It's Not too Early to Think About Next Christmas

Take advantage of after-Christmas sales to save big for next year.

On Dec. 26, many retailers slashed the price of their Christmas goods, as well as many of the products they overstocked but didn't sell during the Christmas shopping rush. Their loss is your gain: You can save 50 to 75 percent, and in some cases even more, on gift wrap and decor for next Christmas, and consumer goods you can use now and all year long.

Retailers slash prices on other goods this time of year, to encourage shoppers who received gift cards to get out and buy.

So if you're not totally shopped out, here's a how-to guide on getting great post-Christmas deals:

What to Buy
Gift wrap - Wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, gift tags, boxes, tape, ribbon, bows. Since it never goes bad, you can buy for next year and beyond. Also look for gift wrap that could be used other times of year, too.

Holiday decor - Candles, decorations, ornaments, lights, outdoor decor, stockings, faux garland, tree stands, non-perishable wreaths.

Tableware - Linens, plates, cups, napkins, paper products, serving platters.

Gifts and gift sets - Gift baskets, spa or bath sets, pet gift sets, throw blankets, scarf sets, perfume or cologne, bakeware, socks, games, coffee. (Be sure to check expiration dates on any food or perishable products.) Many of these items can be used or given as gifts throughout the year or saved for next Christmas.

2013 Calendars - Look for buy-one-get-one deals, or deeply discounted calendars after Christmas.

Electronics - Retailers often have ordered more stock than they could sell on things like DVD players, television sets, digital cameras and home theater packages. Look for good values on these purchases, but check the package to make sure what's inside matches what's on the box, and that the item wasn't a used return.

Video games - In the week after Christmas, the prices traditionally fall on popular video game titles.

Fitness equipment - If your New Year's Resolution is to get in shape next year, the coming weeks will bring big deals on things like treadmills, gym memberships, workout DVDs and fitness equipment.

What to Think About Before Buying

Clothing - Can you be sure of next year's sizing? Will this item still be in style? If you plan to wear or give the clothing now, then by all means, stock up!

Food - Unless you plan to use or give it before next Christmas, or the item has a very long shelf life, avoid purchasing food items and gift baskets and boxes with food, for next year. You can't give a worse Christmas gift than one that includes spoiled food items!

Do you head out shopping this week, or will you wait until after the post-Christmas rush? Tell us in the comments.


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