How could this holiday season be different from the previous years?


Isabella Mariani, Reporter

The holiday season is finally here, cold weather, festive songs playing everywhere you go, lots of baking and sweet smells, and buying gifts for the ones you love. Everyone’s favorite time of the year. But your holiday season could be affected by the recent shortages the United States is facing. 

Holiday shortages are something that we see every year when the newest toy or game becomes a new hot item and everyone wants it. But this year the number of these items are in short supply. Most toys and electronics are manufactured overseas and shipped over to US ports, and while these items are being shipped they are sitting in ports on the west coast full of different toys, electronics, foods, and other supplies because there is no one to unload these ships. And as a result of this holiday gifts should be bought earlier than ever.

The pressure to buy with supply chain issues is getting harder with the holiday season getting closer and there is no sign of this problem being solved any time soon. More than 85% of toys and other gifts commonly gifted on the holidays are manufactured overseas and are currently just sitting in ports. This is causing shortages of the things people want to buy loved ones and this is ultimately causing a raise in prices making them even less accessible to others. And according to The Sales Force U.S retailers will face an extra $223 billion dollars in costs of goods this season. Buying gifts when you see them or as quickly as you can will be the smartest move because if not they’ll be gone or more expensive by the time you get around to it. 

But buying gifts will not be the only problem this holiday season. Traveling will be a lot more difficult than people were expecting. After a long 18 months of travel bans, people are finally ready to travel again. But even with airlines adding more flights to accommodate the demand, airlines can’t add capacity quickly enough. On top of that with the labor shortages being felt in the U.S. workers at American Airlines and Southwest are threatening a strike over vaccine mandates.  

 And with few seats available on planes, rental cars being near impossible to find, and very few properties left for people to rent, traveling anywhere will be nearly impossible to do this year. But of course with these things becoming limited the prices are rising rapidly. The travel company Guesty has data showing that consumers are booking flights 53% higher than 2020 and 80% higher than pre-covid in 2019. And now the average hotel/Airbnb is at a cost of $559 a night compared to $392 a night in 2020 and $332 a night in 2019. 

This information came as a shock to some students here at Urbana, but there were a few who knew about the topic and saw some of this first hand. I asked Grace Nelson (10) if she had known/seen any changes relating to current supply chain shortages, and she replied with, “Yeah, I have noticed some differences in what stores were carrying. When I went to Costco in Frederick the other week there were rows of empty shelves in multiple different sections.”  When later asked what sections she had noticed were empty she said, “The frozen aisle, toys and games, books, and paper products like paper towels and toilet paper.”

This holiday season will be chaotic like they normally are, but maybe in a way we weren’t expecting. The only solution people have at the moment is to buy your gifts earlier than you normally do. So do that, and notice how prices are changing as the holidays get closer.