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It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and I am rubbing my hands together in glee, anticipating turkey, dressing, a zillion sides, maybe a slice of pie or cake if I have room. And the next few weeks are packed with holidays. Maybe you’ll celebrate with the lights from a tree twinkling brightly in the background and presents piled underneath. 

Wait…what? It might be difficult to have all of that? All of my favorites? Any of them? But why?

It’s called the supply chain. We memorably became acquainted with the supply chain in 2020 when we couldn’t find Lysol or toilet paper in the grocery store. At its simplest, a supply chain is a path that has to be followed for an item to become a finished good you can purchase. Sometimes a supply chain is relatively short and involves only a few components; other times, a supply chain is more complicated (think airplane). What is true in most supply chains is that the components—be they few or many—come from individual suppliers, and that’s where the problems can arise.

The bad news is—as we have all learned—that the inability to acquire one item can break the supply chain for a specific product. Earlier in the year, furniture manufacturers were severely constrained because they could not obtain foam for the furniture they produced because a key chemical needed in the production came from Texas, and Texas had been devastated by a winter storm it experienced. The result? You’re not getting that furniture you ordered any time soon. Are you building a house? You’ve likely experienced long delays in obtaining exterior or interior fixtures for your house. 

And now it’s impacting the holidays. Turns out supply chains are still having serious issues. Supplies of certain food items such as meats and desserts are lower than usual. You might not be able to find your seasonal potent potable of choice. Maybe not even certain snacks, spices, drinks and even food for your cat. And if you can find it, it’s likely to cost more: turkey, dinner roll and cranberry prices are expected to be much higher than usual.

So now that I have thoroughly depressed you, what do you do?

  • Plan ahead—if you can buy your meat and other ingredients of choice when you see them, hopefully, you can still have the meal you planned. It may be too late for Thanksgiving, but you can still use this tactic for other upcoming holidays
  • Accept that you may spend more. Maybe this means fewer sides but one show-stopping entree or vice versa.
  • Shop around. It may be necessary to visit multiple stores to obtain what you need.
  • If you need food assistance, there are a number of options available: This is only one of many, and it serves 34 counties in NC.
  • Be creative and substitute. Your holiday meal is what you make of it. There isn’t a right answer to what we eat or how we celebrate. 

Whatever you eat, however you celebrate, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. For many of us, this may be the first time we have been able to celebrate with family or friends in over a year. That is certainly something to be thankful for.