December 24, 2020
A few days ago I got a message from a friend cheerfully saying “371 days until Christmas”. It kind of feels that way does it not? Christmas this year is different.
We know this because Thanksgiving was different. Christmas, socially speaking, will undoubtedly be much of the same, many of us will keep away from loved ones to protect them; family hugging will mostly be replaced by social distancing; video call sessions will allow us to reach out to friends and family all over without traveling.
Looking over the horizon we think of clients, friends and associates in far away places. In Australia and New Zealand, their Christmas will be virus-free and “normal,” meaning hot since it is summer; in China it will be fun, a western-influenced gift-giving bonanza, but Europeans will be more like us, happy, but careful and wishing for more. Looking further out we note the “Christmas star”, a rare combination of Jupiter and Saturn visible now for the first time in 800 years. Wow.
Things are definitely different, but different does not mean bad. The supply chains have been affected by the changing times, buyers got creative and overcame challenges, e-commerce got a huge boost. Back home, we still got a Christmas tree and we decorated it, in fact, many went overboard decorating their houses and spent a lot of money on improving their homes and buying presents. A lot of these presents arrived on our doorstep like magic, just a couple of days after we pressed the buy button. This is a testimony of our adapting environment.
In shops, we see shortages as well as oversupply. As we previously wrote about Sourcing In China for Christmas, importers prepare for the holiday shopping season well in advance. Orders are placed in March for August/September deliveries, in order to stock shelves from October through December. This year was more challenging because it was difficult to predict in March what is in demand now.
But think about some of the unexpected Christmas presents we got this year:
- Improved backyard patios
- More streaming movies/TV
- Better home gyms
- Time with and Focus on family
- Appreciation for the great outdoors
- Cleaner environment
- A vaccine!
- Hope for a fast recovery and great things to come
So here we are, at the end of a strange year, and most suppliers and buyers have survived it, some have even thrived during this time because they have stayed positive, creative and nimble. They found opportunities inside their challenges. All of us have learned much from this year and will carry these lessons into 2021.
We hope you are doing well and we wish you all a happy and safe holiday season and a prosperous 2021!
By Jocelyn Trigueros, Laura Dow and Michael De Clercq