Will delivery delays affect your Christmas shopping?

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    Can you believe it’s that time again We are in the last quarter of the year – if you haven’t noticed; so much has changed. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen it drastically change the way we live and navigate through life. Various safety precautions, mask requirements and much more have become our new normal. We have got used to the fact that our online orders are processed within two days and are on our doorstep. Due to shortages and inflated prices, we learned how spoiled we were all along. With the holiday season approaching quickly, use these tips to make sure your gift gets into the hands of those who matter most on time.

    Delay has its price

    I know life takes many twists and turns. We are distracted and our “nice to do” items take a back seat to our “must-do” checklist. However, let’s remember that things have actually changed. If you’re more of a last minute shopper, your bags won’t be pleased. Inventory fluctuates and expedited shipping may not be an option. The global shortage of materials has drastically slowed the production process. This also does not apply if you rely on the postal service to ship items. Do yourself a favor and identify gifts as early as possible. Even if this means giving gifts early, you can at least have the certainty that they will be in the hands of loved ones early.

    Shop for small, local businesses

    When your family is there, write a few dates on the calendar to shop in person and exchange gifts. This gives you the opportunity to spend valuable time and support your community with local shopping. There might be some unique finds that are not available at major retailers, which makes the gift a lot more thoughtful. If you’re in an area where local business is limited, search for small businesses and you’ll see pages full of results. Also use Etsy and social media to discover small businesses around the world.

    Check the updated processing and shipping deadlines

    Both large retailers and small businesses have updated their order processing times to make room for things that are beyond their control. To avoid confusion, be sure to check out the updated timeframes on their websites and social media. If necessary, make a list of the companies you’d like to support this holiday season. This way you have a running list at hand and can prioritize orders. Many large dealers take over the logistics for direct orders for you. To reduce the burden, opt to use their shipping services to avoid hassle.

    Research postmen and different costs

    In case you (or your bags) didn’t notice, the price of everything went up and shipping was no exception. The postal service, FedEx and UPS were overwhelmed – long working hours with significant labor shortages. Check their websites often for the most up-to-date shipping information. Shipping deadlines and dates were recently published, so to be on the safe side, please submit them beforehand. We have seen the effects of delays so play it safe. When in doubt, visit your local stores or call if you need further assistance. Whether you’re shipping locally or internationally, it might be best to opt for package insurance and pay for tracking if it’s not provided.

    Packages that are lost, stolen, and / or damaged have increased tremendously, so protect yourself as much as possible. Keep in mind that vacation package issues will continue well into the first quarter of 2022; Start early to avoid getting into the vacation frenzy.

    Go for digital gift cards

    Many large retailers want to make it as easy as possible for their customers to do two things; shop and spend money. To avoid the hassle of expensive shipping costs and lost packages, try digital gift cards. All you need is an email address and your gift will be right in their inbox. If you still want to send a physical gift certificate, this is also an option and will be sent to the recipient address. You also don’t have to worry about shipping, returning, or buying things that the recipient may not like. Give them the gift of your choice; it’s a win-win situation!

    Revise the traditional gift ideas

    While some people are very anxious to give gifts to their family and friends, have you taken the time to think about what your loved ones are actually enjoying? Gifts do not always have to be the traditional material item. The pandemic has hit us all – some in the most unfortunate ways. There has been a lot of loss, grief, and general stress that is still very prevalent in our lives. Instead of buying a new phone or camera, remember to give that person a short vacation or break. For the same price, this could offer your family member a life changing experience. Instead of a sweater or coat, consider a massage gift card or a spa day. If a loved one did not have and does not want to travel, opt for a flight voucher. Get creative and think outside the box.

    For the small business owner in your family, consider ordering or donating their products to keep their business going. An interactive study course is a great alternative to a traditional book. In all fairness, some family members may be content with a bill paid or much-needed time. Before you even think about what to want them to do, do yourself a favor and ask them first!

    Now more than ever, it is important to remember that time is of the essence. No gift is more important than spending time with those you care about. Laughter and fellowship are gifts that can never be bought.

    Author's photo

    Marsha Barnes (24 posts)

    Marsha Barnes is a finance guru with over 20 years of experience committed to empowering women worldwide to be financially successful. Financial literacy and education are a passion for Marsha, providing practical information for clients that will build their overall confidence in their personal finances.

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