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  • Writer's pictureTrevor Greenway

Shop local for holidays

Are you feeling the pinch?

Yeah, us too.

Times are undoubtedly tough for many Hills families, with inflation rising through the roof and gas and groceries emptying our bank accounts at a rapid rate.

And it’s especially challenging with Christmas around the corner.

But you don’t have to break the bank this year to give the kids a good Christmas — and I don’t mean solely basking in the joy of family time. Kids need presents. Santa is still coming this year, but he may need some help from parents to fill in the gaps.

But how do you fill a house with presents when you barely scrape by each week?

Consider the region’s many second-hand stores and local shops, which can help you cross everything off your list at a fraction of the cost.

If you take a $20 bill to the Rupert Second Hand Store, you’ll come out with bags full of goods — everything from kids’ toys, jewellery and clothing, to a stack of books. This writer recently spent an hour there and knocked off gifts for my niece and nephew and a couple of trinkets for my kids. Looking for a retro-gaming console? A new surround-sound system? Jewelry? The place is packed with electronics, accessories and clothing. Forget Best Buy this holiday season, Rupert is your place. The second-hand store is open Wednesdays from 12 to 4 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. Funds raised from the thrift store go towards helping families in need in the region.

The Chelsea Nearly New Shop inside the St. Stephen’s Rectory is another hot spot for used goods. You’ll find high-end clothing, kids’ toys, furniture, kitchen gadgets and loads of art supplies for kids and adults. The Nearly New has been around for almost three decades, and the volunteer-run, non-profit has raised oodles of cash for local charities, including the Wakefield Community Emergency Fund and the women’s shelter La Maison Libère-Elles. The Nearly New Shop is open from Thursday to Saturday every week.

In Masham, the municipality hosts a bric-à-brac monthly, where diggers can score furniture, clothing, toys and Christmas decorations. The sale event runs out of the basement of the Ste-Cécile-de- Masham Parish. Just in time for the holidays, their next sale is on Dec. 4 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Dec. 5 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with proceeds going back to the church.

France Turcotte also operates her La Garagerie en route to Masham at 77 Rte Principale Est. The smaller thrift shop boasts racks of clothing, sports equipment and a small room dedicated to dog supplies. All the money raised from La Garagerie goes towards Turcotte’s Valley Mastiff Rescue shelter.

Need more ideas? Check out the Low Down’s local shopping pages through December for homemade gifts crafted by the region’s many talented locals.

Forget the big chains this holiday season and pack your Christmas tree with presents, while raising money for these charities dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Hills families.

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