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If you will have holiday shopping to do this year, you need to get started on it now. Manufacturers and store owners are saying there will be shortages.

There are labor problems, problems with container ships that can’t be offloaded in ports, trucks that can’t deliver the goods, material supply-chain problems ... you get the picture.

Here are two suggestions to keep gift-buying simpler this year: toys and books.

TOYS — If you have small children to buy for, shop now. Manufacturers of many of the most popular toys are saying that they’ve seen shortages of required materials on a global scale. Try local toy stores for items they have in stock now.

BOOKS — Call your library and ask for age-appropriate suggestions for young children. Then, list in hand, call your local bookstore. Ask if they have in stock what you need. If you can actually go to the store and pick up the books curbside, you’re ahead of the game.

Otherwise try ordering online, but look for things already in stock. For teens and adults, consider buying them a Kindle, an e-book reader available on Amazon. (I’ve had three different versions of Kindle since 2016 and truly appreciate the way I can order a book and have it appear on my e-reader within minutes.)

A new Kindle, a $15 case and a $50 gift certificate for e-books would be welcome gifts for readers. Check the delivery dates of the various Kindle colors. Some are available immediately; others aren’t. When it comes to online shopping, experts advise ordering items that are as close to home as possible, not across oceans.

Beware of local shipping delays as well. Gone are the days of always receiving boxes in just a few days. If you order something online, track it, and follow up with a phone call if necessary.

Senior News Line © 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.

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