Holiday shoppers save big celebrating 'Thriftmas Christmas'
Winnipeggers find creative ways to give while cutting back on spending and waste
The holidays are a time to give, and for many families giving means spending. But not all gifts have to come with a hefty price tag, Hilda Penner says.
Penner has been volunteering at the Kildonan MCC Thrift Store for eight years. Her family celebrates "Thriftmas Christmas."
Penner shops for the entire family throughout the entire year.
"We decide on an amount of money, then I get to do all the shopping.... Christmas day, they don't know what they are getting or what they are giving," Penner said. "I like the fact that it's a gift that gives twice."
The MCC Thrift stores are run by the Mennonite Central Committee, which uses the money raised be selling the donated goods to fund various charitable projects throughout the world.
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Long-time thrift shopper Nancy Stefanato shops at the Kildonan MCC daily.
"The shopping and the massive crowds and the traffic. I can't stand going to the malls. I avoid it at Christmas time," Stefanato said.
She said she finds everything she needs for the holidays at thrift stores. Decorations, stocking stuffers and gifts — and all for a great price.
"Not everything is gently used or used, there's a lot of stuff here that is brand new," Stefanato said. "There's nothing wrong with it, it's great for gifts."
Good for your wallet, good for the environment
Saving money also translates to saving on waste. Giving second hand goods a new life means keeping them out of landfills.
"A lot of it has to do with the wrapping. There's ways that you can reduce the wrapping and thinking about re-usable items for wrapping your gifts," Feschuk said.
Shopping at thrift stores can be a way to buy low-cost re-usable items like baskets or fabric to use in place of wrapping paper. Buying used toys and board games also cuts down on packaging.
"A lot of times the packaging on toys, for example, that stuff all ends up in the landfill," Feschuk said.
"If you're mindful in your gifts and you're thinking about reducing your packaging, then you're thinking about reducing your impact as well."
"Nowadays we really have to focus on trying to make experiences and not clutter ourselves with stuff," she said.
"You can purchase something that is an experience for them: tickets to a show, or a gift certificate for a restaurant … something that is more about the experience that you can build a memory from, instead of just an object that will eventually just end up in the garbage."