Christmas Shopping Among the Pandemic

Shopping smart and supporting small businesses are important tips to shop efficiently and safely.

Chloe Clendenin, Author

This holiday, Christmas shopping is looking quite a bit different due to the worldwide Covid pandemic. Shoppers are starting early and already ordering their Christmas decorations and gifts. Even before Thanksgiving, businesses, and stores were already selling out of Christmas trees and decorations; they think it’s because of people rushing to get a good-spirited and happy feeling going in their household to distract them from the chaos 2020 has brought. Christmas is a wonderful time of the year that brings many people joy and happiness, so for most, their decorations may make them feel a bit more festive and cheery. 

Regardless of Christmas decorations, Christmas gifts are also most likely going to sell out fast. This year the pandemic has shifted families’ normal gift buying traditions like Black Friday. This year, businesses are extending Black Friday sales because they aren’t expecting the large crowds. Many people are ordering online to avoid the large crowds and the lines waiting outside the buildings due to a limited number of customers allowed in the stores.

Since most people are getting their Christmas gifts delivered to them, this year, shipping will take longer for all the companies out there. Although it may seem early now, it would be a good idea to get a start on the holiday season and begin ordering your gifts soon. To allow time for shipping and returns, and for best safety practices,  the Sandscript recommends ordering online and ordering early this December. Amazon, UPS, FedEx, and other delivery companies are going to be extremely busy and short staffed this year, therefore, shipping will take longer.  

Shopping safer and smarter is a great idea and a key point while shopping this year. While most states in the US are heavily affected by Covid, it’s still important to avoid high-risk areas. Lake and Porter county are the highest risk areas in NWI. With that being said, areas like Southlake Mall and shopping strips in Valparaiso will surely be higher traffic areas, therefore increasing one’s risk of contraction. Even shopping locally can be dangerous and poses a potential threat, which explains why many are choosing to shop online this year.

     In-store shopping still looks different because of the government-mandated regulations. Some stores limit the number of people allowed at a time leaving long lines outside the building with each person standing 6 feet apart. Stores are also adding staff to get customers what they need efficiently, so they can increase turnover and limit each shoppers time spent in the store. If you decide to go out shopping, be sure to wear a mask, be efficient, frequently use hand sanitizer or hand wipes, wash your hands thoroughly, wipe down items like credit cards, phones, purses, wallets, and anything else that could’ve contracted Covid, and avoid close contact with anyone else if possible. 

Larger businesses are still likely to get their desired income this season, despite the lack of many in-store customers. However, many small businesses are going to suffer without walk-in traffic and larger businesses taking their business. Small businesses have been heavily hit by the pandemic with the government mandates to keep their customers safe. Small and local businesses are important and are relied on by our communities. Instead of buying something from your local go-to store like Target; go to a local business. Many local businesses are higher priced, however, it’s most likely better quality and they make a much more meaningful gift considering it’s unique, one of a kind, and most of the time handmade. 

When you shop local, your money goes towards your community and helps others. When you support local or small businesses, you get rewarded with buying a great gift, as well as giving to and supporting others. It’s a win-win situation and positively affects people across the globe. Most small businesses are small enough to visit without the high risk of Covid, or they often have the option of delivery or curbside pick-ups. 

Many good local businesses for Christmas gifts in Valparaiso include Aster + Gray, Indie Indie Bang Band, Evolution, Lifestyles, Ivy Boutique, Old World Market, Picked Vintage and so many more. Some places in Chesterton include Chelle’s Boutique and Garage, ISO 0Unique, Molly Bea’s Ingredients, and others as well.  Don’t forget to support your favorite local restaurant either, gift cards are a great holiday gift for anyone who likes food. 

Aside from local small businesses, there are also online small businesses. You can find these small businesses by looking online and finding ones that give back to the community and that are ethically sustainable. When a business is ethically sustainable, it means they support brands that place people over profit, they invest in products and lift others up, they make sure that their purchases and products make a positive impact on the world, they also make sure that their store or business reflects their values. 

Clearly, the Christmas shopping season will be dramatically changed this year.  As December 25th draws ever closer, be sure to start your shopping soon because with everything going on with the pandemic, you might not be able to get it in time for the ones you care about.