Christmas is Coming! 5 decision tips to avoid supply shortages

You can’t turn on the news anymore without talk about how the “supply chain” is going to kill Christmas! What? How can this be? and wait. What even is a supply chain?

On one hand I am happy that the field of logistics has risen to such prominence. I started my career in this area, but quickly realized the daily pressures of managing “on time” performance was exhausting. If you are a control freak, you wouldn’t like this field. There are too many components in the chain that are simply beyond your control.

And that’s the problem we are having right now – loss of control. We have drivers, equipment, storage, ports, stores, transport firms, and many others all collaborating to make one delivery work. So, let’s talk about how to ensure your Christmas is not ruined, from a decision strategist’s perspective.

First, if you are one of those people that can plan ahead, then do that. There will be no issues getting presents in during the next two months if you buy them today. We really are only talking about issues when you procrastinate until the week before. So tip 1: Be proactive. Make a plan and buy early.

Tip 2. Buy local. Products moving across boats, trains, trucks, and planes are the ones that are most prone to delay. Isn’t that most things? Yes, but buying from a local producer or maker can ensure you have what you need. Look for small American craft companies, such as candles or blown glass. Give more gifts of honey or art this year, rather than plastic toys.

Tip 3. Don’t fret about it. Worry and anxiety over shipment arrivals is the furthest thing from what Christmas should be about. We already have a mental health crisis without adding guilt or shame over a purchase that didn’t make it under the tree. Take a few deep breaths and be mindful during this time. Take time for yourself.

Tip 4. Avoid paying expedited shipment fees. When it comes to our loved ones we often get trapped in thinking that if we love them, what does a few extra dollars of shipping really matter? My own mother has overnighted a package to me so it arrived on Christmas, and paid more for the shipping than the gift. On top of that, I wasn’t even home at the time and received a FedEx notice that I had to go and pick it up days later. We worry, and these emotions cause us to waste (I mean spend) in areas that don’t really mean that much. Remember that shipping fees are not a gift. Don’t pay surge pricing for deliveries, ever.

Tip 5. Finally, remember that the season is about the birth of Jesus, and being with your family and friends. Show love by making something- whether that’s a pie or a homemade card. The best gifts really do come from the heart not your wallet. My best Christmas memories have nothing to do with physical gifts I received. I remember playing football with my Dad on Christmas. I remember going hunting. I remember the camaraderie with my sisters and friends. I don’t remember any actual gifts.

And finally keep in mind that while we can can make good choices all year long, we can blow our finances at the end of the year. Maintain your budget. Substitute purchases with more mindfulness. If you can follow these 5 tips, I hope you have a great season without worry about the supply chain.

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