Supply Chain-Proof Holiday Gift Ideas For Anyone In Your Life

Semi-serious suggestions from a lifelong last-minute gift-giver.

by Allison Goldberg
A woman's hand unwraps a present. A lifelong last-minute gift-giver shares supply chain proof holida...
Carmen Palma/Stocksy

As the holiday season crescendos to its inevitable chaotic conclusion, the supply chain crisis threatens to demolish the Grinch’s Christmas-ruining record. Thanks to shipping delays and raw goods shortages, Christmas trees are more expensive than even last year, and even wrapping paper is getting caught in the crossfire. Supply chain-proof holiday gift ideas, therefore, are this season’s hottest commodity.

That’s where these gift ideas come in. As a Jew, I am well-versed in scrambling for presents; after all, Chanukah gives us eight nights to contend with, which is seven too many. (To wit: One year, my dad wrapped up a spatula that was already in the kitchen and gave it to my mom on night four.) In other words, I’m a pro at last-minute holiday shopping. Below is a handy gift guide for supply chain-proof holiday gifting for everyone on your list.

For Family Members:

The simplest way to avoid supply chain issues is to buy gift cards online. But since giving money to the people who gave you life is embarrassingly unsentimental, the real gift is in how you deliver the card. If it’s something food-related, hide it in the butt of the Christmas turkey. If you’re bestowing three months of ClassPass, place the gift card on top of a tall cabinet so your recipient has to practice their vertical leap. You can also donate to a charity in someone’s honor, which is a fun mind game because it leaves your materialistic cousins with nothing to post on Instagram. Another option for millennials and up is to provide younger relatives with a tutorial on “the way things used to be.” This can include teaching them how to write checks, burn a CD, write “BOOB” on a graphing calculator, and be generally obsolete. Afterwards, perhaps they can explain NFTs to you.

For Your Friend Who Won’t Shut Up About Their Dog:

Since all millennials treat their dogs as children, but dogs actually require nothing, you can give a sh*tty gift while scoring mega friend points. Take the work clothes you thought you would wear in 2020 and cut out a square foot of fabric. Write or sew the dog’s name on it. Voila! It’s a bandana.

For Actual Children:

Tiny people are both the most difficult and the easiest to shop for. On the one hand, they start counting down to Christmas in July; on the other, they like crap. Since they think it’s acceptable to give you “art” made out of popsicle sticks, return the favor. Another idea could be wrapping up each piece of your leftover Halloween candy — it counts for more since kids love unwrapping stuff. You can always give kids a cardboard box left over from the last thing that did successfully arrive at your house and call it a spaceship.

For Roommates:

Roommates are hard to shop for. You probably know that they want to pick up their middle-school violin-playing again; you would rather tell your nieces and nephews that Santa’s not real than hear them play. Also, you’re already spending money on relatives, so why drop cash on the person who owes you for cleaning supplies? The solution is arts and crafts. Get a cereal box out of the trash and make a DIY advent calendar. Surprise! Every day is condoms. If you’re too lazy for that, take a tip from my dad and wrap up something they already own — or clothes that you borrowed and haven’t returned. If you’re feeling really generous, you can commit to some kind of DIY project to do together. (If you wanted to refinish my cabinets, I’d convert.)

One last, surefire way to beat the supply chain at its own game? Shop locally. Malls are like little Amazons, only you can’t miss the shipping window on a product that’s already in your hands. Together, we can Bring Back Malls, a movement real estate developers would surely love us to adopt. And isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?