Supply chain issues impacting holiday shopping

Published: December 3, 2021 7:32 AM EST

If you have not started your Christmas shopping, you might be out of luck: The supply chain could hamper your holidays, as certain items are going to be hard to find.

Sticking with the trends we’ve seen over the last few months, almost everything related to Christmas and the holidays is going to be difficult to find. The shortage of raw materials is keeping production behind schedule, and the shipping backlog isn’t helping either. The good news: After going to four different stores, WINK News was able to find a fair amount of items. The bad news: There was less variety than you might expect and you might have to pay a little more than in the past few years.

It’s going to be harder to find things like wrapping paper and ribbons, but your biggest struggle will be to find any kind of electrical product. We’re already seeing large shortages of things like Christmas lights and fake, pre-lit trees that come pre-lit. This is because many of the parts required to make electronics come from overseas. If you’re shopping for handmade decorations, though, like nutcrackers or Santas, you should have better luck; these are much easier to make, so you can find them just about anywhere. If you are on the hunt for holiday supplies, experts say it’s important to know what to expect and to get creative with how and where you shop.

“One of the things we can all expect to do is pay higher prices, because the retailers have had to pay higher prices to buy the goods,” said Raj Srivastava, director of the Center for Supply Chain Excellence at Florida Gulf Coast University. “We’re not going to see as many deals this year. And we need to plan and have a backup plan as to, ‘If I can’t get what I want to buy, what else would I buy?'”

“If you have the flexibility to really just focus on shopping local this year, thinking about buying handmade goods from local artisans, that can be a way to get around the supply chain issues, too, and also get some really great deals,” said Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet.

Experts say not all stores are equally low on everything, as some are more consistent in ordering stock way in advance, so the best advice is to shop around a bit. Ordering online and picking up in-store can help as well. In addition to shopping locally, Etsy will often have just what you’re looking for, especially handmade goods, because its sellers are not always subject to the same supply chain issues we’re seeing internationally.

One shopper says, based on what she’s seeing, she’s glad she started her holiday supply shopping in early October.

<(mandi bruce-magura / shopper “It’s not as plentiful here as it was, definitely back in November,” said Mandi Bruce-Magura. “Things seem to be coming in super late and just are scarce. That’s my advice. Just don’t wait and say, ‘OK, I’ll come back and get it,’ because it’s going to be gone.”

Normally, the longer you wait to buy Christmas supplies and decorations, the cheaper they will be—you can actually get the very best deals after Christmas. This year, however, experts say there might be nothing left if you wait.