Remember last Christmas? It was a nightmare as far as ordering gifts and getting them to their destination on time. Many people had to break the news to their loved ones that they were going to have to wait until after the holiday for things as simple as wallets because even as shippers listed the arrival as being on time, it often didn't work out that way. I speak from experience. Not to mention, there were shortages of items (and delivery drivers). None of that has changed, according to a University of Iowa logistics and supply chain expert who says now is the time to get your holiday shopping in order, or you might see a repeat of December 2020 later this year.

Jen Blackhurst is a University of Iowa professor of business analytics, and she told Radio Iowa retailers are not recovering from their pandemic woes. Even if there's not a supply chain issue, vacant jobs are not being filled very fast leading to a shortage of workers.

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Don't wait if you're looking for high-demand toys or high-end electronics or furniture

Furniture orders are still generally delayed by 5-7 months and if you don't grab that toy your kid wants the moment you see it, forget about it. Blackhurst says she doesn't see this letting up until mid-2022 at the earliest.

China-made and exported goods are one of the biggest headaches

According to Blackhurst, a re-outbreak of COVID at one particular Chinese port is slowing down incoming and outgoing shipments. All it takes is one small glitch to cause upheaval in the entire supply chain and back things up, so even if Christmas in July isn't your thing, it's time to plan ahead so there's actually Christmas in December.

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