Technology

Christmas: our tips for buying your gifts in the midst of a shortage –

Will Santa Claus bring presents this year? Certainly, but your sled will slow down. As the global supply crisis persists and the holiday season begins, headlines predicting empty shelves in department stores multiply. And indeed, clothing, toy, or even high-tech departments are likely to be much less crowded than in previous years, because many of these items are shipped from abroad.

It is difficult to know in advance which products will be missing, although we have already been observing the absence of PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, graphic cards, musical instruments or even hardware for 1 year. Astronomy as we tell you this summer.

So buying your Christmas gifts can be particularly painful this year, so we’ve listed some practical tips to help you get ready and have a great holiday.

1. Buy early

Our first tip is obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to remember: don’t wait until the last minute to finish your holiday shopping. Start shopping now and fill out your gift list every day. By ordering now, you will anticipate any delays in delivery and your packages will have a better chance of arriving before D-Day.

As a bonus, you can save money by taking advantage of Black Friday, or rather Black Friday Week, which will take place the last week of November. As usual, we will cover the event. We’ve already started doing it elsewhere since Amazon launched some promotions earlier this month. Finally, anticipating your Christmas shopping will also allow you to have a free spirit and enjoy a stress-free month of December.

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2. Buy local

Reduce delivery distances by supporting local retailers. Whether it’s an independent store or a chain of stores, some companies ship their products directly from the store to your doorstep (thus avoiding distribution centers where bottlenecks can occur). And if you’re late or don’t want to risk local delivery, many retailers also offer the option to buy online and pick up in store.

port-of-oakland-ship

A container ship unloads its cargo in the Port of Oakland in California (Kent German / CNET)

If you need to broaden your search, look for products that should not be shipped abroad. This will prevent your gifts from passing through the busiest ports.

3. Think crafts

Small businesses will still be subject to delays from the Post, but they can have better control over their inventory and production and will likely provide more personalized customer service if something goes wrong. You can use sites like Etsy or eBay to search for crafts, home decor, or artwork made by independent producers.

Etsy also offers a special shop for Christmas, just be careful with delivery times that can vary significantly as some sellers are private and manufacture their products by hand according to demand. To take a look, it’s here:

4. And used or reconditioned

Collectibles, vintage retro video games, souvenirs, and vintage clothing or toys can make wonderful gifts. You have an aviation enthusiast in your family. How about a security card from a retired Concorde? It may not be much to you, but for an enthusiast it is a golden gift.

The security cards of a Concorde and the Air France aircraft parts auction catalog in 2003 (Kent German / CNET)

Or maybe you have someone around you who collects pins from Disney theme parks? Collectors will appreciate this attention and effort.

We all know eBay or Leboncoin but there are also ParuVendu, Viva Street or other more specialized sites. On the music side, for example, the classifieds sections of Audiofanzine or Zikinf are references. On the reconditioned side, there is the classic BackMarket but also ReBuy, YesYes or Smaaart.

5. Buy something intangible

No need to send gifts like spa treatments, lessons (like a driving course, for example), weekends abroad, and magazine / newspaper subscriptions or streaming services.

The same is true for gift cards and vouchers, but only if you buy them in person or electronically. For a player, you can opt for a Steam voucher for example or for a game There are several interesting platforms to buy games in digital version, whether they are console or PC games. We can cite Instant Gaming or Humble Bundle. However, beware of physical gift cards that need to be mailed and therefore can also be sent to distribution center purgatory.

6. Or don’t worry

This advice is more difficult to follow when you have children, but it can apply to adults. This year you really have the best excuse in the world (as long as you don’t wait until the last minute) if your gifts are late.

To give them something to open on D-Day, you can purchase a small item that represents the next gift. Let’s say you give away a Nespresso coffee machine and the package is late. You may very well offer a box of capsules on Christmas morning with a little note. After all, let’s not forget that Christmas is meant to be fun, not stressful.

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This CNET.com article was adapted by the editorial team of

Featured Image Credit: Ben Fox Rubin / CNET

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