6 Things You Should Buy Now for the Holidays

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Man doing holiday shopping online from his laptop with credit card and cat
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Early holiday shopping is often to your advantage — thanks to the savings and peace of mind you got it all done — but that’s especially the case this year, as some products might not be available anymore by the traditional start of the shopping season.

Because of the ongoing strain of supply-chain issues and labor shortages, many highly sought gifts and seasonal merchandise may be harder if not impossible to find should you wait too long.

Following are some of the things that may be more expensive, rare or simply absent this holiday season, according to recent news reports. But remember that the widespread supply-chain problems are likely to affect far more than just these examples.

1. Artificial Christmas trees

Father and son decorating a Christmas tree
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As we’ve reported, experts are recommending purchasing artificial Christmas trees as early as possible because of expected high demand and the likelihood of increased prices over time.

Many major chains are likely to have trees available the week after Halloween, but if you wait that long to shop, you should be prepared to act fast when you see a tree — and prepared to pay more. Prices for artificial trees could be up to 26% higher than last year, according to Consumer Reports.

You should find a wider section online, but the options will dwindle over the course of the season. And be ready for the potential delays and higher costs from shipping.

2. Other holiday decor

Man hanging holiday lights on the roof of his house
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Whether it’s collectible ornaments or more common decorations such as lights, don’t put off your purchases this year.

The high cost of shipping containers and a short supply of labor already has things like wreaths and garlands vanishing from some stores — before many people even think to start shopping for them.

3. Video game consoles

People playing video games.
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These popular holiday gifts may be even more highly sought than usual — and harder to find.

While Sony’s Playstation 5 launched nearly a year ago, it’s remained difficult for many people to locate the video game console in stores or online, at least without an enormous markup.

The latest Xbox model has been similarly difficult to source, so much so that retailers like Walmart have been offering well-publicized staggered restocks.

These shortages are likely to continue late into next year, thanks to high demand for key components used to build them and other consumer electronics, Toshiba recently told Bloomberg.

4. Toys

Black chid with toys
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The sooner you can pry a holiday wish list out of your kids or grandkids, the better.

Many popular toys may have strained supply this year, and there may be fewer choices at popular retailers, Toy Association CEO Steve Pasierb told CNBC.

While big toymakers like Mattel and Hasbro may be able to work a little more supply-chain magic than smaller competitors, even their prices may be higher and the shelves may empty out quicker than usual.

5. Books

Man with too many books
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Another popular gift category that’s likely to be affected is books — at least, the old-fashioned paper kind.

Delays that began in 2020 have continually compounded into some titles missing from shelves for more than a month, The New York Times says. Reprints that once took three weeks now can take three months — and there’s less time than that left in the year.

6. Shoes

Nike shoe box
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Many popular shoemakers have warned of shipping disruptions that could affect delivery of their products in the coming months.

In September, Nike cut its sales outlook for the year after describing a supply situation that has continued to deteriorate, CNN reported. Adidas and Crocs are two other shoemakers providing similar warnings.

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