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The first half of December is over, which means peak holiday shopping season is officially here. But this year, it all feels even more stressful. With the chain supply crisis reducing stock both online and in stores, and inflation rising prices up, finding deals can be a daunting task. 

If you’re not at the end of your shopping list yet, or if you haven’t even started (gasp), not all is not lost. These buying guides and gift suggestions guides will help you navigate the end-of-year festivities like a pro, and make your holidays a whole lot happier.

Understand the supply chain crisis—then beat it

You probably never thought too much about how products get from manufacturers to your local stores. But the supply chain crisis shows how something happening on the other side of the world can drastically reduce your chances of finding that perfect gift. 

To understand exactly what’s going on and up your chances of winning the battle for holiday presents, try these six tips on how to beat the supply chain crisis. Shopping early may not be an option anymore, but you can always cross items off your list by buying locally or getting a real crowd pleaser—a gift card.  

[Related: The most eco-friendly wrapping paper is none at all]

The supply chain has also impacted the literary industry. If you were planning on getting your friends and family to read more printed books, you may have to settle for something other than your first choice. New releases and more niche titles have been pushing back publishing dates due to the supply chain crisis, so you may have an easier time finding older reprints and big bestsellers at your local bookstore.  

Track down those hard-to-find items

If you haven’t given up hope on finding that one perfect gift, even in the midst of uncertain restock cycles, then you’ll need all the help you can get to hunt it down. 

From browser extensions to following the right social media accounts, this guide to tracking down those hard-to-get holiday presents will not disappoint. Most resources focus on the hottest items of the season—think the PlayStation 5, the iPhone 13, and the Nintendo Switch Lite. But you can also narrow your search to specific colors or sizes of clothes, or default to major sites like Amazon.

Just keep in mind that the more diverse your tracking strategy is, the higher the chances of getting exactly what you want. And that’s not a Christmas miracle! 

Avoid scams

This year Americans are expected to spend more on holiday presents than they have in 20 years. With that in mind, and with people frantically searching for gifts, online fraudsters will be working double-time to get their hands on your data or bank account. Don’t let them. 

You’ll be able to avoid shopping scams and protect your precious information by following these four smart practices. You can also use them year-round to save yourself a couple of headaches by fending off phishing and hacking attempts. This is our gift to you. 

DIY your holidays

If you insist on stuffing everybody’s stockings, making your own presents is a great idea. It’ll probably save you money, and it’s definitely a lot more sustainable than buying something new. 

[Related: How to keep a Christmas tree fresh for as long as possible]

If you’re not afraid of DIYing, here’s a list of 14 easy gifts you can make yourself. From weather scarfs and mittens to bath bombs and cutting boards, there are ideas for everyone on your list and projects of every skill level. 

Maybe you won’t have time to nail every last detail on your homemade presents—but the time, effort, and creativity you pour into them will definitely be a priceless expression of love. Isn’t that the best gift of all? 

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