Rob Grant and his one-year-old, William, took in the Christmas decorations at Uptown Shopping Centre on Nov. 14 but plan to get their gifts online. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich shoppers plan to holiday shop early, online amid pandemic

COVID-19 pushes many to change their Christmas shopping habits

As Saanich shoppers braced against the chilly wind that blew through Uptown Shopping Centre on Nov. 14, some stopped to check out the 52-foot Christmas tree that towers above the stores and Santa’s cottage which will eventually house the jolly gift-giver.

Despite Christmas being more than a month away, many shoppers said they plan to begin the hunt for the perfect gift early this year and others will buy online.

READ ALSO: Christmas will be different even if Santa is ‘probably’ immune to COVID, says B.C. top doctor

Caitlin Redford plans to start her gift shopping early to beat the rush and avoid the crowds.

“I think I’m going to try to do more online shopping too,” she said.

Her daughters, Audrey, 7, and Mila, 4, are just glad to hear that Santa is still coming this year. On Nov. 12, B.C. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a press conference that jolly old St. Nick will be “washing his hands a lot, and he probably won’t be eating cookies and milk in every house this year.”

The Redfords aren’t the only ones planning to find gifts online amid the pandemic. Joanne Lee noted that she plans to order presents virtually and have them mailed directly to the recipients because her family won’t be getting together for the holidays this year due to COVID-19.

READ ALSO: Sidney Christmas dinner cancelled, Saanichton event tweaked

David Phnson noted that with travel being discouraged and in-person shopping posing exposure risks, Christmas will be different this year but he plans to “take it in stride” and recommends others do too. He’s grateful that in 2020, gifts can be ordered and mailed from a computer.

Nicole Young, who also plans to shop early and online, pointed out that for her family “everything’s online” this year. Rob Grant weighed in adding that not only is online shopping quick and easy, but many establishments also offer to pre-wrap gifts so the items arrive ready to stow under the tree.

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