Holiday Shopping That Won’t Break the Supply Chain

With supply chain issues affecting shipments of goods at ports worldwide and postal slowdowns in the the U.S., holiday shoppers are eagerly snapping up whatever merch they can get their hands on early in the season.

So far, few of this year’s “it” gift items are selling out — and if Black Friday and Cyber Monday were any indication, supplies of new TVs, voice assitants and other computer-enabled gadgets are meeting strong demand. But things can (and will) sell out.

If you want to satisfy everyone on your list this year, there are several ways to do so while avoiding supply chain issues:

1. Buy consumer goods now. Retailers started the shopping season early to cope with potential supply-chain issues, and regardless if those problems materialize, the best deals will disappear as shopping deadlines approach.

2. Order early to avoid delays. Dec. 11 is the last day certain retailers will guarantee delivery by Christmas due to distribution issues and shipping slowdowns. That’s a full two weeks ahead of the actual holiday, and your Prime membership may not help.

3. Give experiences instead of things. A gift certificate to a cooking class, massage therapist or local restaurant might be a thoughtful gift that doesn’t depend on the U.S. mail to arrive on-time. Digital subscriptions also deliver instant gratification.

4. Buy local, perishable and handmade. Not only will you support people and businesses in your community, but you’ll be able to sidestep any supply chain issues by buying goods and services that are already available locally.

5. Make your own. If you have a knack for sewing, woodworking or some other craft, get creative with your giving. The people on your list will appreciate a one-of-a-kind keepsake that took real effort.

6. Regift and thrift. Quality hand-me-downs make great gifts. If there’s something you own that just doesn’t get the love it would if you gave it to someone on your list, wrap it up and hand it off.

Also consider #decluttering and #donating any lightly used #clothing, household goods and other #stuff you no longer use to ClothingDonations.org. When you #donate used items, they are resold to fund a variety of veterans programs.

The #thrift stores that ClothingDonations.org supplies are a great source of holiday swag and ready-to-gift items, too! #Resale and #reuse is the ultimate in low-impact giving. Happy shopping!

Celebrate Earth Day the Ecofriendly Way

April 22 is Earth Day 2018! And while it is a challenge for every person to limit his or her environmental impact, there are plenty of ways you can help protect the earth this week and long into the future.

The Earth Day Network is concentrating on ending plastic pollution this year. Being petroleum products, plastics not only release greenhouse gases during manufacture, they also leach phthalates and other chemicals that are harmful to human health into the environment in use and after disposal.

The Earth Day Network asks individuals to calculate their plastic usage and participate in events that encourage people to reduce the use of plastics; refuse to use common items such as plastic straws, grocery bags and flatware; and reuse whatever plastic items they can.

When disposal of plastic is unavoidable and a sufficient waste-management or recycling program isn’t available, the network says, local citizens should get involved by launching community-led disposal initiatives and recycling businesses.

Every Earth Day, there are also plenty of opportunities to clean up local parks and shorelines, plant trees and protect wildlife habitats, and otherwise celebrate and protect nature. Simply search online for “Earth Day events near me” to pitch in.

Parents and teachers can get kids involved in Earth Day with special lesson plans, litter pickup and more. The Green Education Foundation suggests activities such as building a compost bin, fixing leaks and planting a garden for kids of all ages.

Looking for another way to keep the planet clean? Donate the lightly used clothing, housewares and plastic goods you no longer need to ClothingDonations.org. When you arrange a pickup, the items get resold and reused — keeping more junk out of landfills while helping fund veterans’ programs.

Whether you choose to celebrate Earth Day by turning off the lights, carpooling to work, cleaning out your closets or all of the above, your decision will contribute to the planet’s health. And every little bit helps!