Simplify Your Christmas

Don’t let the Supply Chain Grinch steal this season’s joy
By Kent Singer, CREA Executive Director

There have been many stories in the news recently describing how the U.S. supply chain for consumer goods is broken: ports jammed, ships parked at sea, trucks idled for lack of drivers. The supply chain problems are not only interfering with everyday commerce, but they’re also causing folks to be concerned about how the Christmas holidays will be impacted. Some recent headlines tell the story:

“Christmas At Risk as Supply Chain Disaster Only Gets Worse”

“How the Global Supply Chain Might Ruin Christmas”

“Christmas Lights Need a Supply Chain Miracle”

Now, I enjoy giving and receiving Christmas gifts as much as anyone, but perhaps we need to adjust our expectations this holiday season. Maybe we should embrace this supply chain hiccup as an opportunity, not a problem. Maybe, just maybe, we should rethink how we celebrate Christmas (or any other holiday you celebrate this time of year).

You know you’re going to procrastinate this year just like every year and start looking for a present for your wife or significant other on December 24. Remember, there’s a supply chain problem and the pickings that have always been slim on December 24 will be nonexistent this year.

Here’s a suggestion. Instead of a gift, tell your wife/SO that you’re taking care of Christmas dinner this year. Yes, that means the menu planning, the shopping, the cooking (including the figgy pudding), the serving, the cleanup — the whole enchilada.

Hopefully, you’ll be hosting 10 or fewer people, but you’re in no matter what: the only role your wife will play is to refill your wine glass and be your gravy consultant. And before you even go there, reservations at The Olive Garden do not count. I guarantee this will be a better gift than that talking reindeer Christmas sweater you bought at Home Depot last year.

If your husband/SO follows through on the gift described above well, first, it should restore your faith in Christmas miracles. Second, your part of the bargain is this: He gets to spend the afternoon of Christmas Day in front of the TV watching not one but two NFL games.

The Broncos aren’t playing that day, but some actual playoff contenders will be featured (apologies, Broncos fans): the Cleveland Browns against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field and the Indianapolis Colts against the Arizona Cardinals. (I pray for a snowstorm at Lambeau; really, is there anything more entertaining than watching those cheddar-helmeted Packers fans root for their boys fighting it out on the frozen tundra while you enjoy a hot cocoa on the couch?)

Kudos to you if you are a little more ambitious on Christmas Day and plan to do a little ice climbing or skijoring (gotta love Colorado), but it’s just fine if you want to limit your aerobic activity to yelling at Terry Bradshaw. Ladies, you might even interrupt his nap, er, the game, with a turkey sandwich around 3 p.m. Best. Christmas. Ever.

Try to keep your wish list to a minimum this year. Honestly, you have enough stuff already. Your parents also don’t need much from you other than your promise to put away the screens for one 12-hour period. There’s nothing on Instagram that won’t wait a day and there are no text messages from friends that are as important as talking to your siblings and parents.

You also might think about whether you have a neighbor who needs to have their walk shoveled or someone to take them to the grocery store. Or maybe you could spend a few hours serving meals at a local church or homeless shelter. Doing something for someone else will be the best gift you give yourself.

So, there’s no reason to let the Supply Chain Grinch steal your Christmas this year. After all, Christmas is not about the latest iPhone — it’s about getting together with friends and family and celebrating the simple joys of the season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at CREA and your local electric cooperative!

Kent Singer is the executive director of CREA and offers a statewide perspective on issues affecting electric cooperatives. CREA is the trade association for your electric co-op, the 21 other electric co-ops in Colorado and its power supply co-op.