Online or in person, the after-Christmas sales can be worth the trip – and not just for extra wrapping paper. This is your chance to replenish the gift closet and to find good deals on items for your home or yourself.
You can save 50% or more on “evergreen” presents such as gloves, slippers, watches, picture frames, scarves, toys, candles, pajamas and spa sets. Last year I saw snowflake-print flannel sheets for half off.
Replenish your own cupboards with candles, bakeware, small appliances, dishes, napkins, dishtowels, paper towels, plastic wrap and bags. Sure, most will have holiday prints – but who cares? Holiday chocolates can be frozen and used for brown bag lunches over the next few months.
Calendars go on sale in January – these make good gifts for those with January birthdays. Specialty food baskets are being remaindered right now, and some of them – spices, teas, barbecue sauce, gourmet jams – are shelf-stable enough to keep for Valentine’s Day or spring birthdays.
Stocking up on stocking stuffers
I’ve got all the wrapping paper I need for probably two years. Christmas cards, too. Even so, I still want to hit the sales when I return to Seattle. It’s likely I won’t get to the store until Wednesday, because I’m traveling on Monday and have a deadline to meet on Tuesday.
But I’m going to stick my head in at Walgreens (I got gift cards for Christmas!) and Target, both of which are within walking distance. I’ll get a round-trip walk of about 2.5 miles and, maybe, some deeply discounted stuff for birthdays and/or next Christmas.
Last year I scored coloring books for 12 cents and a couple of toys for about $3 each.
I also picked up several “Baby’s First Christmas” outfits for 49 cents each from the final clearance bin at Target. This year I gave them away to a young mom I’ll probably never meet; I found her via an online swap site.
A few tips from savvy shoppers:
- Set an absolute limit for what you can spend. If you’re afraid you’ll go over it, bring cash and leave the cards at home.
- Inventory what you have, so you don’t end up with more ribbon than you could ever use.
- With regard to clearance clothing: The sale is probably final, so don’t buy it unless you’re sure you’ll wear it.
One more thing: Look for toys and gift items to give away in next year’s gift drives. Or use them for stealthy acts of kindness during the year.