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Pandemic 'treat yourself' craze gains momentum

Colin Kreig has treated himself to a new car, an extensive home renovation and staycations at Big White Ski Resort.

Jamie Kaban has also been spending time at Big White and fitting in some extra hikes.

And Bobby Bissessar likes to take a leisurely walk and then pick up take-out or dine-in at a downtown restaurant.

At the one-year point of COVID, we've all had to find ways to pamper ourselves a bit to keep our sanity.

In fact, some are dubbing it the pandemic 'treat yourself' craze.

It's characterized by a frenzy of purchases, indulgences and self-care.

And, it's all designed to spoil ourselves in any way we can in a time of travel and societal restrictions brought on by the novel coronavirus.

In fact, as the pandemic drags on, the urge to treat ourselves intensifies.

The indulgence can be free and easy, like a mid-day walk around the block, or inexpensive, such as a nice coffee, bottle of wine, book, a new TV streaming service or bubble bath.

The middle road of spending and 'treating yourself' covers the gamut from a new bike, skis for camping equipment to a new, casual wardrobe, staycations and sprucing up the house with new paint, furniture, appliances and accessories.

Or, it can be extravagant, providing you still have a job and the money, and include a new car, RV, vacation property or even a bigger and better house.

</who>ReMax realtor Colin Kreig has treated himself to a new car, a home renovation and staycations at Big White Ski Resort over the past year.

"Certainly, there's been a big push for larger spaces," said Colin Kreig, a realtor with ReMax Kelowna.

"People aren't spending money on travel and other areas, so they're either renovating or moving to larger homes."

That trend could abruptly change, according to Kreig.

"Once the borders open, I think there's going to be a huge travel blitz and that will be the new way people will spend their money," he said.

"I saw something with the chief economist from Royal Bank say that if you've been lucky enough to keep your job and investments through COVID then you have more money saved than ever before. And lots of people are going to want to spend that money."

When COVID first hit, Jamie Kaban, the general manager at Kelowna Toyota, did the opposite of treating himself.

"Personally, I didn't know how long this would last or how bad it would be, so I cut back on spending and starting working six days a week," he said.

"Since then, I've carved out some time for hiking and spending time at Big White skiing."

At the dealership, Kaban has seen customers go on spending sprees deciding to upgrade to new trucks and SUVs in order to go on road trips and camping or simply to have a sweet, new ride.

"Go-anywhere, adventure vehicles, which are also great daily drivers, like the Toyota Tacoma truck and the Rav 4 SUV are the hottest sellers," he said.

"In some cases, we can't keep up with the demand."

</who>Toyota Tacoma trucks are a pandemic bestseller.

Bobby Bissessar, the director of sales and marketing at the luxurious, all-suite Cove Lakeside Resort in West Kelowna, has seen the staycation trend explode during COVID.

"If you can't travel internationally, and maybe not even within Canada, then people are going to travel locally and have a good time," he said.

"The Cove has really catered to that with the Cozy Up at The Cove packages for BC residents for an upgraded two-night stay with experiences at nearby wineries Quails' Gate and Frind."

</who>Bobby Bissessar, the sales and marketing director at The Cove Lakeside Resort in West Kelowna, has treated himself with lots of take-out and dine-in dinners during COVID.

Personally, Bissessar's life is so busy with work that his pampering has been confined to walks downtown and lots of take-out and dine-in at local restaurants.

"I'm a low-key, high-key foodie and my downtown favourites include Central (Kitchen+Bar), Jack's (Pizza & Liquor) and Cantina (Del Centro)," he said.

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