Shop around your local stores and you’ll notice signs that the holidays have officially arrived…even though December is still months away. While there are definitely a fair amount of marketing tactics at play, the truth is, now It really is time to start shopping for Christmas, and it’s not just a nasty trick to take your money (mostly anyway).
Of course, many of us wait (*raises hand*) until the last minute and do the 11-hour gift-buying craze. In fact, a 2020 Klarna survey of 40,000 US shoppers found that 79% bought gifts within two weeks of Christmas. But this year, more than ever, is the year to forestall the holiday rush.
Reasons not to shop Procrasti this year
Being a parent means being super busy basically all the time – and that makes it very easy to put off Christmas shopping until the last minute. But there are plenty of reasons why it makes more sense to jump on it, especially during the 2022 holiday season. Here’s the highlight reel.
You probably saw this coming, right? “Holiday shopping will look different this year with inflation hovering around 40-year highs,” a senior industry analyst for Bankrate.com said in a September report for the financial site.
2. Supply chain side effects
That’s not all bad for shoppers this year! The supply chain isn’t nearly as volatile, meaning delays are unlikely to be as long. However, it is always best to “expect the worst and hope for the best”. A bonus for consumers is large discounts on surplus products. Due to delays in the supply chain, many retailers have received bulk shipments after the season they were intended for and will be attempting to unload them.
3. The holiday debt hangover
If you start now and spread your holiday shopping out over the next 6-7 weeks, you’re far less likely to overspend on your credit cards – and have to deal with the ramifications in 2023.
4. The crowds
Given the past few years, November and December buyers will no doubt be out in full force. And while it can feel fun and festive to be among so many other people feeling the holiday cheer, it can also be overwhelming. In addition, there is always the possibility a Christmas with the sick Fiasco on hickory honey ham level.
5. “Hot” Gifts
Your child has probably asked you 100 times for a toy they currently have to have to have this year. However, hot gifts tend to sell out super fast…sometimes months before December. If you pick it up now, you’ll make sure you don’t have to see your child’s expression if the only thing they really wanted isn’t under the tree.
Christmas shopping trends 2022
Sure, shopping at big stores like Target can have its perks: viral return policies and convenient store hours, to name a few. But when it comes to personalized customer service and unique and hard-to-find gifts, holiday grocery shopping may be this year’s biggest holiday shopping trend.
“I find that after being stuck in their homes during Covid and seeing so many popular local shops closing, people are so excited to shop in person. I think there is a certain fatigue when shopping online. The boxes and packaging are overwhelming It’s easier to just push a button but then you get these boxes and boxes and you have to pack yourself and you may not get exactly what you thought you were ordering or it may come and states it’s fake,” shared Cassandra Watt, owner of Mud Puddle Toys, a 25+ toy store in Marblehead, MA, adding, “The families that come in enjoy spending time in the to spend time in store, to hang out and play, and to meet up with friends. And you enjoy asking the staff for recommendations and handling everything for them. I think in the post-Covid world, your local toy stores and your big online department stores just don’t offer the same things.”
In terms of current gifts for kids, Watt says buyers really need nostalgic gifts this season – like Hot Wheels, Calico Critters, and board games like the classic and popular Candyland. But she added that in addition to books and toys that support diversity, inclusivity and representations of the diverse cultures and experiences within communities, shoppers are also looking for unique gifts from independent brands that are harder to find at large retailers. Because these more obscure gifts are sometimes elusive and often sell out quickly, many local small businesses are offering a concierge experience when buying Christmas gifts, which Watt says helps take the pressure off of Christmas gift buying. Not sure if your local stores are doing the same? Just ask. You’ll likely get a quicker and friendlier response than you’d expect from more well-known retailers.
If you choose to do some or all of your Christmas shopping online, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that either – no judgment here! Many local shops also offer this as an option, especially post Covid. And there are personal reasons, and often even financial benefits, for going this route: a physical need to shop from home, early access sales, and good deals are just a few. In any case, a head start on Christmas shopping at the moment is key to reducing the stress it can cause and making sure you tick all those wish-list boxes and avoid disappointment.
Speaking of wish lists, giving children the opportunity to write a gift wish list is a holiday tradition for many families. As an adult, one of the best parts of the holidays is undoubtedly seeing the joy on children’s faces as they unwrap presents on Christmas morning (or whatever holiday celebration your family is celebrating). Because what they say is true: Giving is more fun than receiving. Although kids obviously love the receiving part, the custom of giving back is growing in popularity every year – a trend the whole family can take part in and even big retailers are getting involved in these days. So, as a final tip, Watt left us: “As the holidays get closer, talk to your local toy stores about their partnerships with local animal shelters and other relief efforts. These are great [opportunities] to get involved, because you can easily make a difference and support at the same time [your local businesses and community.]”