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July 14, 2021

By Vanessa Nghiem

3 minutes read



“The best time to order holiday season products was Q2. The second best time is now.” – Promotional Marketing Proverb

It’s been a frustrating year and a half of delayed shipments due to the pandemic, and you’ve likely felt the effects. Rising prices, supply and stock shortages, longer production times, reduced freight capacity, labour shortage, and increased online shopping has led to a massive backlog that’s expected to extend into 2022. 

What does that mean for buying promotional merchandise for the holiday season? Whether your plans are for a small kit of gifts, or a large branded overseas order – problems are arising for both options. We interviewed Jennifer Carmichael, marketing manager at Boss Promotions with over 16 years of experience in the promotional products industry, to discuss some of the supply chain issues and shortages.

Jennifer, what’s going on with the delays?

“Never before has shipping from overseas been such a headache. Production times have been slower due to worker shortage, but things are improving in that area now. Shipping container shortages worldwide have created a huge backlog in shipping times and it’s not unusual for us to see our finished goods waiting 2-4 weeks before even getting onto a boat. And once it reaches the Canadian ports things aren’t much better, with backlogs with getting the containers onto trains and across the country.”  

What’s the best approach for overseas orders?

“Start talking to us NOW. Honestly, even when we commit to a certain timeline with our clients, at least 50% of the time something doesn’t go exactly as planned and we have to try our best with behind-the-scenes maneuvering to get orders to our clients on time. Whether that means paying extra to factories to work overtime or paying for expedited shipping, we try not to involve our clients in those occasional necessary steps – because we never pass on these additional costs to them. We try to always keep our promise of “No Surprise Costs”.”


Custom Knit – Whether you choose a whole “ugly” Christmas sweater, or go smaller with mittens or socks, nothing says the holidays quite like a snowflake design and funny expression to go with it! Get started on the design process today to make sure you have your goods with plenty of time to show them off all season long.

ugly holiday sweaters and socks

Electronics – Looking to put a festive or personal brand spin on electronics such as speakers, earbuds or wireless chargers? You might be surprised at the low minimums we can present for items in your custom brand colour, or with a fun all-over decoration.

electronics with festive prints


Because we rely on our trusted vendors for domestic orders, we have to rely on their supply chain – which of course is experiencing the same production and shipping woes as above.

Traditional items like blankets, winter drinkware and wellness items will go very quickly!

Products pictured: Heathered Fuzzy Fleece Blanket | Cork Ceramic Mug | Calm Gift Set

Pandemic or no pandemic, the holiday season has always been extremely busy for retail and our vendors in the promotional industry. Compounded with the supply chain disruption,it’s best to plan for the holiday season as early as possible to get first pick on products, and to get products in time for the holidays

Thinking of curating a gift kit for the holidays? See some of our past kits for inspiration!  

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