The Give New West Gift Exchange is aiming to spread joy and happiness in New Westminster.
Naomi Perks of NWP Consulting and Erin Jeffery of White Shirt Design and Development understand how challenging 2020 has been for small businesses and charities. They put their heads together (while staying two metres apart) and came up with the idea of a gift exchange.
Last year, Perks took part in a gift exchange hosted by John Fluevog Shoes.
“Honestly, it brought me so much joy,” she said. “All I got was a little hand cream and lip balm, but it was lovely. I got a package in the mail. I kept it underneath the tree and I opened it up on Christmas morning, and it was actually a surprise. But it also brought me so much joy to shop for this random person who I knew nothing about, except that they too liked Fluevog shoes.”
The two New West residents wanted to find a way to spread joy in a year that “is really sucking.”
“Shop local was one way we thought we could make individual people happy by getting random gifts from random strangers, and at the same time help promote the local businesses and not-for-profits in New West that could probably use a lot of love this year,” Perks said. “Every year – but I think this year more than ever.”
To take part, New West residents go to www.givenewwest.ca, register and fill out a short questionnaire (Favourite Christmas cookie? Favourite local non-profit) to help ensure they get something they’ll like. This year’s gift exchange includes 200 spots and caps gifts at $25.
Registration closes at midnight on Wednesday, Dec. 2. Once the “magic elves” (Perks and Jeffrey) have matched people up, they’ll send out emails with the profile of the person they’re been matched with.
“It’s just to have fun,” Perks said. “It is just really about helping to spread joy, and at the same time help our local businesses, stores and restaurants and whatnot, as well as the not-for-profits.”
The Give New West Gift Exchange will be sharing information about some local businesses and not-for-profits through its social media channels.
Organizers ask that participants purchase their gift from a New Westminster business, artisan or eatery. Alternatively, they could make an item using supplies from a new West supplier or make a donation to a New West charity on their giftee’s behalf.
“There are so many not-for-profits that are in New West, and we are trying to promote them as well,” Perks said. “We are doing what we can to let people know about the business that are in town and encouraging people to shop at the small independent businesses for the gift, and not just for the holidays.”