It’s a bad news/good news kind of day.
Bad news: It’s shaping up to be a tough holiday season. We already know that many of the items on the wish lists are floating around various ports, still in containers, waiting for an unloading slot. And we know the postal service and all the delivery services are predicting they will be busier than ever (the USPS is trying to hire 40,000 temporary workers to help with the holidays.) And for those pumpkin pie lovers, the price of canned pumpkin is expected to be up due to tough growing seasons in many places.
Good news: There’s still candy corn available in many stores (ok, maybe I’m the only one excited about that), many small and indie businesses saw these shortages coming and planned for this, and the number of indie businesses that are offering unique gifts and opportunities is at an all-time high. I’m privileged to be a member of several small business mentoring groups. We ask questions, learn from each other and share the highs and lows of owning a small business. The creativity and resourcefulness among these, mainly female, owners is unbelievable. And most of us have been thinking about Christmas since July!
Here are five things I think you will find helpful as we begin the holiday countdown. It’s only 59 days till Christmas!
- Preorder now for payment/delivery later. Here at Gratitude, we’ve got holiday gifts available for pre-order. You can take a look Lots of small businesses have a preorder system, or they are starting to release details of special holiday offers. Browsing is completely free. And online businesses don’t care how many times you come into the shop and leave with an empty basket! We understand that it can take a few “looks” before you commit – you’re welcome to spend as much time browsing here as you like!
- Sign up for newsletters on the sites you like best. Most everyone in my mentoring groups has a special offer when you sign up for the email list, and many of them will have special holiday offers for the best customers. Gratitude offers a discount when you sign up to be used on your first order, plus everyone on the mailing list will have a discount code on November 1.
- Check out the blog on what makes a great gift. Then, start asking questions! Experiences tend to be appreciated, which is why Gratitude Soapery is launching a new experience at the end of November. You’ll get more details soon, but this experience gift will check so many boxes. So, if you don’t pre-order, and you’re worried about timing, just keep this idea in mind – I can promise you won’t be disappointed!
- Here are three sites that feature handmade items from small businesses. A word of caution – not every place that features “handmade gifts” actually has “handmade gifts.” Be thoughtful.
- BuzzFeed – this link is to selfcare gifts, but BuzzFeed has lots of lists you can search.
- The List – all of the businesses on The List are small, artisan owned/run and the selection is amazing. MANY people on my list are getting gifts from The List.
- WeAreWomenOwned – supporting women-owned businesses - and the diversity of goods and owners will delight you!
- When you can, let your gift do a little more. Many small businesses support a charity as part of their mission. At Gratitude, we donate a bar of soap for every bar we sell – food pantries and shelters have received donations from Gratitude Soapery. Your purchase from Gratitude has a purpose – and it makes a big difference in the life of someone else. Find a cause you believe in and support it with a purchase.
Finally, a word about shipping – well, two words. Don’t Wait. We all know it will take longer than we’d like, but we don’t know how long. And even when you order early, weirdness happens.
Apologies if it seems as if we are rushing the season. My personal favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and it feels as if I’m giving it the brushoff. On the other hand, if you have all the Christmas gifts safely tucked away, then you can spend Black Friday eating the leftover pie and maybe doing another check of your favorite online shops, knowing you’re ready. Now, that would be something be really thankful for!