Say No To Procrasti-shopping

5 Reasons Starting Your Holiday Shopping Now Should Be A Gift You Give Yourself This Year

Scary Mommy pulled data and spoke to a toy store owner to get the beat on 2022’s buying trends — and why shopping early is smarter than ever.

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Starting your holiday shopping early can save you time, money, and energy.
Liliya Krueger/Getty Images

Take a look around your local stores, and you'll notice signs that the holidays have officially arrived… even though December is still months away. While there are definitely a whole ton of marketing tactics at play, the truth is, now really is the time to start buying for Christmas, and it's not just an evil ploy to take your money either (mostly, anyways).

Of course, many of us (*raises hand*) wait until the last minute and do the 11th-hour gift-buying mad dash. In fact, a 2020 Klarna survey of 40,000 U.S. shoppers found that 79% bought gifts within two weeks of Christmas. But this year, more than ever, is the year to get ahead of the holiday rush.

Reasons Not to Procrasti-shop This Year

To be a parent is to be mind-bogglingly busy basically all the time — and that makes it very easy to put off holiday shopping until the last possible minute. But there are plenty of reasons it makes more sense to get a jump on it, especially in the 2022 holiday season. Here’s the highlight reel.

1. Inflation

You probably saw this one coming, right? “Holiday shopping will look different this year with inflation around 40-year highs,” senior industry analyst for said in a September report for the financial site.

2. Supply Chain Side Effects

This isn’t all bad for shoppers this year! The supply chain isn’t nearly as volatile, meaning there likely won’t be such lengthy delays. However, it’s always best to “expect the worst and hope for the best.” A bonus for consumers is major markdowns on excess products. Due to supply chain delays, many retailers received bulk shipments after the season they were intended for, and they’ll be looking to offload.

3. The Holiday Debt Hangover

If you start now and spread your holiday shopping out over the next 6-7 weeks, you’re far less likely to resort to overspending on your credit cards — and having to deal with the repercussions come 2023.

4. The Crowds

Given the last few years, shoppers are undoubtedly going to be out in full force come November and December. And while it can feel fun and festive to be among so many other people feeling the holiday joy, it can also be overwhelming. Plus, there’s always the possibility of a Christmas with the Kranks hickory-honey-ham-level fiasco.

5. “Hot” Gifts

Your kid has probably already asked you 100 times about a toy they just have to have this year. However, hot gifts tend to sell out super fast... sometimes months ahead of December. Picking it up now ensures you don’t have to see the look on your child’s face when the one thing they really wanted isn’t under the tree.

2022 Holiday Shopping Trends

Sure, shopping at big box stores like Target may have its perks: viral return policies and convenient store hours, to name a few. But when it comes to personalized customer service and unique and hard-to-find gifts, doing your holiday shopping at mom-and-pop shops may be this year's biggest holiday-buying trend of all.

"I am finding that after being stuck in their homes during Covid and seeing so many beloved local shops close, people are so enthusiastic about shopping in person. I think there is a certain amount that is online shopping fatigue. The boxes and packaging are overwhelming. It's easier to just push a button, but then you get these boxes and boxes, and you need to wrap yourself, and you may not get exactly what you thought you were ordering, or have it come and realize it's a knock-off," shared Cassandra Watt, owner of Mud Puddle Toys, a toy store of over 25 years located in Marblehead, MA, adding, "The families coming in are enjoying spending time at the store, hanging out and playing and meeting up with friends. And they are enjoying being able to ask staff for recommendations and have it all wrapped up for them. I think in the post-covid world, your local toy shops and your big online box stores just don't provide the same things."

In terms of what actual gifts for kids are trending, Watt says shoppers are really leaning into nostalgic gifts this season — like Hot Wheels, Calico Critters, and board games like the classic and beloved Candyland. But she added that shoppers are also looking for unique gifts from independent brands that are more difficult to find at big box retailers, in addition to books and toys that support diversity, inclusivity, and representation of the different cultures and experiences within communities. Because these more obscure gifts are sometimes difficult to pin down and often sell out quickly, many local small businesses offer a concierge holiday buying experience that Watt says helps take some of the pressure out of the holiday gift buying experience. Not sure if your local stores do the same? Just ask. You'll probably get a quicker and friendlier answer than you might expect from more well-known retailers.

If you choose to do some or all of your holiday shopping online, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that either — no judgment here! Many local shops offer that as an option too, especially post-Covid. And there are personal reasons and often even financial advantages to going that route: a physical need to shop from home, early access sales, and good deals are just a few. Either way, getting a head start on holiday shopping right now is key to lessening the stress it can cause, as well as ensuring that you check all those wish list boxes and avoid any disappointments.

And speaking of wish lists, for many families, giving children the opportunity to write out a gift wish list is a holiday tradition. As adults, seeing the joy on kids' faces while they unwrap gifts on Christmas morning (or whichever holiday celebration your family observes) is undoubtedly one of the best parts of the holidays. Because it's true what it is said: There's more joy in giving than receiving. Though kids obviously love the receiving part, the custom of giving back is becoming increasingly popular each year — a trend that the entire family can get involved in, and that even big retailers participate in nowadays. So, as a final tip, Watt left us with this: "As the holidays come closer, talk with your local toy stores about their partnerships with local shelters and other outreach. These are great [opportunities] to get involved in, as you can easily make a big difference while also supporting [your local businesses and community.]"

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