As the holiday season draws nearer amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many Lethbridge residents have been out and about getting their gift shopping done early.
For Urban Prairie, an antique mall that has been open in Lethbridge for about six years, this time of year piques an interest in certain items.
“For right now, for Christmas, people really like the Christmas ornaments that we have,” said sales associate Taylor Fulton.
“My boss posted them on Instagram the other day and I saw that there was a ton of engagement with them.”
Fulton added that social media has been a huge tool in helping them with exposure, especially as a small local businesses.
Also located downtown, Meadow Lane Gifts & Collectibles sells a wide variety of items. Owner Kent Just said Harry Potter-themed items are currently their bestsellers.
“Anytime of the year when you’re giving gifts, there’s always a Potterhead out there,” he said. “Somebody’s (always) coming in to get a new wand or a new robe.”
Although much of the store’s product can also be found online, Just said early-season shopping has been quite busy.
“People that we lost last year to Amazon, they’re back this year,” he said. “They just want to see the product rather than ordering it.”
For shoppers who prefer to buy edible gifts, candy stores say their products can serve as successful stocking-stuffers.
Popular candy this year includes Dr. Pepper-flavoured cotton candy and Star Wars Pez dispensers, according to Colin Howe, owner of How Sweet Inc.
He said harder-to-find items tend to fly off the shelves more quickly than others.
“Anything unique and different,” Howe said. “Usually U.S. and English items go the fastest.”
Howe added that the store broke sales records over the weekend, when their busiest time is usually the week before Christmas.
Shopper Sophia Larney said she plans to shop locally as much as possible this year.
“Different jewelry around Lethbridge, gift cards for different local businesses like The Penny and Plum,” she said of her shopping choices thus far. “Support local artists and buying cool things that I’ve found like pottery or knitting.”
Toy shopping can be made easier through top toy lists from retailers such as Mastermind Toys and Toys R Us, and Canadian Tire.
Some top toy items this year include Barbie Color Reveal Slumber Party Fun, the LEGO Super Mario Adventures Starter Course, the Paw Patrol Chase Deluxe Police Cruiser and the Nerf Elite 2.0 Shockwave RD-15 Blaster.