CARMEL, Ind. — Christmas is less than 100 days away.
While most of us might wait until Thanksgiving to start shopping, this year, you might not want to procrastinate.
That's what Kits & Kaboodle owner Teneen Dobbs is suggesting.
"Usually, October, November is a great time to start. We're saying start in September," Dobbs said.
That's because stores like hers are experiencing shipping delays and a lack of inventory.
Only half of what they order usually shows up.
Ponycycles, for example, are a hot item. Usually, Kits & Kaboodle will have a handful on the floor. Now, there are only two.
"We don't know if we'll get any more in," Dobbs said.
While the store looks pretty full, Dobbs said the space between items is larger than normal and some shelves are almost empty.
Freight charges are also hitting the store hard. This year, Dobbs said the cost is 74% higher to bring in specific toys for Carmel's Christkindlmarkt.
Kits & Kaboodle is not the only store running into inventory issues.
Ted Rossman with Creditcards.com said this is a common problem.
"We're hearing a lot about supply chain disruptions, shortages, shipping delays. I really think that it makes sense to start early, and I think it could be good for your budget too," Rossman said.
Rossman said he thinks sales will start early too, to create buzz and avoid large, in-store crowds.
"Not everybody's comfortable with cramming in for the Black Friday doorbusters in-person," Rossman said.
If you decide to shop early, make a list of what you buy so that you don't forget about items. Also, hold on to your receipt in case it goes on sale.