With logistics and seasonal demand creating shortages, these hot-ticket picks should be on your priority list
We all know that the most important thing about Christmas is spending time with people we love, but good food and drink, thoughtful gifts and atmospheric decor all play an important role in creating a special festive ambiance.
Which is why news reports suggesting we may experience shortages of our favourite items due to Covid closures and transport and logistics issues is causing some worry.
Here, we’ve asked people in the know to share some insider knowledge on the purchases you should be making soon to ensure your festive season will be merry and bright.
According to Kevin O’Mahony of drinks distributor, Barry & Fitzwilliam, shipping issues, smaller-than-anticipated harvests and raw material shortages are causing a lack of availability of certain wines and champagnes.
“I would be inclined to advise people to buy luxury items like Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon and Paul Regis now,” he says, which is timely advice for those hoping to toast the festive season in style. “There are also shortages of C02, which is used for some sparkling wines.”
Kevin says that the demand for wine grew during the pandemic, and his biggest piece of advice is aimed at lovers of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, which is experiencing shortages as the harvest for the 2021 vintage was down by 35pc.
“Irish people have fallen in love with it over the past 10 years, and we’re one of the biggest consumers in the world per capita,” he says. ”One of the most popular wines is Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc (€12.50), and my advice is to buy it while it’s still there.”
A beautiful day
One thing Amy Buckeridge of The Publicity Loft knows for certain is that fans of beauty Advent calendars need to plan ahead.
“Only a limited amount are produced each year, so keen beauty lovers need to be more organised than usual,” she says. “Nuxe is known for its beautiful advent calendars and only a few of the much-loved calendars (€74) will be within reach of Irish customers.
“Penneys is always first off the mark when bringing out must-have items, and the highly-attractive price point of the PS…12 Days of Christmas Makeup Brush Set (€14) means you would want to be planning to pick it up now as it won’t be available in December.”
While they’re on the pricier end of the scale, Amy says that Jo Malone’s calendar (€370) and Charlotte Tilbury’s are extremely popular.
“Charlotte’s Beauty Dreams & Secrets Advent Calendar (€185), with its hand-jewelled drawers, is expected to sell out,” she says. “Her celebrity status alone makes it an experience for users.”
Parents are starting to feel stressed over must-have Christmas toys this year, and as 80pc of toys are made in China, logistics issues are predicted to impact some popular items.
Toys like L.O.L. Surprise! Movie Magic Dolls (€12.99), Barbie’s Day to Night Dreamhouse (€289.99) and LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Luigi Starter Course (€54.99) are likely to feature on many wish lists, and the good news is they’re currently available from Smyths Toys.
If you’re looking for a more sustainable alternative, Sharon Keilthy of Jiminy.ie has over 600 products made from eco-friendly or recycled materials that are not affected by shortages, as they are coming by land from Europe or are made in Ireland.
We love Jiminy’s colourful, handcrafted bowling/skittle set, €36.99, Magical Mini Greenhouse (€12.99) and Autogami solar-powered car that children can build and decorate (€15.99).
Eyes on the pies
But what about the piéce de résistance — the Christmas dinner? The great news is that there’s no need to panic because you won’t be without your favourite dishes.
Tesco Ireland told Shopaholic that local sourcing from its 490 Irish suppliers is “at the heart of our fresh food and popular seasonal categories,” while SuperValu said it is “confident our customers will continue to enjoy access to their favourite ranges this Christmas”.
We’re not taking any chances on our favourite sweet treats though and will be picking up some Tesco Plant Chef Mince Pies (€1.50 for six) and SuperValu Mini Mince Pies (€2.50 for nine).
We all love to give our homes a festive makeover and if you’re a fan of baubles, garlands and tinsel, you might need to start planning your theme now.
Ikea has plenty of classy decorations in stock, such as its set of 32 blue and silver baubles (€10), while little ones will love the adorable cone-shaped Santa (€5) that comes in green or grey, and the set of three animal-print baubles (€10).
So is there really a need to get our decor sorted now? “Our Christmas range is currently in stock and we anticipate good availability across the range,” said an Ikea spokesperson. “Given the ongoing uncertainty in global supply chains, we would recommend that if customers see something they love, they should buy it sooner rather than later to avoid any disappointment.”
When it comes to setting your perfect Christmas table, demand has grown over the past year as tablescaping became a new focus throughout Covid. According to Maria Reidy of online homewares store Signature-Editions.ie, demand and supply will continue to be an issue this Christmas.
“Some elements will need planning now for the months ahead,” she says. “Irish linen tablecloths are made to order, for example, so these need to be planned for and ordered now to have them in time for Christmas.”
Signature Editions has many bespoke items, and its Italian linen napkins (€100 for a set of 4) and placemats are made to order in Italy. Although currently in stock, they take months to make and deliver, and there won’t be a restock before Christmas.
Nightwear before Christmas
Lingerie and nightwear sets are traditionally bought right before Christmas, but according to industry insiders, leaving them to the last minute is a gamble that may not pay off.
Thermals are also harder to get, so if you think you or a loved one might need some warming up, don’t delay in stocking up.
“Buying early this year is recommended due to delivery delays and stock levels,” says Sinead Sanderson of PeachesAndCream.ie, who is retailing a sexy red bra (€49.95) that will undoubtedly bring some festive cheer.