Source: Pixabay

The holiday shopping season is officially underway, and now, more than ever, shopping early is key.

Shopping during the COVID-19 era is an evolving endeavor for both retailers and consumers as local restrictions, public health guidance, and personal opinions continue to shift, and in some cases, clash. Halloween, Christmas, and all fall and winter holidays will be affected in countless ways, and the National Retail Federation (NRF) has launched a new consumer education campaign to help families adjust shopping habits called “New Holiday Traditions.” Ads will run across digital, social media, radio, and connected TV through mid-November.

“This is going to be a historic holiday season and while some memorable traditions may change, the tradition of retailers supporting their customers and their communities is stronger than ever,” comments NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “That is why we encourage consumers to adopt two new traditions this year — shop safe and shop early — so we can all celebrate a happy and healthy holiday. Retailers are prepared for an early start to the shopping season, offering discounts earlier to ensure consumers can find the gifts they want, in stock at the price they want to pay, delivered at the time they want to receive them.”

According to the NRF, November is historically the month in which most families begin their holiday shopping.

“In a year that has been full of uncertainty, we encourage consumers to avoid the last-minute stresses of the holiday season like long lines and shipping delays,” Shay says. “Retailers are ready with inventory and sales, and there’s no reason to wait until Thanksgiving weekend to kick off your gift shopping.”

Consumers seeking the best in this year’s toys and games are encouraged to check out the Toy Insider’s 15th Annual Holiday Gift Guide. The guide will appear in print with the November issue of Parents magazine, hitting newsstands beginning Oct. 5. The guide features nearly 160 toys in its print edition and more than 300 toys online from more than 110 toy companies.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.