Shortages That Could Make Your Holidays Way Less Merry

Sale of many artificial Christmas trees in green, purple and white at a decor store. The sale of a variety of artificial Christmas trees


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Roasting Turkey in the Oven for Holiday Dinner

More Empty Shelves

In 2020, shoppers kicked off the pandemic with panicked hoarding of essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. And while those staples are mostly back, shortages and higher costs have plagued a cross section of items ever since, from chicken wings to dumbbells to plywood. Unfortunately, as the holidays approach, retailers are still struggling to stock shelves. From the turkeys and cranberry sauce to the Christmas trees and gifts, here are shortages that could leave you feeling less than festive over the next several weeks.

Related: Happy Holidays: Here’s What Will Cost More This Year

Turkey Dinner


You may have to swap out a turkey for a prime rib on your Thanksgiving table. The big birds are 60% out of stock thanks to labor and supply chain issues, according to the Wall Street Journal. That's 30% lower than 2020, and we all thought stock was low then. Smaller turkeys in particular will be in shorter supply this year, thanks to a combination of higher costs, labor shortages, and lower demand for bigger birds thanks to family gatherings that have been streamlined thanks to the pandemic, reports Good Housekeeping. 

Related: Alternatives to a Basic Thanksgiving Turkey

111815 thanksgiving meal cost comparison slide 3 fs

Other Thanksgiving Staples

Other nontraditional dishes may need to join your Thanksgiving table, because staples besides turkey will be harder to find than last year. The worst is canned cranberry sauce, which is 20% out of stock and in decline. Sweet potatoes are also harder to find, as are refrigerated pies. And while the availability of boxed stuffing mix is low overall, it's better than last year — you may just have to stuff a chicken or goose instead of that turkey. The (literally) silver lining: Household goods like aluminum foil are generally easier to come by compared with last year.

RelatedCranberry Sauce and Other Thanksgiving Dishes People Love to Hate

Pumpkin Patch
Wine bottles on shelf at a winery. Wine bottles in wooden stand on display at store.


There's nothing better than toasting friends, family, and a delicious holiday dinner with your favorite bottle of wine. But a glass-bottle shortage combined with drought in California's wine-producing regions means your favorite vino might be harder to find this year. Add in the usual dash of supply-chain madness and grapes tainted by wildfires, and the wine industry is facing an uphill battle that may soon result in shortages and increased prices, industry executives say.

Related: 10 Gifts Under $25 for Wine Lovers (Besides Wine)

bottles of alcohol

Other Alcohol

If you're looking for something a little more festive than wine, the news isn't good there, either. Supply-chain problems and the same bottle shortages hitting the wine industry have been impacting the supply of hard alcohol in certain states, making it harder for stores, bars, and restaurants to keep the good times flowing. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board even recently instituted a limit of two bottles per customer, per day, until shortages ease. 

Related: I Gave Up Alcohol for a Month and Here’s What Happened

Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf

Love it or hate it, Elf on the Shelf has cemented itself as a holiday tradition for many families. If you're planning on joining in, grab the mischief-making elf when you see him. Only about 70% of elves have made it onto retailers' shelves, the company says, even after herculean efforts to avoid supply-chain snags that included using cargo planes to bypass crowded ports. 

Related: 16 Holiday Lies We Tell the People We Love

Christmas sweaters
Orietta Gaspari/istockphoto

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Deliberately garish holiday sweaters are big business, but the companies behind these festive abominations say their garments are stuck at sea right now thanks to supply-chain snarls, like so many other imported goods. Sweater makers say it's especially frustrating since demand is expected to be robust, with festive folks returning in droves to holiday parties after staying home last year.

Related: Funny Gag Gifts for All the Men In Your Life

Christmas tree farm at sunset

Real Christmas Trees

Like pumpkins, Christmas trees are likely to be in shorter supply thanks to climate issues and other factors. Tree farmers in the Pacific Northwest, where many of the nation’s live trees are grown, have seen this year’s crops heavily damaged by excessive heat and drought. Farmers also pulled back on how many trees they planted after the Great Recession, which means fewer trees are maturing in general. 

Related: The Best Christmas Ornaments for Vintage and Nostalgia Lovers

Sale of many artificial Christmas trees in green, purple and white at a decor store. The sale of a variety of artificial Christmas trees

Artificial Christmas Trees

If you’re like most Americans, a shortage of live trees may not impact you as much since you’re opting for an artificial tree. Well, we hope you already have one at the ready, because fake trees aren’t escaping holiday shortages. Some trees may sell out early, reports The Wall Street Journal, while others could sell at as much as a 25% premium as retailers pass along higher shipping costs that stem from congested ports.  

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candel of advent wreath burning in front of festive christmas tree

Other Holiday Decorations

From harvest wreaths to ornaments and garland, other festive decor will also be impacted by shipping snags, industry officials say. Balsam Hill’s supply of ornaments, for instance, is down by half this year, the company tells CNN. Decorations are largely imported from China, and the majority of those items have been caught in unprecedented shipping delays. 

Related: The Most Beloved Christmas Collectibles

Xbox Series X

Gaming Consoles

The newest video-game console is always high on kids’ holiday wish lists, so parents should take note: Newer models, including the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, may not be any easier to find this year than they were last year, when they were newly released. The major issue: A shortage of microchips, thanks to both supply issues and increased demand, which is roiling several industries, including the automotive industry. Toshiba, which builds many of the consoles’ components, says things may not be back to normal until 2023. 

Related: Gifts That Sparked Black Friday Insanity

Lego boxes on shelves


Don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet if your child isn’t a gamer. Other toys are getting caught up in supply-chain problems as well. As with holiday decor, many toys are manufactured in China, and they’re taking longer — and costing far more — to get to store shelves, CNN reports. Smaller toy companies will likely be particularly hard hit, but even major manufacturers will likely be raising prices to help compensate for increased costs. 

Related: Toy Fads That Drove Grown-Ups Crazy

Samsung Flat 75-Inch QLED 8K Q900 Series Ultra HD Smart TV with HDR


For many shoppers, Black Friday and the holiday shopping season means the chance to snag a shiny new TV for bottom dollar. However, the same microchip shortage that is affecting gaming consoles may mean consumers don’t have the dizzying array of choices that they’re used to in this category, or that those holiday deals aren’t quite as sweet as in years past.