• kathleen.goodwin

the supply chain that stole christmas.



Gifts will be more expensive, and delayed, than ever before.


While last year families changed how they celebrated the holidays by practicing social distancing or hopping on Zoom, this year an important part of the holiday season may be delayed: gifts. In 2021, gift-giving is expected to be more delayed, and more expensive, than ever before thanks to massive disruptions in the supply chain.

In a time where we have become used to one-click and next-day delivery, we will find ourselves testing our patience.

And the culprit? To no surprise, the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s not so simple, so let's break it down.

As you have probably noticed, there is currently a massive workers shortage. It seems you can’t go into a coffee shop or a retail store without noticing a help wanted sign in the window. While many of us adjusted to work-from-home models, setting up offices at kitchen counters, much of the public-facing workforces like retail and factories either shut down or cut back their workforce.

On top of that, many manufacturers struggled to coordinate material shipments as international borders closed. Suddenly factories in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam could no longer get the supplies they needed to create the goods we depend on. We don’t consider ourselves supply chain engineers or economists so that is about how deep we will go for the sake of brevity.

At the same time, online shopping exploded in popularity. According to Digital Commerce 360, eCommerce increased 32.4% in 2020. A particular industry that first began to experience this supply chain drain was home improvement, as added time at home meant time to paint, fix or build areas they may have been putting off for years. Paired with a shortage of shipping containers, goods not only failed to arrive at their final destination, but also became wildly expensive.

Simply put, the pandemic has caused significantly limited supply, unable to keep up with record-high demand.

With shortages expected to continue well into 2022, it's important to understand that the best gift we can give this year is patience. While gift-giving is no doubt an incredibly important way we show our appreciation during the holiday season, we want to leave you with a quote from one of our favorite holiday classics, How the Grinch Stole Christmas to help share some perspective:

Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,

Was singing without any presents at all!

He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming! It came!

Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his grinch feet ice-cold in the snow,

Stood puzzling and puzzling. "How could it be so?”

It came without ribbons! It came without tags!

It came without packages, boxes, or bags!"

He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.

Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!


Kathleen Goodwin is a Copywriter of Manifesto, A Brand Courage Agency. Manifesto has offices in Milwaukee, Portland and Nashville.