The people's voice of reason

Tears & Laughter - Christmas is Not Trapped on a Ship Off the Coast of California

The White House cannot guarantee Christmas gifts will be available this year. It is warning that you many not get what you want. It has never occurred to me before to consider that the White House is responsible for the availability of Christmas gifts, but Americans are being advised by the government to do their Christmas shopping earlier than the usual early this year due to supply chain issues.

Approximately half of a million shipping containers carrying everything from fake snow to talking dolls are floating around just waiting to be unloaded and transported. This bottleneck in the supply line is one of the reasons we see prices steadily going up while shelves are remaining empty.

It is simple economics but difficult to see isn’t it? One of the many things I have always appreciated about America is its abundance. There may be arguments as to whether the abundance we have for a long time known in America comes with a certain amount of waste. But like most Americans, I am more comfortable having too much than having too little.

The supply chain issues is of course blamed on COVID, and that is followed by there being shortage of workers to unload the containers off of ships and a shortage of truck drivers to transport the goods across the country. If the shipments were arriving at stores, there is shortage of retail employees put them on store shelves. There is a whole other scope of explanation concerning why there is such a shortage of employees across of sectors.

To listen to the news you would think some people are damn near considering canceling Christmas entirely this year – just like last. Except this year it won’t be because of COVID. This year it will be because apparently everything you need to make Christmas merry and bright is currently trapped in the Pacific Ocean.

It is bad. Nobody can look at the aerial photos and pretend it is not.

President Biden is slow-rolling out a plan to help. Ports have started operating around the clock. The ports of Miami are motioning ships their way in an effort to also help ease the shortage. Some estimates suggest in may be early 2023 before the supply line is back to normal. Whatever normal will be by then.

I think they may be wrong. Not about the pandemic or the supply line or the reasoning or the severity. We all believe that. We can all sense when we go to stores that something is very off from what we have grown to expect. But joy is not trapped in a shipping container on a barge outside a port in California. Not one box of happiness is waiting to be unloaded and trucked to any address in the country.

Christmas for the most part is a feeling.

There are several recipes for it.

Some can be as simple as just getting yourself a big ham or making a pot of soup, and inviting in a couple of relatives, or friends, or neighbors, or even a couple of strangers stranded. Be kind, pause together, start to exchange memories…and it will begin to feel like Christmas.

Solving the supply line problem is important. It needs to be a priority, but it won’t save Christmas. It may be closer to the truth to say it is the spirit of Christmas that saves us.

Maybe this year many will find what they want for Christmas has been with them all along.

Amanda Walker is a columnist and contributor with, The Birmingham News, Selma Times Journal, Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Alabama Gazette. Contact her at or at


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