DENVER — Sitting with her two children, Shianna Yazzie asks a simple question every parent this time of year would like to know.
"What do you want for Christmas," Yazzie said.
Some of the gifts likely won’t fit in Santa’s sleigh.
"A horse," Yazzie's daughter said with excitement.
With the countdown to Christmas beginning, picking out the perfect gift may not be has easy as in years past.
Parents are hoping to bring smiles to the faces of their children, organizations are dedicated to helping families in need during the holiday season and some families are just trying to makes ends meet.
Some of the concerns for this holiday season begin with the supply chain. Lynn Milot is going into her 45th Christmas as the owner of Grandrabbits Toy Shoppe. For her, it's a joyful but also hectic time of the year.
"We usually do about 30% of our annual sales from Thanksgiving to Christmas. So, it is truly like running a marathon," Milot said.
This year, they’ll be facing an even bigger challenge brought on by pandemic-triggered supply chain problems that could impact their shelves.
"We have a 3,000 square foot warehouse that is packed. It doesn't necessarily have everything that we would want. For instance, there's a big shortage on die-cast right now," said Milot.
Die-cast car toys as well as some of the store's collector’s items are just two examples of disruptions across the board.
"These are Jellycats. They are an exclusive stuffed animal brand from London. They’re extremely popular, they sell out really fast and we normally have to buy them in extremely bulk quantities," one Grandrabbits Toy Shoppe employee said.
For some parents, shopping for the perfect present can come with added stress.
"Crying on Christmas morning is not good," said Amanda Walsh, who is beginning her search for gifts.
It's especially difficult if their child hasn’t put pen to paper for their list to Santa.
"I'm trying to go with things I know she likes and kind of expand upon those things. Like, she really loves to fly kites, so I might try and get her a kite. Don't tell her that," Walsh said.
For other parents, even with getting started early, they’ve already run into low stock items.
"I have ran into one thing and it's been stocked at a certain place, and I'm just saving up for it. So, hopefully, it's still there by the time I have enough money," said Jessica Starman, who was shopping with her daughter.
If not, the plan might have to change.
"Well, I suppose if it's not there, when I do earn enough money, then she's going to have to get something else, unfortunately. I suppose it's a good lesson. Santa maybe didn't get that memo or something, right?" Starman said.
Parents want to give their children everything they can, but sometimes they can't make it happen because of reasons outside of their control. Dr. Jason Seidel with the Colorado Center for Clinical Excellence says there’s a way to communicate that to children.
"In some ways, the less of a conversation you have as a parent, the better, in a particular way," Seidel said. "We call it mirroring where the child's like, 'Did I not get the shoes I was after?' and the parent can say something like, 'Oh, I'm so sorry.' Really simple, really brief, not a whole lot of elaboration. The more parents get into a conversation with their kids, often the more it's like quicksand that they're getting into."
Seidel said it's a good to take it easy on the tough love.
"You know, life is hard enough as it is, and when parents want to teach, you've got to be tough and deal with it. It often kind of just rubs salt in the wound, and we don't need salt when we're already getting the wounds," Seidel said.
Within all of the shopping frenzy, it’s easy to forget about families who are just stressed about putting food on the table. That’s where Warren Village comes in.
"You can imagine if you're a mom with one or two kids coming out of homelessness and struggling to really get your life on course, the thought of gifts in the holidays actually can be a very stressful time," said Ethan Hemming, president and CEO of Warren Village.
Warren Village provides affordable housing and workforce training for dozens of single parent families. During the holidays, they also ramp up their holiday shop.
"We bring together corporate supporters, individual supporters to be able to provide gifts for the kids and for the moms at this holiday time," Hemming said.
The help means the world to Yazzie and her daughter, who’d love to have that horse on Christmas morning.
"I feel like they are disappointed to a certain extent, but at the same time, they do see me waking up every single morning,' Yazzie said. "I'm tired, but I still manage to cook and clean and do everything I can by myself."
Two years ago, Yazzie was homeless. Since then, Christmas has come with bittersweet feelings.
"They come back from school a lot and they're like, "Well, my friend has Pop Its. My friend has this new toy and this new thing,' and I'm like, 'I'm sorry, I can't.' But I try to make it up for them with arts and crafts or just going outside a lot more," Yazzie said.
With the help of Warren Village and donations, she was able to make sure her children had gifts under the tree. Soon, she’ll be moving out to her own apartment.
"I'm hosting Christmas for the first time ever for my whole family in my new apartment. It's just really surreal to think about," Yazzie said.
It'll be a time for family, friends and loved ones. For Yazzie, supply chain problems will have little impact on her life because by her side are some of the happiest children you’ll ever meet.
Editor's Note: Denver7 360 stories explore multiple sides of the topics that matter most to Coloradans, bringing in different perspectives so you can make up your own mind about the issues. To comment on this or other 360 stories, email us at 360@TheDenverChannel.com. See more 360 stories here.