As we’re sure you’ve seen the bare store shelves and backed up ships in American ports, the country has been going through some supply chain issues the past few months.

The problem is global in scale and has led to stress about being able to put presents under the Christmas tree. However, there is something each of us can do to make it through these supply chain woes — shop local.

This global supply chain squeeze has hit the national big box stores the worst, while local businesses, selling everything from handmade jewelry to toys to baked goods, have been less affected.

Stores that source their products in America, or better yet in Colorado, are more insulated from supply chain issues. They could keep the shelves stocked, while the big chains struggle.

This also provides an opportunity to give out thoughtful and unique gifts. Do you want to give your family a mass produced item that will be under millions of Christmas trees this year or a one-of-a-kind gift that captures their unique personality?

We’re lucky to live in a community with an abundance of talented artists and craftspeople. Visit a local gallery and you are sure to cross at least a couple of names off your list. Perhaps a bottle of Colorado grown and produced wine would satisfy a loved one this year.

This is also a way to think beyond the simple physical objects we often shop for and consider gifting an experience. Gift certificates to local restaurants are a great option, as are tickets to a local concert.

In addition to being different from the usual gifts found at big box stores, the money used to purchase local gifts stays in the local economy. It will help a locally owned business stay open and employ our neighbors. It will get reinvested and help our overall economy grow.

If, for whatever reason, even a locally purchased gift won’t do, there’s also always a handmade gift, which comes with extra significance. Many of us have developed new skills or spent time on new hobbies since the start of the pandemic. This is a great way to avoid those supply chain issues, while giving a meaningful present to a loved one.

After last holiday season, before the COVID-19 vaccines were available, the gift of being able to more safely gather together might be enough for some. This is the first time in nearly two years that many families, spread across the country, have been able to travel to celebrate the holidays together.

While we know that supply chain issues and slow shipping are driving up stress and anxiety, now is a good time to take a breath and recognize this is still in our hands. We might not be able to get that exact plastic toy or piece of electronics our relative was hoping for, but we’ll make it through.

In the end, our loved ones are less likely to remember those pieces of disposable consumer products than a handmade card, a funky piece of local art and finally getting together after two crazy years.