We realize gift-giving is central to many holiday celebrations. It’s also the time of year when some stores do the bulk of their business. We also realize most children look forward to a generous visit from Santa Claus in December.

We aren’t opposed to any of those things, but we must be informed about the state of shopping for the holidays and make a strategy.

Experts say supply chain issues could last until 2023, mainly because Americans are shopping like crazy, and global trade is trying to meet the tremendous need created by it.

“We expect ... strained supply chains to last until the early parts of 2023,” said Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at Copenhagen-based BIMCO, a shipping trade group. “We are basically seeing a global all-but-breakdown of the supply chains from from end-to-end.”

The Port of Savannah is seeing 50% more intake than usual, with nearly 80,000 containers backed up. This is true for most U.S. ports.

In a move to relieve some of the shipping backup, the White House brokered an agreement for the Port of Los Angeles to become a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operation.

Maybe that doesn’t sound like much, but ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach account for 40% of all shipping containers entering the United States. Those concerned about Santa’s ability to lay hands on toys should note a great number of toys are shipped to our country through these ports.

How does one avoid shipping problems during the holiday season?

• Shop early. Meaning, shop now. Get it done and over with and you will know you have gifts in hand. Not only will you not have to worry that your order won’t arrive, but you will have your calendar cleared closer to your holidays so you can enjoy being with your family.

• Another alternative: Shop local. Buying from your friends and neighbors who own businesses helps them thrive and keeps you out of the shipping crisis.

• Consider cutting down on gift-giving — maybe even eliminate it where you can — and focus on the real meaning of your holiday.

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