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Don't wait until Black Friday to knock out your holiday shopping this year. Those who do will likely encounter supply-chain shortages, inflated prices and shipping delays.
Popular electronics and toys are expected to be most heavily impacted. Small-business owner Thea Brown told us that she's grateful that she stocked her quirky Richmond, Va., toy shop, World of Mirth, early: "We have several vendors, including one of our largest suppliers, that have stopped taking orders for the year. That has never happened before."
The retail giants will face shortages in these areas too. Here's our list of 10 gifts on Amazon that you should nab now, before Black Friday hits, to avoid delays. You'll find some sales in the mix too, since Amazon's early Black Friday deals are already under way!
And if you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (Even those without Prime get free shipping on orders of $25 or more).
The smartwatch: Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch
Give the gift of good health (and timeliness) to a loved one this holiday. Amazon's No. 1 bestselling smartwatch, the Fitbit Versa 2, tracks heart rate, sleep, swimming, steps and so much more. It also stores and plays music, connects with phone messaging and even offers voice-activated support from Alexa. Small and large bands are included.
My husband adores the one I bought him, and he's not the only one. With well over 90,000 five-star ratings on Amazon alone, this glorified watch has improved countless wearers' lives.
"All the lovable features, none of the hassle," wrote one happy shopper. "I love the accuracy of the sleep tracker, step counter, and heart rate monitor! As a former Charge 2 user, this thing is loaded with extra bells and whistles, like Alexa built-in (SUPER CONVENIENT), ability to control Spotify/Pandora, cuts out the 'middle man' i.e, your phone, when it comes to tracking water intake, female calendar, as you can log all this info right from your wrist."
The smart speaker: Echo Dot (4th Gen)
A smarter home is within reach. With the Echo Dot (4 Gen), one simply has to voice their needs: "Hey, Alexa, how many days til Black Friday?" "Hey, Alexa, play dance music." It even connects to other smart home devices, so you can command it to switch lights off and on, lock doors and adjust thermostats. Plus, it has privacy controls.
This clock Dot is especially great for the nightstand. Set your alarm with a few words and shut it off with a light tap. It's already garnered over 120,500 five-star ratings and No. 1 bestseller status on Amazon!
One fan wrote, "A big Improvement from the third-generation Echo Dot. It has true surround sound. The LED clock on the front is very bright, and displays the time in standard and military time...The sound quality is a real improvement. You can hear channels, lows, midrange, and highs...It will surprise you with how powerful it is for its size. The microphone is an upgrade also. It's very sensitive, and can hear you practically whisper across the room..." Want a bedtime story? It will "read to you from your Kindle books, and Audible acct."
Don't snooze on this Dot. It's a popular one.
The tablet: 2021 Apple 10.2-inch iPad (Wi-Fi, 64GB)
Everybody and their cousin wants Apple's latest iPad. Released this fall, the mighty 2021 Apple iPad (ninth gen) currently reigns as the No. 1 bestselling computer tablet on Amazon. Thanks to its A13 bionic chip, this speedy wonder boasts bold and beautiful graphics on it's 10.2-inch retina display. It has an extra-wide front cam, a wide rear cam and 64GB storage. (Need even more storage? Go with the 265GB model.)
One impressed shopper reported: "This is such a great value. The graphics, sound and speed of this device is better than any tablet we've ever used before."
The vac: iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum
Make someone's year with a housekeeping service they can use daily. The app-enabled, self-charging iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum sucks up all the dirt, dust and hair lingering on floors, carpets and even in the corners — all by its lonesome. This smart vac auto-adjusts to carpet heights and levels of dirt and navigates with ease (it won't tumble down the stairs, either). You can even train it to work on a schedule. And it's on sale now for $245 (was $300)
As Amazon's No. 1 best-selling vacuum, it has over 75,400 five-star ratings. "Love, love, love this Roomba!" wrote one happy owner. "We have three cats and it picks up all the cat hair. We have all wood and tile floors with some scatter rugs. It does a great job cleaning on all surfaces...We are seniors and it is so nice to sit in our recliners and have the Roomba do its job. Another plus is that it will connect to our Echo Dot and so all we have to do is say "Alexa, start the Roomba." Now if they make a model that can cook, we will be the first to buy it! LOL."
The pressure cooker: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1
Simplify dinner prep for your fave cook with the No. 1 bestselling electric pressure cooker on Amazon: the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1. This famous kitchen gadget has seven key functions: rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, yogurt maker, sauté pan, steamer and warmer. The Duo is loaded with safety features and has overheat protection so you can let it do it's thing worry-free.
One of its 114,600 five-star fans wrote: "I use this for everything! How did I live without this before???...I've been making a lot of stews, and I'll sauté the onions, carrots, and meat...then add everything else, seal it, and set it for 7 minutes on high pressure. I let it release naturally and have a perfectly cooked, tasty meal every time. This gives me enough for 4 or 5 servings...I've even baked banana bread in it!!!"
The Instant Pot Duo starts at just $70 for the three-quart model, which is the ideal size for smaller families with up to three bellies.
The printer cam: Kodak Printomatic Digital Instant Print Camera
Instant-print cameras have made quite a comeback, and you'll find them with a wide range of features in so many sizes and styles. The best seller of the digital bunch on Amazon now: the $50 Kodak Printomatic Digital Instant Print Camera. This point-and-shoot automatically kicks out fun little 2-by-3-inch peel-and-stick prints. No messy cartridges or toner necessary. Plus they come in six nifty, ultra-gifty hues.
One five-star fan wrote, "Great gift for teenage daughter! She loves it!...Takes it everywhere. It has the capability of a micro SD Card — so you can save photos and have them developed through Shutterfly, etc."
The fidget toy: Shashibo Shape-Shifting Box
Stuff anyone's stocking with this! The three-dimensional Shashibo fidget cube is popular with kids of all ages, including over 10,100 five-star reviewers on Amazon. Made with 36 rare earth magnets, the Amazon Launchpad No. 1 bestseller can morph into 70-plus different shapes — and if you combine a few of them together, the possibilities are endless. It's available solo in 12 patterns and also in bundles of two or four.
"Great unusual toy," said one fan, "It's beautiful, well made, and geometrically interesting. The magnetic planes have a very nice feel to them, as they're moved around into different shapes. There's nothing quite like this toy; easy enough for older children to enjoy, intriguing and beautiful for adults to manipulate. It's not so much a puzzle per se, but once you make a couple of changes to the geometry, it will take some time and some experimenting to get it back into cube shape again."
The blind box:
Kids love blind boxes, and this one's megapopular. A No. 1 bestseller on Amazon with over 19,300 five-star ratings, Mini Brands are beloved by microplay fans and dollhouse lovers alike. Peel each capsule to reveal four surprise Mini Brand items and one shopping accessory.
Said one parent: "One of the containers had a super rare Pe dispenser, which apparently made my 10-year-old child’s life complete."
The holiday doll:
Holiday Barbie in her glamorous gown is all the rage on Amazon right now — and she's the retailer's No. 1 bestselling doll. A favored gift for generations, the 12-inch Barbie makes big impact for the low price of $35 (was $40). She comes dressed to the nines with silvery earrings, red lips, high heels, and carefully styled blonde, dark brown or black hair. (Ages six and up.)
For one shopper, it's "a yearly tradition." They went on: "Been giving our daughter one of these at Christmas since she was a kid..she's 34 now!"
The cozy slipper:
"A season of shivers" is predicted this year by the Old Farmer's Almanac, which could very well mean another run on fuzzy Ugg slippers come Black Friday. The very highly rated (4.8-star!) UGG Women's Scuffette Ii Leopard Slipper is currently available in seven colors, sizes 5 to 12. The 100 percent suede slipper lined with warm sheep fur is sure to make those toesies cozy!
"As a realtor, I spend many hours a day on my feet with heels on," reported one grateful shopper. "Sliding my feet into these slippers was like walking on a cloud. They are incredibly comfortable and keep my feet warm and cozy. I look forward to getting home at the end of the day to take my shoes off and put them on. They are pricey but worth every penny and we’re true to fit...Am planning to purchase a few pair to give them to family for Christmas presents."
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
Looking for more great Amazon deals? Check these out:
Headphones and earbud deals:
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, $100 (was $150), amazon.com
Video game deals:
Motorola Moto G Stylus, $270 (was $300), amazon.com
Smart home deals:
Kasa Smart Plug HS103P2, $13 (was $20), amazon.com
Kasa Full Color Smart LED Bulb, $10 (was $22), amazon.com
Deenkee DK600MAX Robot Vacuum, $150 (was $200), amazon.com
Shark Rotator ZU632, $328 (was $380), amazon.com
Herou Womens Mock Turtleneck, $15 (was $29), amazon.com
Ouges Women's Open Front Cardigan, $20 (was $29), amazon.com
Ultrean 8.5 Quart Air Fryer, $90 (was $130), amazon.com
Airpro Pasta Maker Attachment, $72 (was $128), amazon.com
Handcraft Grapeseed Oil, $14 (was $19), amazon.com
Shark HE601 Air Purifier, $300 (was $450), amazon.com
Lemomo Grey Blackout Curtains, $35 (was $44), amazon.com
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