What to Buy at the After-Christmas Sales

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It’s OVER.

For many, waving goodbye to visitors and cleaning up the tattered gift wrap is a relief. The stress is over and so is the pressure to spend money on frivolous items.

If you have room in your budget, now is the best time to save money for next Christmas.

There are bargains to be had.

After the holidays, there are lots of items that go on sale which you could add to your stockpiles or save for the following Christmas.

  • Giftwrap: You can buy this at a HUGE discount. Save the Christmassy stuff for next year, and be on the lookout for wrapping paper that will work for non-seasonal gift-giving. Solid colors, shiny multicolored foil, stripes, and polka dots, checks, and plaids can all work well for wrapping presents throughout the year.
  • Paper goods: We always stock up on things like Kleenex, paper towels, napkins, paper plates, disposable flatware, and plastic cups. These things are very handy during a short-term power outage when washing dishes might be a problem. We don’t worry about the festive designs. A tissue is a tissue is a tissue.
  • Greeting Cards: I know that many frugal folks make their own greeting cards (or skip them altogether) but some of us, myself included, just love mailing cards to the people we care about who live far away. I have picked up some gorgeous cards just after Christmas that aren’t overly Christmassy. I have found some with winter scenes and blank insides, some that say “Winter wishes” which would be good for several more months, a beautiful set with sheet music on the front and a quote about music inside, some that say “Missing You Right Now” – shop carefully and you may find some that work for you as all-purpose greetings. You can also pick up next year’s batch of cards on a dime.
  • Bags of bows: If you enjoy wrapping presents and topping them with a perky bow, now’s the time to pick up a year’s supply at a fraction of the price.
  • Gift sets: Do you have a gift closet? It can save you an absolute fortune over the course of the year. After Christmas, I go to the area where the gift baskets are marked down and pick up beautifully boxed candles, bath products, kitchen items, foods, and other items. I keep these put away for occasions when I need to give a gift. Sometimes I repackage the items in a way that looks less Christmas-y.
  • Christmas decorations: If you buy Christmas trees and ornaments AFTER Christmas, you’ll get them for pennies on the dollar.
  • Winter décor items: Some of our favorite wintery plaid blankets and sweater-knit pillows were purchased right after Christmas at deep discounts. Look for things featuring snowmen, cardinals, plaids, winter scenes, and sweater knits.
  • Candles: Gift items like scented candles often go on sale after Christmas, as well as unscented tea lights. I get nearly all my candles for the entire year during the last week of December.
  • Winter clothes: Need coats, mittens, and hats? Post-Christmas is the best time to get them. Retailers mark down all sorts of cold weather attire to move it after the holidays. Look for cozy pajamas, slippers, and those heavy socks with the non-slip bottoms too.
  • Games, Puzzles, and Toys: These popular gifts are often dramatically reduced after the holidays. Hang on to them for birthdays or even next Christmas.
  • Stocking stuffers: Lots of things that are sold as stocking stuffers are the perfect size for travel or to supply your guest room. When my kids were little, I used to buy inexpensive little games and toys to keep in the trunk of the car in case boredom set in and we needed some kind of new distraction on a long trip.
  • Stationary: Not only can you find greeting cards on sale, but you can also find winter-themed paper, notepads, journals, pens, and pencils on sale.
  • Craft supplies: Don’t be put off by all the holiday colors. If you have kids, stock up on craft supplies after Christmas when they go on sale. Remember, Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s day aren’t that far away, so you’ll be able to put the reds and greens to good use. You may also be able to find crafting kits for adults too, like cross-stitch supplies and yarn.

Don’t forget the food.

Don’t forget holiday-related foods while you are bargain shopping. Lots of manufacturers package candies, crackers, and cookies with a holiday theme. Your red and green candies will be just as tasty an addition to cookies as the standard M&Ms.

You can often find the following grocery items on sale after Christmas.

  • Cookies
  • Desserts
  • Holiday-themed dessert mixes
  • Candy
  • Turkey
  • Hame
  • Stuffing mix
  • Cranberries
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Canned goods like green beans, pumpkin, pineapple, and sweet potatoes
  • French-fried onions
  • Citrus fruit
  • Butter
  • Frozen appetizers
  • Egg nog

Check the deli for marked-down party platters full of meat, cheese, fruits, and veggies.

You can also often find holiday-themed goods like zip-lock bags, “disposable” plastic food containers (we use these over and over), cellophane bags, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap.

What do you buy at the after-Christmas sales?

Are there any things you look for every year that I didn’t mention here? Share them in the comments!

What to Buy at the After-Christmas Sales
Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is an author and blogger. She's the single mom of two daughters and credits extreme frugality and a good sense of humor for her debt-free lifestyle. She is the author of numerous books, the editor of TheOrganicPrepper.com, and is the founder of a small digital publishing company in the emergency preparedness niche.

18 thoughts on “What to Buy at the After-Christmas Sales”

  1. Thank you, Daisy! All are great to keep in mind on a budget as I am. The meat and cheeae platters! I use the cheese, doesn’t matter what kind, to make homemade mac & cheese. It adds an extra layer of flavor. The meat, depending on what kind, gets thrown in a casserole or soup.

  2. Yes, this year we had a big thank goodness it’s over feeling, which means I’ll do it differently next year. Sometimes I shop the sales for those stocking stuffers or gift sets. But mostly I find it too stressful with the kids. I found that the day after or a few days past mother’s Day the gift sets are so damn cheap , same for father’s Day without the crowds and not so Christmas themed. Last year I got gifts sets for $2.00 that were originally $15 each . I try to have $20 to spend. They make great birthday, thank you gifts , Christmas gifts and sometimes a pamper gift for a friend doing it tough, usually with an inspirational card to hang in there and I’ll come watch the kids whilst they make a coffee and run a bath or pamper break time.

    1. Christmas gift items, such as gift boxes of perfume or toiletries, can be bought post Christmas and used for Valentine’s, birthdays/anniversaries, Mother’s Day or (young lady’s) graduation gifts. Look for packages that don’t have too much Christmas-y decorations, or ones that can be repackaged in, say, a gift basket. Gift sets for men can be saved for Father’s Day or a young man’s graduation or birthday. Gifts for the home may make good wedding or housewarming presents. Red (or pink) items — including candies — are good for Valentines and green items can be saved for St. Patrick’s.

  3. While I agree about stocking up on paper products & decorations & some craft items, I try to get seasonal instead of holiday. Though I reccomend going day after Christmas because 2 days later, not much left. You also forgot holiday themed clothing. Especially pjs that can be used for most anytime. As far as outerwear, that doesn’t go on sale until march/april. We live in midwest/northern part of country & have winter for 4 months, so snowflake/snowman/winter is going to get me through longer than santa. I do buy holiday candies & put out/in containers that are in Christmas bags. Week between Christmas & new years are usually year end clearance to get additional discounts on other items so that new products can be put out.
    I disagree about some of your food thoughts though. I find (adleast where we live) meats (Turkey, prime rib/roasts) are cheapest before (in ads) as well as veggies & fruits. Some prepackage deli items may be cheaper immediately after new years but that’s it. That’s why my food budget is higher in November preparing for sales/stocking up.
    Storage solutions & springtime decor already being put out right after Christmas.
    January & February has become basics only month unless need to replace tv.

  4. Great ideas for after Christmas sales.

    Sometimes these items will also be at the dollar stores (at a discount off full price) as they often resale over stock items…

    You can also turn most gift wrap inside out and use the white underside…

  5. Spices! Whole cloves and cinnamon stick in particular, which I simmer in a pot on the stove or atop the kerosene heater ( makes the house smell yummy and along with bay leaves and rosemary, helps to cleanse the air as well).
    I don’t care if the paper goods are Christmas themed, when you need them you will be glad to have them!
    Our deli has precooked hams and turkeys marked down half price right now, $10 or less, yes I grabbed one of each!

  6. Daisy, you posted a similar article last year somewhere, I believe, and I finally took your advice and shopped the sales—and I’m so glad I did! I got wrapping paper, bows, and holiday themed items for dirt cheap; plus, this year we were much more careful about going shopping in big crowds, so I know I wouldn’t have made an extra trip just for the “extra” stuff like wrapping paper. It was so nice to know I had that beautiful wrapping paper to feel good about, with everything else feeling so crummy this year—it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it made a difference for me and cheered me up 🙂 Thank you! Your advice last year made my pandemic Christmas brighter.

  7. My mother taught me that after-Christmas sales were the best time to buy almost everything. I made a list of what I wish I had for Christmas many years ago & went about finding those things over the years. One big ticket item was to find really quality Holiday linens which could only be bought at high-end stores. I now have a set of beautiful linen Christmas table cloths for 3 different sized tables, with 24 matching napkins, as well as a set of 20 reversible table place mats & 6 table runners of various sizes & designs. Another big purchase was to purchase large & expensive holiday centerpieces for our fireplaces & tables. It was amazing how beautiful these additions are & how extremely inexpensive they were when bought after Christmas.

  8. Daisy, The Ravishing Mrs. TB used to go exactly as you have said – and you can indeed get great deals on seasonal items. That said, with the changes in our family (children growing up, overall gift giving group shrinking) we now have enough Christmas supplies to last us into the next century.

    The candles I had not thought of – but yes, great idea.

  9. Pick up bulk nuts in the shell. They have big boxes of them in the stores . They keep well for prepping . You can watch tv and crack nuts to freeze or use. Nuts are extremely healthy for you! I scored papers for 1.00 a roll with wrapped presents and or stripes . long length rolls for big packages and shorter for smaller packages. Bah Humbug herself has stopped using bows to save money. JR

    1. The fronts of old Christmas cards make really nice gift decorations and they won’t get smushed like bows.

  10. Daisy, I have some distant cousins who are Greek. They celebrate the Greek Orthodox Christmas sometime after New Year’s — in January. I also have Latinix friends whose children get gifts from the Three Wise Men (instead of Santa) on Jan. 6. And they all buy a lot of their Christmas items and gifts after Dec. 25! When it’s on sale! If you have a job, such as sales clerk, that has you working long hours up to closing time Christmas Eve, you might consider postponing some of the festivities until later. It might make the holiday a bit less hectic. And travel (after the pandemic is over) would also be cheaper on non-holiday weekends or whatever.

  11. I don’t really participate in the after Christmas sales, except for when Hallmark puts their ornaments on sale. I buy the ‘mom, son, dad’ ornaments for our tree. My mother started collecting Hallmark keepsake ornaments back in the 80’s and those family ones have always been a standard purchase. However…like the price of everything, those ornaments have gotten expensive, which is why I wait until they’re 50% off.
    Maybe I will peruse Target’s website but because of work commitments, and also health concerns, my shopping gets done online at home.

  12. I have always shopped for Christmas stuff after Christmas, and traditionally, Christmas ornaments are marked down 70% on Boxing Day. This year, the best discounts to be had were 30% off, even for things you would never use at any other time of year, like Christmas crackers (the kind you pull, not the kind you eat!) Signs of the times, I suppose. A lot of stores ran out of Christmas trees and ornaments even before Christmas.

  13. Last year I bought gift sets which saved me a ton of money throughout the year. This year I did most of my post-holiday shopping at the grocery store. I snagged bags of frozen vegetables that have gone directly into my dehydrators. Turkeys on deep discount will go into canning jars. Non-food items I picked up will work for other holidays. I found some red holiday tins that will work great for filling with treats for Valentine’s Day. If we get creative, we can save a bundle and still work on stocking up for lean times.

  14. I stock up on plain red paper napkins….usable for 4 holidays during the year. Green would be good for 2 holidays.

    Also, thrift shops have holiday decorations.

  15. One more thing to add to this list: NUTS. For baking, or nuts in the shell. In-shell nuts last a lot longer so can make an awesome survival/pantry item. They are also good for anyone on a diet because although they have amazing nutrition, nuts are really high in fat, so if you have them in-shell they take longer to eat and can keep you busy while not using as many calories.

    Then you can use the hulls for things. For example, grind up walnut hulls and put them in a homemade body scrub, or use them at the bottom of plant pots for drainage and to use less soil.

    Also lotions. I see a lot of those too.

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