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Susan Tompor: How to find gifts -- and joy -- if a toy shortage hits during the holidays

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Home and Consumer News

How should shoppers handle supply chain challenges? Take a deep breath, start shopping early, cut corners were you can and stick to a budget. And the best way to keep costs low is not to panic. It also does not hurt to have a back up plan.

Ways to keep your Yule cool

Here are some strategies to consider for holiday shopping:

Gift closet. If you shop year round, take a look to see what gifts you've got in stock in your own personal inventory. No need to worry about a supply chain crisis if you've got several gifts tucked in a closet already.

Shopping outside of the box. Make no mistake, stores may look different than they did before the pandemic. I've noticed, for example, a lot more floor space in some stores lately, including Kohl's in metro Detroit. The racks often aren't jammed on top of one another in some areas.

While that might be a sign of tight inventories or perhaps remodeling, it's also a welcome sight if you'd like to practice a little social distancing.


I have yet to see any truly empty shelves but I imagine that some might crop up here and there. I noticed some sparse supply when it came to Halloween merchandise in some stores, such as Michael's, in mid-October.

If you normally wait until later in December to buy holiday decorations, for example, you need to shop a little earlier this year for seasonal items.

Comparison shop online. Some retailers may offer more seasonal merchandise via their online platforms instead of stocking the shelves.

I noticed this trend when it came to a so-called backpack shortage during the back-to-school season. While the shelves were completely cleared out of backpacks in the store at a local Target shortly before the start of school, you could find a fairly decent selection online.


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