Happy Holiday Shopping Has Hit a Supply Chain Snag

man and woman holding a child
Tyler, Beckham and Jessica Morgan prefer fun experiences to material gifts. Mom Jessican plans to give Memberships to local museums and entertainment venues rather than a toy or present that could get broken or be quickly forgotten. Photo by Maxwell Bettridge.

Creative Ways To Complete Your Christmas Shopping

Supply chain issues may make buying the perfect gift impossible this year, and many parents are scrambling to come up with an alternative.

As shipments from other countries sit on loading docks and trucking companies search for new drivers for their 18-wheelers, Americans are now looking at new – and old – ways to bring holiday gifts home.

Substitutes for the most-in-demand toys may be needed, due to the price increase of the “Hot Toys” that are hard to find.

Pricey “Hot Toys” May Cool Down You Holiday Spirit

If you’re on a budget, the 2021 “Hot Toy” list might break your budget: nearly every “Hot Toy” this season is over $50 – and increasing in price due to consumer demand – and includes:

Bumper Cars for kids, available at Walmart for $99 each, “with bumpers all around so kids and furniture and walls don’t get hurt.” Parents of young children might already realize the dangers in this toy: a side table “bumped into” might have a lamp on it that come crashing down. That $99 investment might cost a lot more if a trip to the ER is included.

Other toys include the Pelican Explore and Fit Cycle for $134, a Peloton-like stationary bike for kids; the Kidzoom Print Camera that prints Black and white photos instantly for $75 (can anyone say, Polaroid Camera?) and the Lego Vidiyo The Boombox $100 – noise-canceling ear plugs extra.

And for those kids who like to cook, the traditional “Easy Bake Oven” has been replaced by the new “Magic Mixies Magix Cauldron” for $60, which, when stirred, produces scary white smoke like a witch might create in a cauldron. Meant for 5-to-7-year-olds, one must wonder what chemicals are in that smoke and if there is a chance the cauldron could tip over and spill, hurting someone.

For families with more than one child, a holiday can become expensive really fast. And that’s if you can even get these items online or in the store. Many of these toys are already sold out or may be sold out by the time you get to the store.

1970 Easy Bake Oven
The original “Easy Bake Oven” for children was sold in the early 1970s for less than $25 and was the “Hot Toy” of Christmas in 1971. It’s been updated and now sells for twice as much – if you can find it. (Photo by Judy Porter.)

A Walton Family Christmas

The 1971 “A Walton Christmas” was a coming-of-age story about John Boy Walton, who was anxious that his father would not make it home for the holiday. When he finally did, each child in the family received one simple gift. His presence on the day was all the family wanted.

Getting back to a simpler, less materialistic holiday seems to be popular this year, possibly enhanced by the supply chain issues, but more likely due to missing family during Covid restrictions last year.

Instead of loading up on gifts, some local residents are going in a different direction.

Jessica Morgan of Oak Cliff says she is purchasing memberships and experiences as gifts this year. “Not so much stuff.”

She elaborates, “When I was a single mom my gramma would ask what everyone wanted for Christmas – I always chose a membership to the zoo or Science Place so I had somewhere free to take the kids to have fun any time we wanted. It was the best! And something I want to pass on.”

Suzan Hall Miles Spring, a special Education Consultant and former adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University said, “For the last several years, we’ve included a homemade take-home meal for our adult kids and ‘grand guy.’ This year it will be a smoked brisket, my family BBQ sauce and cornbread muffins.”

A meal exchange could be a great way for family and friends to celebrate, with everyone making their favorite meal, packaging it To Go, and coming together for a party to exchange the meals as they catch up. Like a Cookie exchange – but heartier and healthier – and timesaving as one (or more) less meals will need to be cooked at home.

Buy Nothing

One more way to enjoy the holidays while not overspending is to check out your local “Buy Nothing” Facebook page. It’s a great way to get what you need – or give away what you no longer use – and it costs nothing. Members post what they have that they wish to donate to whomever can use it, and arrangements are made to pick up the items within a short time period. If there’s something you need to complete your holiday, you simply ask if anyone has the item you can borrow – or keep.

The increase in “Buy Nothing” Facebook pages is exploding recently since many people are living on a tighter budget due to a recent job loss or are hesitant to shop in public due to Covid. It also provides a way to stay connected to neighbors, since the “Buy Nothing” pages are consider “hyper local” – and you can only join one.

However you plan to spend your holidays, experts remind us to plan ahead, wrap presents as you go and relax. It’s important to enjoy yourself and keep the emphasis on being with loved ones. Your presence is more important than any present you give.

2021 Holiday Gift Guides

Also, be sure and check our 2021 Holiday Gift Guides for those on your list, we have guides for kids, teens & tweens, guys, whiskey lovers and more.