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Yes, Christmas shopping season starts in September now

Shoppers want to avoid last year's shortages and delays
Last-Minute Shoppers Hunt For Christmas Gifts
Posted at 4:00 AM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 14:51:28-04

It's only September.

But for people burned by empty shelves last year, Christmas shopping is already underway.

Remember when holiday shopping season started in October or November?

Not anymore: Stores are now rolling out their Christmas items in September, and shoppers are already buying.

Jackie Miles is among them. She isn't waiting this year to buy gifts for her big family.

"I had trouble getting toys, clothes, everything. It was very stressful, last year," she said, looking at girl's dolls. "I was worried about getting things on time and getting them wrapped before Christmas."

"So this year, I am doing it early, so I'm ready and prepared."

Stores ordering earlier than ever this year

Anticipating early shoppers like Miles, we found holiday items like Lego Advent sets are already on the shelves at some stores.

Rob Kearney, a buyer at King Arthur's Court Toys, responded to last year's shortages by ordering earlier than ever this year.

"With the uncertain shipping conditions and stuff going on in the world right now," he said, "I am going to be shopping early, and we are stocking the store up as well too."

This year, store managers and parents don't want to deal with the product shortages they faced a year ago.

A new Bankrate.com survey finds that more than half of holiday shoppers plan to start shopping before Halloween.

But will retailers have the hot items that everyone will want?

Jonathan Gold of the National Retail Federation said, "retailers have been planning for months and months in advance about when they're bringing in their cargo for the fall holiday season."

He says that the holiday shipping season used to run from July through November.

But this year, he says, shipments started as early as May.

Early ordering doesn't mean we're in the clear this year, however.

Trucking delays, labor disputes, and uncertainty overseas could all hold up the supply chain.

Shop now or wait?

But do you need to finish your holiday shopping before Halloween? Not for everything.

Bankrate's Ted Rossman says, "if you're looking for a hot video game system or video game itself, or you know, some toy that's in really hot demand, then sometimes it does make sense to grab it early."

But if you are just buying sweaters and stocking stuffers, you'll probably find lower prices closer to Christmas.

That way, you don't waste your money.

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