Columns, Opinion

Minority Report: Start your Christmas right now

Getting on the naughty list is no longer the only way to get nothing for Christmas this year. As supply chains around the world are disrupted, now is the time to start your 2021 Christmas.

There are shortages in everything from ugly sweaters to Christmas trees to presents. The United States is among many countries whose Christmas might be affected by global supply chain issues. For example, the United Kingdom is also experiencing many shortages, especially with meat. The problem got so severe in the United Kingdom that the military has been tasked with driving some transport trucks to alleviate a driver shortage.

Alexia Nizhny/DFP STAFF

Supply chain problems in the United States have not yet necessitated military assistance, but there is still plenty of cause for concern. For example, cargo container prices are up 10 times from what they were a year ago. There is also a truck driver shortage and a general labor shortage in the United States right now.

The United States’ labor shortage might be exacerbated because retailers and other businesses usually hire hundreds of thousands of extra workers each year to help out with additional holiday traffic.

It may be the case that many Americans will be getting their Christmas presents late, if at all, due to delays and shortages.

It is not hard to imagine shopping for gifts this year and seeing empty shelves in stores or signs reading sold out on websites. To avoid all the drama that might come with gift delays or desired items selling out, you should make your Christmas list now and begin your shopping if you have not already.

Additionally, consumers can ease the burden for the already short-staffed retail workers by spreading out their holiday shopping evenly between now and Christmas. If labor shortages persist at retailers and other businesses, fewer workers may be forced to bear a higher workload and harsher conditions during the busiest shopping season of the year.

Retailers already know this and want shoppers to start buying their gifts now to avoid a rush later. For example, Amazon came out with “Black Friday-worthy deals” on Oct. 4 this year, much earlier than the actual Black Friday on Nov. 26.

As is the case with competition, the announcement of early discounts and deals at Amazon was followed by other businesses like Target, Best Buy and Walmart, looking to move toward early holiday shopping deals. This year, I would expect to see earlier advertisements for holiday deals.

I use Giftster, a website that allows you to make a Christmas list that you can share with your friends and family. However, if you like the nostalgia of writing out a list on paper, you can do that too and share it with whoever needs to see it.

There will be no deadline extensions for this supply chain-challenged Christmas. So whether it’s making and sharing your Christmas list or buying Christmas decorations or gifts, your preparations should start now if you want to have an on-time Christmas.

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