Here we are on Canada day, being thankful for all the great things being a Canadian brings, but being a Christmas light junkie I have to pay a significant “tax” for being Canadian.
First comes the exchange rate, currently 1.36 CAD So instantly I pay 36% more right off the top. I usually spend 1-2k/ season on new lights which result in $360-$720 extra dollars, that’s a lot of lights I could buy.
Next comes shipping, this is generally expensive because the lights and controllers are heavy and many of the accessories are large format, like signing Santa’s and trees, controllers and stands. Looking at international vs. domestic addresses for the same order international shipping is about 2x that of domestic.. An order usually costs me in the region of $200 USD to ship and I usually have a couple of orders from a couple of vendors. So that is around an extra $200 in shipping, convert that to CAD and it is $270.
Finally there is customs. I don’t mind paying the tax (5%) on the items I have to import as I would have to pay it if I bought everything here, but then there is the handling fee, usually around $30. On big orders I don’t mind, but when I order a couple of small pieces and the handling cost more than the parts, that drives me nuts.
so over the course of a season I usually make large orders from my main suppliers, Light-O-Rama , Holiday Coro & WowLights, so each of these costs double up. In any given season I spend an extra $700-$1,000 CAD than I would if I lived 300Km south, but it is worth every penny to have a great light show, live in a safe country with access to public healthcare.
This year is going to be very “taxing” because I have started thinking and experimenting with stuff early, so instead of a couple of orders I’ve already made 3 experimenting with different bits and pieces. I will make at least 1 more for the LOR summer sale. In addition I’ve become increasingly impulsive (which is why I have made 3 smaller orders) during the COID19 pandemic, developing a $100/ day amazon habit. About 1 /2 of this going on supplies and tools to build some of this years additions, the rest on smart home automation.