When we first heard the chatter about the probability that Americans would have issues finding what they want and need for Christmas shopping, it was easy to first think "Well, Christmas has been so commercialized with less and less people celebrating the birth of Christ, and more overly concerned with what gifts they are getting, maybe this is a blessing in disguise."
I still think the holiday has in fact become too commercialized, but understand that for many, the presents are simply part of their celebration of the birth of Christ.
As more and more warnings came about the number of items that won't be on the shelves or just a limited supply would be available, whether from supply chain issues, or shortages of the parts needed to manufacture certain products, or labor shortages, and let's not forget the inflation, we realize that for many, Christmas was going to be hard in 2021.
Personal experience has made some things clear.
If sending gifts by mail, do it earlier than usual because the congestion at post offices across the country, along with the labor shortages, can cause delays.
Secondly, where we are seeing stories and images of physical brick and mortar stores with depleted and/or empty shelves in a number of departments, electronics, children's toys and games, bicycles and clothing, just to name some of the areas where it is more difficult to find what is needed than in previous years.
Alley said the store had about 100 bikes in stock, but would normally have around 1,000.
Honestly with the price of gas as high as it is, and the short term lowering of prices about to rebound back to the higher prices, maybe even higher than before, bicycles could become a preferred mode of transportation for some again.
At least for those not having to battle a foot of snow in the Winter, although as inflation continues unabated, some may even choose to take their chances no matter the weather.
So, whether for a child, grandkid, niece, nephew, or yourself or other adults in the family, a bike may be one of the best investments in 2021-2022, but the brick and mortars are still having issues with stock, while online ordering continues (for now!) to have the stock available, reasonably prices and with a short delivery date.
Another group of items we are seeing reports of shortages in physical stores, is clothing, whether it is depleted, or just lacking a variety of selections, many use Christmas to get not only what is wanted, but what is needed for themselves and their loved ones.
“We have a gentleman who makes shoes for us in Italy,” Dunn said. “He said ‘Listen, I can send you as many shoes as you want. They just won’t have soles on them.’”
Meanwhile Dan Ungar of Mar-Lou Shoes has his vendors telling him the exact ship his stuff is stuck on.
Reuters reports that the shortage of new clothes is actually bumping up sales for second-hand clothing stores. According to the trade group, 85% of toys sold in the U.S. are manufactured in Asia.
Just imagine opening up a gift to find a lovely pair of shoes....no soles!
For the record, the items below are divided into men's, women's, boys and girls because there are only two genders.
Toys & Games are also seeing supply issues with the cause cited as being "the backup in ports as a leading cause in the shortage.."
Toy companies have been warning of shortages since early October. Issac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment (maker of L.O.L. dolls and Little Tikes), told CNBC power outages in China, a resin shortage and higher labor costs are straining the toy supply.
The Toy Association, an American trade group that represents retailers and manufactures, has cited the backup in ports as a leading cause in the shortage.
We have seen, experienced and heard the warnings about the rising costs of food, basic necessities, gas, electric, energy, pretty much all retail items, so another idea is to go back to the basics, make homemade gifts, or get items online that will allow the gift recipient to make their own items.
Going through the amount of Do-It-Yourself Christmas gifts can be lengthy, so this related articles and slide show of "44 DIY Christmas Gifts You'd Actually Want to Receive," might be helpful for those needing to save money at Christmas for surviving the coming year and the expected inflation.
According to Gallup on at the beginning of December, 45% percent of households are reporting "financial hardships," caused by the inflation we have already seen, which will rise if the rate of inflation increases.
As Americans sail into peak holiday shopping season and winter temperatures bring bigger heating bills to much of the country, nearly half of U.S. adults already report that price increases are causing them financial hardship. For most, the problem is not a crisis -- but lower-income households are feeling the impact more than others, with nearly three in 10 saying the hardship is severe enough that it is affecting their current standard of living.
Rising prices are expected to persist, meaning more Americans are likely to report hardship and those most vulnerable are likely to see things get worse before they improve.
BOTTOM LINE - GETTING BACK TO BASICS
Christmas is one of the most popular holidays, but too many have lost the meaning of the celebration to years of commercialization, so some of the issues discussed above could be considered a blessing in disguise.
Homemade gifts and items needed more than just wanted, can bring many back to the basics of celebrating the Christmas holiday for what it truly is instead of what it has been made into.
For those that do need to offer up gifts, shopping early may just be the difference between finding what you want and not finding anything at all that is appropriate to what you wanted in the first place.
As heard in the last minute of the video above, experts are predicting that some Christmas gifts stuck on shops at port, won't end up hitting the shelves until January 2022, at least.
Store manager in the video below: "Get it while you can, cause it's not going to be there next week, I guarantee you."
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