Holiday Shopping during a Pandemic

With Christmas nearly two months away, holiday shopping may be on the minds of people that do not dress up for Halloween or don’t acknowledge Thanksgiving, but the actual shopping may not be done anytime soon. According to the Washington Post, supply chain issues and shortages may cause a problem with this year’s shopping. There are empty store shelves, rising prices and shipping delays that people have experienced during this pandemic. According to CNBC, year-over-year, prices increased 5.4%, the largest jump since January 1991. 

Observing how COVID-19 has taken the world by storm, it would be wise of everyone to begin their holiday shopping as soon as possible to avoid the nuisances that come with the busy holiday season. There are many things to shop for and many activities to complete in a short amount of time.  

A lot of people may like to wait until Black Friday and even Cyber Monday, but with everything going on in the world it may be wise to get things underway in the coming days. This leaves room for error as well, given the fact that delivery could be delayed or even the first store you attempt to shop at may not have exactly what you need. Getting a leg up on holiday shopping allows you to have a plan in place. 

Graphic by Kiara Conley

By starting early, one of the biggest advantages is that you may be able to save money. This gives you more time to shop, and you won’t have to stress and do last minute shopping which could lead to you overpaying for certain items. Among everything else, starting early this year for the holidays will nearly guarantee that you are able to get the gifts that you want. 

In terms of how to do your shopping this holiday season, there’s no wrong answer. If you’re still worried about the spread of COVID-19, you can get your holiday shopping done online. A couple of the best online shopping websites in the USA include Amazon and EBay. If you’d rather browse the aisles of your favorite store for your favorite people then go right ahead. If you choose this option, just be aware of the shortage of certain items in your local stores.

Another option is to shop from local small businesses. It is always nice to give your business to these places instead of bigger companies. The underlying reason for this is that these smaller businesses are composed of people just like us. They may have taken a big hit financially during the pandemic. In fact, according to Business Wire, 84% of businesses surveyed received some impact from the pandemic and corresponding economic slowdown. Notably, smaller businesses were most severely affected by the pandemic. Nearly 48% of businesses with 1-4 employees have experienced a significant or severe impact. For businesses with 20-49 employees, 37% noted a significant or severe impact. By buying from them, you are not only getting gifts for your friends and family, but you’re helping support other people’s families as well. 

I believe the best option for the upcoming holidays is to do your shopping online. Online shopping is a thriving market in the U.S.—as it is in the rest of the world. In a survey conducted in April of last year, 40 percent of U.S. based internet users acknowledged that they purchased items online several times in a month. You can look up any item at any time and find a way to purchase it in minutes. However, the downfall with this option is that you have to wait for the delivery of the gift instead of getting it from the store and having it in your grasp that same day. Even though you have to wait for the delivery process, online shopping can be something you could do at their leisure to ensure that they get all their gifts. 

My advice with online shopping for this holiday season and in general is to do research and read the reviews of the items that you want to purchase. You want to make sure that what you’re buying is what you really want and what you’re looking for. There’s no worse feeling than your order coming in the mail and it is not what you pictured it to be. I experienced this one time when I wanted this vintage sweater from a website that I had never heard of before. The website seemed legit, and the pictures of the item and other various items looked to be in good condition. However, when my order came in the mail a couple weeks later, I was devastated to find out that the sweater was nothing like the pictures. That was the last time I ordered from that particular website, and I have done my due diligence ever since this took place. 

The pandemic has changed a lot for all of us these past two years. While you should still take precautions and be as safe as possible in your shopping and your holiday festivities, the holidays are a time for families to come together and to spread love. Have fun this holiday season and everyday in between. If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything it’s to never take anything in this life for granted. Think about it, there was a time not too long ago during the pandemic that there was a limit on the amount of people allowed in stores. Social distance, wear masks, do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable to get those gifts for your loved ones this holiday season. 

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