle Into Christmas holiday shopping celebration. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Tofino shops set to sparkle during weekend’s Jingle Into Christmas celebration

“It’s like a family reunion. It’s nice to see the locals’ faces.”

Tofino’s streets will be coated in holiday merriment this weekend as the community celebrates its annual Jingle Into Christmas shopping extravaganza.

Local merchants are decking their halls with festive trimmings and getting set to greet happy shoppers with yuletide savings and bargains galore during the Dec. 6 evening event.

“Jingle into Christmas is awesome because it brings the community together, supports local businesses and helps everyone get their Christmas shopping done,” said Lisa Fletcher of The Factory. “It’s such a community event and it’s a good time of year for visiting and getting to connect again with people we haven’t seen all summer.”

READ MORE: Four Tofino businesses up for Vancouver Island Excellence Awards

“It brings everybody out,” said Shari Hillier of Tofino Life Clothing “It’s like a family reunion. It’s nice to see the locals’ faces.”

“Everyone’s talking and having fun and it just brings the community together,” said Robin Cargill of LoveCraft Gallery. “It’s awesome because all the locals come out and get together and we all celebrate and see each other and buy really awesome stuff at a cheaper price.”

“It promotes local businesses and local shopping,” said Shari Wright of Driftwood Gifts. “It keeps the economy here in town, especially during the slower months and it brings everybody together.”

“It’s just a really cool scene and a fun atmosphere,” said Liz Hansen of The Candy Jar. “Everybody’s in a good mood.”

READ MORE: Tofino scores at Business Excellence Awards

Tofino mayor Josie Osborne is excited to be immersed in the evening’s jubilation.

“It’s actually become pretty much my only holiday shopping day of the year,” she said. “Of course it’s a ton of fun to see all the locals out and about, but it’s also all about celebrating our locally-owned, independent community of entrepreneurs. We’ve got such a vibrant business community and it’s important to support them as much as possible. A much larger portion of our purchasing power stays in town when we shop locally than when we shop online or away from home.”

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns fondly reminisced about his days as a Tofino merchant and being part of the community’s first Jingle Into Christmas event around 1997.

“I’m glad to see the tradition is continuing because it’s such an important evening and weekend for merchants in Tofino. It’s vital for their ability to get through the shoulder seasons, the winter season especially, and it really makes a big difference keeping money in our communities,” Johns told the Westerly.

“As a former merchant in Tofino I really do remember how important and critical it was and it really made a difference in what we were able to offer over the winter season by having a weekend where you know you were going to get local support.”

READ MORE: Ahousaht, Tofino and Ucluelet leaders cheer NDP MP Gord Johns’ re-election

He added that the event has become a staple of Tofino’s culture, bringing everyone together and giving merchants a chance to give back to the community by offering discounts to locals.

“That money gets spent in our communities and continues to support economic development, especially this time of year when it’s difficult because all those merchants have expensive leases and employees to keep going, they have to keep the heat on and keep up with all the expenses that go into running a business in a place that’s expensive to operate in,” he said. “Buying local and supporting local businesses has got to be a key priority for everyone. You can make a difference with your dollars, so that’s what I love about Jingle Into Christmas and I wish I was there to join everyone.”

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