‘Merry and bright’: Islanders look to brighten pandemic days with Christmas light displays

'Merry and bright': Islanders look to brighten pandemic days with Christmas light displays
WatchStores are reporting record business for Christmas lights and trees as eager holiday shoppers look to brighten days. April Lawrence reports.

Christmas lights are shining brighter and bolder across Vancouver Island this year as people desperate for a little sparkle in their lives jump into the holidays early.

The holiday aisles at the Canadian Tire in Hillside Mall have been like a beacon, attracting eager shoppers since right after Remembrance Day.

“We’re seeing dramatic increases in traffic,” said owner Justin Young.  “It’s been a tough year for everybody. I mean we’re all in this together and I think this is giving customers and the general public a means of feeling good about their space.”

READ MORE: B.C. reports 1,933 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, 48 new cases in Island Health

Saanichton Christmas tree farm opened a week early after hearing from customers desperate to get into the festive spirit.

“They were phoning wanting to know when they could get their tree and if they could come before our first day,” said owner Joan Fleming.

When they did open their doors it ended up being the busiest opening weekend in the farm’s 42-year history.

“I think it’s going to be one of my best years ever,” Fleming said.

It’s not just an early start to the holidays but a need for bigger, brighter displays than usual this year.

There are also even more homes getting decked out than usual and that has one commercial lighting crew run off its feet.

“Everyone is staying here this Christmas, people aren’t allowed to travel, so people want to spend time at home and in turn want to make their home pretty, and that’s where we come in,” said Festilight Victoria regional manager, Brett Carter.

Carter says his residential business is up 50 per cent, and he may have to hire more crew members to get the work done in the weeks ahead. He also says it’s quite likely people will want to leave their lights up longer this year as well.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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