As we close in on Thanksgiving, I’m reluctantly giving in to thoughts of Christmas shopping.

I’ve always been a proponent of shopping local and supporting local artisans (at holiday time and always), and this year I’m even more so.

But if you’re more inclined to do your shopping online — something that’s become understandably and astoundingly popular during the pandemic — is this shipping shortage we’ve been hearing about something to worry about?

So how did this happen? Simple economics explains it.

Shipping containers can’t be emptied and refilled fast enough to keep up with demand,” states a Nov. 10 NPR segment.

The previously ubiquitous “shipping containers can’t be unloaded fast enough to be sent back to Asia, where they’ll be used again to help meet consumer demand. China, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of shipping containers, is trying to pick up the slack. Companies there produced 300,000 containers in September alone. But no matter how many there are, the supply chain crisis won’t be solved until the containers are more quickly unloaded and turned around.”

A recent Fast Company article, “The $14 trillion reason you should care about the shipping container shortage,” says, “Today, an estimated 90% of the world’s goods are transported by sea, with 60% of that — including virtually all of your imported fruits, gadgets, and appliances — packed in large steel containers. The rest is mainly commodities like oil or grains that are poured directly into the hull. In total, about $14 trillion of the world’s goods spend some time inside a big metal box.”

BUT, if you shop local for your holiday gifts, you don’t have to wait for your ship to come in, so to speak.

‘Tis now the season of holiday craft markets where you can find myriad handmade items — beautiful one-of-a-kind gifts made locally. See page 2 of this publication for some suggestions.

There’s also a trend of gifting services and experiences instead of “things.”

My friend who’s a hairstylist has made the suggestion of giving gift certificates to those, like her, who provide services you and your loved ones are going to want and buy no matter the time of year. Think gift certificates for haircuts, manicures and massages. Or oil changes, car washes and restaurants. With these you are supporting local businesses and helping them stay open during the uncertain winter that’s to come. Uncertain in terms of COVID, I mean.

I also salute the concept of planning a vacation in lieu of gifts. I’ve never been able to make this happen in my family, but it’s a nice thought — a ski trip or a beach getaway sometime after the holidays, when there’s no rush.

Whatever way you decide to prepare for the holidays, I wish you luck and joy in the process. And I also wish success to all our local artists and craftsmen and service-industry workers as we enter this bustling time of year.

Editor of this publication and the three other Pikes Peak Newspapers weeklies, Michelle Karas has called the Pikes Peak region home for more than six years. Contact her at michelle.karas@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

Editor, Pikes Peak Newspapers

Michelle has been editor of the four Pikes Peak Newspapers (Pikes Peak Courier; Tri-Lakes Tribune; Cheyenne Edition; and Woodmen Edition) since June 2019. A Pennsylvania native and Penn State journalism graduate, she joined The Gazette's staff in 2015.

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