Should I start holiday shopping now? 

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With the holidays right around the corner, it’s a good idea to start planning gifts for loved ones. This year, with supply chain issues, shipping delays and labor shortages, it’s more important than usual to start holiday shopping now. Many online retailers have started offering early Black Friday-comparable deals, making it easier than ever to secure good prices and start shopping early. 

However, beyond the big name stores, some of the most meaningful gifts can be found in small local businesses or made at home. Here is our holiday gift guide–trust us, you won’t even notice the holiday shipping delays!

When should I start shopping?

While there are jokes about those who start holiday shopping in August, this year, it made sense. Considering the status of shipping delays and low stocks in major stores, you want to make sure to get your purchases done as early as possible. 

Have children with very specific wish lists? Getting a head start will ensure you get the gift they are dreaming of. For DIY gifts or custom made gifts, you’ll want to give yourself even more time.

Supply chain, shipping and labor shortages causing delays

While everyone had hoped the pandemic would no longer be affecting the economy, there continues to be shortages and shipping issues that cause holiday shipping delays. The combination of worker shortage, equipment and space shortages, and an increased demand have made it difficult for even the largest corporations to deliver goods on time. Some products are out of stock or back ordered for months, making it difficult to source special gifts. 

However, there are many interesting and thoughtful gifts you can give that won’t be affected by supply chain issues or labor shortages. 

Nine alternative gift-giving solutions 

With concerns about climate change, and an emphasis on local small businesses, here are nine thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list. Thinking outside the box doesn’t mean it isn’t special. Avoid disposable gifts and over consumption while making this holiday season the most memorable yet with these nine holiday gift giving ideas: 

1. Shop local small businesses

Shopping locally is one of the best ways to give back to the local economy. Most of these shops already have gift inventory and some may have holiday specific inventory in stock as well. Help them boost their sales  numbers with thoughtful local gifts!

2. Give experiences, not things

With a nearly endless list of experiences you can give to everyone in your life. Think of concerts, comedy shows, gym memberships, unique classes, sporting events, date nights. If you plan to participate in the activity with the recipient, it makes the gift even more special. Here are some experiences you can give to someone in your life:

  • Tennis lessons (or any other sport) you can do together.
  • Plan a hiking trip together. (This can be a nearly free gift).
  • A night in a hotel for a weekend getaway.  
  • Restaurant gift certificates.
  • Museum passes.
  • Skydiving, hang gliding, or any other adventure sport experience.
  • Book a sailing trip or other romantic afternoon.
  • Tickets to a favorite sports team’s game.
  • Tickets to concerts or amusement parks. 

Holiday shopping is easy with so many options to choose from. These gift experiences also stretch out the joy of the holiday season. 

3. Etsy 

Etsy is a gold mine of beautiful, unique and thoughtful homemade gifts. From gift cards, personalized sweatshirts or hand-knitted scarves, you can find a gift for everyone on Etsy. For the health conscious in your life, check out their wild-crafted herbs, body care, and more. 

Can’t forget about the kiddos! Etsy sellers offer beautiful, unique toys, American Girl doll clothes, hand-carved trucks, train sets, and more. There is something for everyone on Etsy and with every purchase you’re supporting a small businesses. 

4. Honor gifts

If you want to give a gift to someone who has everything, make a special contribution in their name. You can help a family get out of poverty with the gift of an animal. Or make a donation in their name for a charity that you know has personal meaning for them. 

5. Sports or extracurricular activity  

One great way to give your child new opportunities is to ask grandparents, aunts, uncles or friends to consider purchasing your child’s fees for a sport or extra curricular activity. Whether this is a regular activity or a new activity they want to try, these meaningful gifts will connect your loved ones to your child’s interests. 

6. Masterclass subscription 

Another interesting gift is the opportunity of learning from the best with Masterclass. Whatever your loved ones’ interests, they can learn new skills and develop techniques from the best in the world. This is a gift that keeps on giving and also builds a love of learning. 

7. Adopt a family

Instead of traditional gifts, consider giving back to a family in need. If you decide to do it as a family, you all get the honor of making another family’s holidays brighter. While it is similar to an honor gift, giving to a family in need can also be an appropriate corporate gift or special holiday activity for your family. 

8. Book of the month 

If you have someone on your list who loves to read, consider giving them a book every month for three months, six months, or the entire year. The book of the month club will create a curated list of books to any reader in your life. 

9. Airbnb Experience

Another way to support the local economy with Airbnb experiences. Look for experiences in your area or book special experiences for travel. Consider hikes or learning a new skill with the many unique experiences available through Airbnb. 

It’s never too early to start holiday shopping

If you want to get the best deals, you can gather thoughtful gifts throughout the year. With the 11 strategies here, you can skip the big retailers and support local small businesses in your area and online. Make a tradition with your family to give back, or to give each other special experiences. With so many gift-giving options, the supply chain delays could make your holidays the most personal and rewarding yet. 

We know that the holidays can be expensive and put a strain on some families. If you find yourself short on cash, we’re here to help. MoneyLion’s Instacash offers a cash float with no interest so you can give the gifts you want this holiday season. 


What is considered a holiday season?

Traditionally, the holiday season starts after Thanksgiving. It includes the holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve.

What’s the most popular shopping day during the holiday season?

Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, is the most popular shopping day during the holiday season. Black Friday accounts for about 40% of all holiday retail traffic.

How much should I spend per gift?

How much you spend per gift depends on your personal financial situation, and it can vary greatly from family to family and social expectations. Consider the MoneyLion Financial Heartbeat(R) tracker to start saving and preparing for the holiday season all year.

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