It's weird but even though there are news stories everywhere about businesses failing, massive layoffs, real estate prices plummeting and other assorted doom and gloom, Victoria seems to be okay at the moment. Sure there are plenty of storefronts for lease and a few big names have closed their doors (like mega-housewares store Linens n' Things and local landmark Standard Furniture) but people are still buying stuff; the malls are still packed. [While I'm on the subject, how did I miss the golden child of 80s retail going under earlier this year?]
I know at some point the bubble will pop here too, we are already seeing it with housing prices and sales. Our Realtor told us that about 80 Realtors decided not to renew their licenses for November and housing sales are down about 60% -- not to mention some big projects stopping at the hole-in-the-ground stage. One project at Bear Mountain just laid off 65 construction workers ("Merry Christmas").
Of course, it is also possible that my fellow Victorians have their collective heads in their asses. [shrug]
In the meantime, I won't be buying anyone a gift card this season and although I can't commit to 100% handmade this year, several people will be getting handcrafted gifts from me (assuming I can find the bobbin case for my sewing machine).