Gift ideas that aren’t affected by shipping delays
This Christmas, buy local and buy digital to avoid disappointment on the big day.
By Nick Gelling
Product test writer
Gripped by tightened supply chains and endless delays, the retail sector is scarcely prepared for a regular holiday season. It’s a great year to think outside the box and do Christmas a bit differently.
The pandemic has hammered supply chains worldwide. In particular, microchips are in short supply – a combination of resource and labour shortages from lockdowns, and increased demand on electronics from consumers stuck at home.
Anything with chips in it – a dizzying gamut of products from computers to whiteware to toys – is at risk of running out of stock over the next month.
Non-electronics aren’t safe either, as the shipping industry struggles to cope with huge demand and shipments to stores get later and later. Couriers are feeling the pressure too, so online shopping is also risky unless you do it well in advance.
Instead of anxiously checking your package tracking numbers every day, or having your heart broken by an out-of-stock sign, this is the year to consider some different types of gifts.
Buy locally made
Homemade or locally produced gifts are always a plus, but this year they have the added bonus of not having to navigate the fraught world of freight.
A gift that isn’t mass-produced feels more personal and authentic. And that’s not to mention the good karma you get from supporting small retail businesses that may have struggled this year, especially in places like Auckland. How’s that for holiday spirit?
If you need some inspiration: think craft stores, art galleries, or even local wineries. Be imaginative!
Give the gift of membership
Annual memberships to places like museums and nature reserves are usually affordable gifts. The lucky recipient is free to visit whenever and however many times they like, all the way through to next Christmas.
A few months of subscription to a service like Disney+ or Spotify can also make a welcome gift, as long as you’re thoughtful about it – something physical like My Food Bag might be worth asking about first.
This year, gift cards make sense
It’s no secret we’re not a huge fan of gift cards and their stingy expiry dates. But if the predicted scenario does eventuate – shelves start to empty out and delivery estimates slip to after the 25th – buying a gift card to your giftee’s favourite store is more sensible than panic buying something they won’t like. That way, they can get what they really want in 2022, once stock levels and delivery times are back to normal.
For a more personal spin on a gift card, try prepaying for an experience – the promise of a guided tour somewhere, or a trip to the spa – that your loved one can redeem at a time that suits them.