Get your Christmas shopping done early amid supply issues, Ottawa toy stores say

Santa and his elves may need a little bit of help this Christmas. 

As experts are warning that the pandemic and supply-chain issues may cause shortages on store shelves this upcoming holiday season, Ottawa toy stores are gearing up, and suggesting that those who normally wait until the last minute should shop early.

Patricia Desrosiers is already thinking of buying Christmas gifts for her grandchildren.

“Probably by Halloween. I like to get it done before the middle of November,” she tells CTV News Ottawa outside of a big-box store on Baseline Road. “I actually talked to my daughter a couple of weeks ago, giving me some ideas now, so I can get things done now before there’s nothing come a week before Christmas.”

She’s trying to get ahead of a potential toy shortage this Christmas.

“We’re also seeing increased demand,” says Grayson Doherty, store manager of Toys on Fire in Barrhaven. “The shipping from our international manufactures, where most toys come from—they’re seeing, I guess, manufacturing capacity problems.”

Doherty says that the holiday retail season is important to his store. They have tried to prepare.

“We did plan in advance a little bit; we saw this coming. We’ve been buying as much as we can, but we don’t know if the inventory is going to hold out.”

Patty Taggart of Tag Along Toys on Bank Street says supply shortages are already being felt. 

“I did some planning, I have to say that I did get some items in early; but, anything that’s coming now, I’m getting sometimes one-eighth the order, half the order, three quarters of an order - it’s not all coming.”

SHOP FOR WINTER TIRES EARLY, TOO

With Christmas comes winter and cold temperatures and that means it’s time for winter tires.

“Supply is going to be a little bit more difficult,” says Sandro Gaiccone of Frisby Tire on Clyde Ave. “Not a lot of the manufactures have a great selection of tires; there is a selection in every size right now, but I’d recommend booking early because some of the sizes are limited.”

CHRISTMAS TREES ARE BACK AT THE ROYAL OTTAWA

If you’re looking for a natural Christmas tree for those gifts—which you bought early—the Royal Ottawa has increased its order this fall.

“We are definitely ready. We confirmed our tree order. Our trees come from Nova Scotia—they’re balsam firs and they’re absolutely beautiful—and we confirmed that order months ago,” says Annemarie Nicholson, director of volunteer services at the Royal. “We’ve increased our order by over 10 per cent this year because our sales were just so out-of-this-world, last season.”

The trees are sold as part of a fundraising effort to support patient care at the Royal, and Nicholson says will be on sale as of Nov. 27.