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The ultimate 2020 holiday gift guide for the savvy shopper

Remember crowded malls and hours spent picking out holiday decor and gifts for friends and family? Yep, we’re a little exhausted thinking about it too! Enter our savvy shopping guide, helping you navigate the season with tips to save time and money. And while we all know the holidays are going to look different this year, that doesn’t mean it has to be any less festive.

This year, we’ll simply need to plan ahead and be a little more mindful of time (and budgets) when we shop. And that means preparing ourselves to forge new traditions and routines that involve:

  • Fewer faces and bigger spaces
  • Mindfully sourcing gifts and decor
  • Adhering to tighter timeframes and budgets

It might also mean decorating a little earlier to brighten the darker days and lift our spirits leading up to the holidays. And we’re all for that!

Here are some tips for keeping this year’s holiday planning safe and joyous for you and your loved ones.


woman sitting on couch looking at tablet

Make the most of holiday shopping options

While Canadian shoppers are planning to spend about the same dollar amount as last year according to a PwC 2020 Canadian holiday outlook report, more people than ever will opt for the convenience and safety of online shopping. And curbside pickup will also see an increase this year, with 33 percent of shoppers choosing this method compared to just 13 percent last year.

Many Canadian retailers have been working to strengthen their e-commerce capabilities to better serve the growing number of customers who prefer to shop from the comfort and safety of home. And many are supplementing their offerings with contactless curbside pickup, too. BCAA Member Rewards Partner Indigo, for example, will have your purchases ready for curbside pickup just three hours after you place your order online.

By choosing to shop at BCAA Rewards Partners, Members can save big on holiday shopping. To make your online shopping experience a little bit sweeter, Members get instant discounts or earn CAA Dollars® at online partners – so go ahead, shop right from the comfort of your own home! Get started on your shopping list and click here for the full list of savings.

Tip: If you’re relying on mail delivery for your purchases, be sure to shop earlier than normal. Canada Post has advised holiday shoppers to expect possible shipping delays due to increased volume. Check out Canada Post’s holiday mailing guidelines for the deadlines you’ll need to ensure your packages arrive on time.


masked woman shopping in store

6 Tips for mindful shopping that can save you time and money

Taking a mindful approach to your shopping list can help to reduce waste, support local businesses in need and save precious time. Here’s how:

  1. Make a list. And stick to it.
    Browsing takes time, especially when you don’t really know what you’re looking for. Start with a list of ideas before you hit the stores. Need a research starter? We love this list of practical gifts for under $50 from Reader’s Digest. And consider supporting Canadian businesses like Escents, DAVIDsTEA, Matt & Nat, and Simons all of which offer discounts for BCAA Members.
  2. Research online before you shop offline.
    Minimize your in-store shopping time by researching online first. Be sure to compare prices and confirm availability before placing your orders. An app like Santa’s Bag will help you keep your ideas and progress well organized.
  3. Buy experiences over things.
    If your recipients already have all the stuff they need, consider buying local experiences instead. Gift cards to restaurants, hotels and COVID-safe attractions not only help to create precious memories but also support local businesses that may be struggling during the pandemic.
  4. Give gifts that give back.
    It’s been a tough year for a lot of people and organizations. Choosing gifts and decor that help others can be a great way to extend our purchases to those in need and to causes we care about. Whether you make a direct donation in a loved one’s name, or purchase products or service that have an impact, your choices can truly make a difference in the world. And the world needs that now more than ever. Not sure where to start? Empower local artists and support eco-friendly products by purchasing with purpose from BC-based retailers like Giving Gifts. Here are a few more ideas:
     Cozy socks are always a crowd pleaser. Spread holiday cheer while supporting those in need by shopping at Bombas. For every item you purchase, they donate an item to someone affected by homelessness.
     Support Canadian indigenous creators with these gift ideas. We’ve put the beautiful eco-friendly decorative paddles from Onquata on our wish-list. Each is handmade and makes a unique and meaningful gift.
     Shopping for the stylish one on your list? Shop smart and support brands that give back. Canadian-based Local Laundry donates 10% of all profits to local charities that customers help choose.
  5. Make homemade gifts and decorations.
    If ever there was a year for getting crafty, it’s 2020. Perhaps you perfected your pandemic sourdough, or practised sewing or photography this year. Now’s the time to put your talents on display. Make a Photobook to capture memorable moments (Members save 70%), package up your loaves for gifting or try your hand at some of these easy homemade decor ideas.
  6. Choose quality over quantity.
    A full tree might look appealing on Christmas morning, but not if those gifts only last a few days or weeks. This year consider selecting purchases that stand the test of time. Look for items made close to home and opt for quality over quantity. And think practical! Does somebody on your wish list love to cook? Gift them that knife set they’ve been coveting. Members save 5% when they shop online at Stokes.

For additional shopping ideas and inspiration, find more exclusive savings on holiday essentials.

Not a Member yet? Join today for less than $7 a month to take advantage of these partner offers and more.