Winnipeg holiday shoppers embrace creativity amid budget challenges

Holiday shoppers in Winnipeg are embracing creativity amid budget challenges due to the high cost of living.

“It just meant that I’m not spending as much as I was last year. And also, doing, instead of just buying presents, doing handmade stuff this year,” said Nathan Geerligs of Winnipeg.

Economists say the vast majority of Canadians will be looking for sales — or comparing prices to get more out of their holiday budget.

“We know that in economic hard times, we’re not going to give up on stuff that makes us happy. We’re just gonna find different ways to interact with those things,” said Kivalina Grove, a professor of marketing at the University of Manitoba.

Click to play video: 'Starting holiday shopping earlier'

Starting holiday shopping earlier

Estimates vary on whether Canadians will spend more or less than last year, which Grove says will depend more on individual financial situations.

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For example, families with children are likely to spend less and shoppers in Winnipeg are determined to celebrate, but it’s not always about gifts.

“Buying whatever I can, not being extravagant. Spending more time with family, cooking, baking,” said Yvonne Houle of Winnipeg.

“A gift is not everything. It’s usually the time we get to spend together, that’s the best part,” said Winnipegger Grium Assefa.

And ultimately, the spirit of the season is a powerful motivator.

“We’re not seeing that consumers are buying fewer gifts, we’re seeing that they’re spending less on each gift,” said Grove.

“So it’s a way of trying to make the money you have go further. So they’re trying to get something a little bit cheaper for the people they want to get something for, but you still want to get something.”

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