We know, we know: it’s annoying to hear about holiday shopping when we haven’t even gotten to Halloween yet. Usually, we’re fans of letting each individual season have its moment instead of getting overlooked in the rush to deck the halls.
But supply-chain issues and shipping delays around the world have created a “perfect storm” of factors that may seriously jeopardize your ability to get your hands on a hot new toy or gadget this holiday – and it may mean that store shelves will start to look pretty empty early in the season.
“While businesses across the nation have been experiencing supply chain issues for months, experts expect matters to worsen heading into the holiday season,” says Arthur Havlicek, President & CEO of the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber. “Labor shortages are still affecting every link of the global supply chain leading to increased lead-time for materials, shipping delays, and ultimately price increases for both businesses and consumers. With costs rising and in-store inventories likely to deteriorate even further, we recommend everyone do their holiday shopping as early as possible this year. Shop early and shop local!”
Even if you aren’t ready to start checking off your holiday gift list just yet, it’s worth giving some thought to a shopping strategy earlier than you usually would.
Here are some ways to make the most of your holiday shopping no matter when you get started – and tips for making early shopping festive and fun, even if you aren’t ready to break out the winter decor just yet:
- Shop small. While smaller shops can be affected by supply-chain and shipping issues, they are often able to be more nimble in the way they source goods and supplies, or in what inventory they offer. Plus, as members of the community, they’re often willing to go the extra mile to make their customers returning year after year. “Raw materials are extremely difficult to find these days. But we have searched far and wide to continue to bring your favorite products to you for your holiday shopping this year,” says Lisa Miller, owner of Forever Clean Soap Works, a shop selling handcrafted bath and body products in St. Joseph.
- Combine fall fun with holiday prep . Just because the festival, market, or pop-up event you’re attending might be fall-themed, doesn’t mean you can’t find some great gifts for the winter holidays! Check out the New Buffalo Harvest & Wine Festival on October 9, Forever Clean’s Fall-iday Open House on October 13, and the Halloween Maker’s Market at Peat’s Cider Social in Stevensville on October 23.
- Be open to surprises. Part of the fun of holiday shopping is browsing shelves in a festive environment, and the thrill of finding the perfect gift you didn’t even know existed. Keep an open mind when making your ideal gift list and be sure to leave room for finding unexpected treasures.
- Make a day of it. Turning your shopping excursion into a fun outing – perhaps with a break for a bite or beverage! – may help put you in the mood for a more leisurely, less goal-oriented browsing experience that could lead you to some one-of-a-kind finds. Why not hit up some local shops a town or two over – maybe somewhere you don’t hang out as often – to add even more of a unique flavor to your shopping experience?
Buy Local Berrien’s Holiday Shopping Series is brought to you by Forever Clean Soap Works on Cleveland Ave in St. Joseph. Shop handcrafted soaps, bath bombs, candles, lip balm and more in a festive, fun, and delicious-smelling setting!