I wrote this in December 2009. -Jill
Unusual After Christmas Buys
One year, when I was on my after-Christmas shopping expedition, I couldn’t believe what I found. I really hadn’t planned on going to the after Christmas sales because I didn’t need anything, but I just happened to be out and about and couldn’t resist checking out the clearance items. I ended up with some unusual things that some of you may not think to look for at these sales. These things were unusual even for me.
First of all, I found toothpicks. Weird, huh? I know it sounds silly but I just ran out of toothpicks last week and really needed some. Lo and behold, right in the middle of all the Christmas clearance items were Christmas toothpicks. One package of the Christmas toothpicks was the same size as three of the normal sized boxes of toothpicks and I got it for $.24. To make it even more fun, the toothpicks came in some wonderful round decorative containers that I can reuse when I give cash gifts next year. I’ll simply roll up the money and place it in the containers. They were the perfect size and shape and provided the perfect festive package for this gift.
I also found a pair of 7 1/2 inch scissors, really nice ones, for $.60. They were on clearance because they were holiday scissors with snowflakes on the blades but, except for the snowflakes, they were the same as regular scissors.
Last, but not least, I bought regular sized boxes of Kleenex tissues for $.25. Once again, they had Christmas designs on the outside of them but I didn’t mind one bit!
I know it’s strange but I do love getting good deals that are unusual… and I wonder where my daughter gets her weird habits. ;-) It’s still not too late to get some great deals. I often wait until the day before or after New Years to find some really good prices because by that time the stores are getting desperate to get rid of holiday clearance items and I can usually get them for 75% to 90% off. If you do wait that long, many items will already be sold, but you’d be surprised what you can find!
Happy Hunting! Jill
PS. If you need to buy a good wedding gift, you might consider buying a nice assortment of Christmas decorations to give as a gift. This is great for the couple who has everything or for those times when you just don’t know what to get. I received some Christmas decorations for my wedding and I know of other people who have, too, and I loved it! Pack them in a plastic Christmas tote.
I wanted to add to Jill’s tips for Christmas deals. I buy only “generic” color Christmas wrapping paper really cheap. I buy gold, silver, green, even patterned if it’s not snowflakes or Christmas designs. It’s the perfect time to get good paper, cheap! It can be used for wrapping birthday, wedding, mother’s day, father’s day, etc. gifts!
I also buy the sets of mugs and hot cocoa or coffee, bath stuff, baking items ect. when they are 90% off then repackage for b-day presents. Most of the time only the packaging is christmasy.. Thing with snowmen are ok for Jan. and Feb birthdays for young and old alike. a stuffed animal is good for any season if the hat and scarfs are removed. A cute kids gift could be a couple of baking sets and some measuring cups or spoons found at the dollars store. I buy baby first chirtmas items for new babies coming in the new year they are ALWAYS a hit! If I can get aq great deal on christmasy looking gifts I usually just put them away and save them. They work for Nov. and Dec b-days as well as next years Christmas. This works for every thing but food of course. My gifts through out the year look way more expensive than what I pay and no one is the wiser. Happy savings and Happpy New Year! Connie
Remember the clearance sale wrapping paper can also be used as a nice background for scrapbooking holiday photos as well. It can also be used in kids craft projects throughout the year. You can always find a use for low cost rolls of paper. If you have some Mod Podge glue you can “decoupage” any item you like. Clearance wrapping paper should be in everyone’s household craft box. You never know when you’ll need it.
Grizzly Bear Mom
Someone’s Auntie used to sale items right after the holiday. When a visting boyfriend received a “give thanks” napkin at the 4th of July barbeque, he asked “Give thanks for what?” Auntie replied “Give thanks you got a napkin.”
look for candles as well. One time I obtained candles for 5 cents a piece
Last year after Christmas I saw a recipe for cranberry bread that I thought I would try. So while looking in the produce section for cranberries, I discovered that they were being clearanced because it was after the season. I got 18 one pound bags for $.02 each. For a $.36 investment, I figured I couldn’t go wrong if I didn’t like the bread. By the way, cranberries freeze very well. I have been using them all year.
I love the idea of Christmas wrapping paper for crafts, but would caution that they will almost ALL contain acid, which will definitely cause yellowed and faded photographs after time.
The idea to use wrapping paper for decoupage is a great one–I typically do that with some of my Christmas cards, but don’t know why I never thought of that for paper? FINALLY, a use for the crumpled stuff after ripping open packages! Oh, the joy!
Chargers are usually 75% or more off right after Christmas. A metallic colored charger with a couple of pillar candles and a figurine wrapped in clear cellophane makes an impressive looking table scape. It’s much more finished looking than the individual parts.
I wanted to share this frugal Christmas gift tip before now but kept forgetting to add it. I think it will fit right in with this article.
For an inexpensive Christmas gift for children…nieces and nephews, grandchildren, children of family friends, etc. give a Christmas tree ornament each year.
My Mom started the tradition with my sister and I of giving each of us a new Christmas tree ornament each year. She would give it to us when we decorated the tree. She told us that they were our ornaments to take with us when we were grown up and moved into our own home. We loved it! We couldn’t wait to receive the ornaments each year and put them on the tree. Each year, as we decorated the tree, we exclaimed over each one and talked and remembered the year we got the ornaments, little stories about where Mom found the ornaments, etc. Now that I’m a mother, I still love to hang my ornaments from my Mom on my tree and I have so many memories of Christmases spent with my Mom, Dad and sister. :)
One of my Aunt’s used to give my sister and I an ornament engraved with our name and the year each Christmas. I bet these were a bit more expensive but they were a very nice gift that I still use each year. How many gifts can that be said about? :)
I started the tradition of giving an ornament each year with my two children and also with all of my nieces and nephews. I don’t buy engraved ornaments. A few times I have found dated Hallmark ones on sale, but mostly I just bargain shop for neat ornaments. I try to make each child’s ornament match something going on in the life that year. It make quite an interesting collection of ornaments for each child. My kids have everything from favorite sports team ornaments, favorite animals, movie characters, a favorite hobby, etc. My 14 year old son this year, for some reason, started liking squirrels. He was joking as we put up the tree that he wanted a squirrel ornament this year. Lo and behold, I went ornament shopping a few days later and found an outdoor theme tree set up and it had squirrel ornaments on it. Th ornaments were 60% off, so even better! My son laughed and laughed when I gave it to him. A couple of years ago, he loved monkeys and I found one of those for him as well. My kids love this it and so do my nieces and nephews. They can’t wait to receive their ornament from me each year! One year, my sister and I baked up a storm before Christmas…we had cookies coming out our ears. That year, I was looking at ornaments and found a Pillsbury Dough Boy ornament and bought one for both she and I to commemorate the Christmas we spent so much time baking. We both laugh every time we see those ornaments. Put some thought into it and it’s a very touching, inexpensive gift.
Especially with my kids, it’s a beautiful family tradition. Each year when we take the ornaments out of the box and decorate the tree, it’s so special. Everyone hangs their own ornaments. When my boys are grown and move into their own home, I know they will treasure the ornaments and the memories of Christmas at home. I will miss their ornaments hanging on my tree. I’ll still have my ornaments from my Mom and the ones my kids have made me though.
Anyway, I made a short story long…which I’ve been told I’m really good at…but buying Christmas tree ornaments for the children in your lives is a great inexpensive gift idea with beautiful sentiments attached. And if you shop the after Christmas sales and plan ahead for next year…even better!
Merry Christmas to Jill, Tawra and families. Thanks for all of your hard work on the website and newsletters. You make a positive difference in the lives of many. I appreciate you so much. God bless you all!
Also, Merry Christmas to all of my fellow readers…some I feel like I know from reading comments. I hope you all have a blessed Christmas and New Year.
Grandma, you are in my thoughts through this Holiday. I can imagine how hard it is to be away from your family at Christmas. I wish you a special day with your husband, full of joy and peace. I know your children and grandchildren will be thrilled with the gifts you put so much love and thought into. This website wouldn’t be the same for me without your comments. Merry Christmas!!!
Such great ideas! My wife has always been able to find plastic red, silver, green Christmas flowers deeply discounted at craft stores and does a great job turning them into arrangements that can decorate the house year long.
Last year after Christmas at World Bazaar I found bar soaps for $.10 each. I was so happy I bought enough to last about three years. I wasn’t sure if it would go bad or I might have bought more. So far, so good, smells nice & everything. I think Amy should get the “most frugal” prize though with those $.02 cranberries. I love cranberry bread!
here is a fun and get even with your children gift.
take your old tapes and records of songs your children had you play constantly when they were little. put them on CD;s and give them to your grandchildren.
Your children will hate you but love you at the same time.
You get revenge by them saying they play them constantly and you can smile and say isn’t that wonderful while remembering your own memories of listening to those same songs over and over again.
All it should cost is the price of blank CDs.
another one is Skype. you type in skype and download it to your computer. make sure your children have it and you can talk anywhere in the world with them for free.
Just had a video call from my son and his wife in China and it was so nice to see them. Our grandchild is due any day now so when she or he is born we will be able to see changes as they happen.
Made my christmas this year.
doldrums are almost gone. Tomorrow we will get to see by computer and web cam our other 3 grandchildren as they open gifts we have sent them.
If you prefer phone calls from computer to phone to china is .02 cents a minute.
So if your family is to far to travel the skype version of a family visit is the next best thing and absolutely free.
The only Christmas decorations out this year is my collection of Santas. victorian santa, st Nicolas, backwoods pioneer santa and about 3 others. but the faces of my grandchildren tomorrow morning and my son his wife and her parents this morning make up for no lights or trees (and I don’t have to find storage for them later)
Angie thanks for the message. Friends mean so much this time of year and having a new one is wonderful.
If anyone wants to keep children in their minds click on my website thing and you can read how I keep children near me even when there are none around. Fun to find a new story for a bed time ritual as well.
This isn’t a plug just a wish for others to enjoy original stories for children and adults who are children at heart. Print them out if you want they are there to be enjoyed.
luv and merry christmas to everyone.
Angie I just noticed your name even though I answered you.
My soon to be grand daughter if she is a she will have the name
Anqi which is Chinese for Angel. Said as Anchi. Q is Ch in sounds.
her full name is Anqi Lynn. part chinese and part english.
Glad I noticed that
My mom and I were after Christmas shopping one year at Target. Back in the Christmas clearance section they had chocolate covered Oreos…and there was a peel off coupon on the package. Between the clearance price, and the coupon, Target actually PAID me to take the cookies home! I should have bought every one they had, but I only got 8 or so because I knew I’d be the one eating them…with no restraint! I LOVE Oreos!
That’s so neat about your grand daughter to be’s name. I love it! You must be so excited about the impending arrival. Best wishes for a happy and healthy mom and baby. Be sure to let us all know when the baby arrives.
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. :)
Hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas!!
I was in Walgreens today. All Christmas items and candy are 50% off-this is always a tough decision for me. Do I go ahead and buy some of these things at half off, or gamble that what I like is still there when they reduce it by 60, then 75, then 80….sometimes 90% off! Ah, the tension builds….how much gas money will I spend going back and forth????? Probably a lot, but I’m having fun and staying off the streets and out of bars! Too busy bargain hunting!! (Never have liked going into bars anyway..I’m a really cheap date)
This was a great thread. I even put “after Christmas Bargains” on my shopping list because I can see that there are bargains to be had.
Lisa @ Simplified Saving
I love shopping after Christmas. I wrote a post about how to make the most of after Christmas sales because people often miss out on all the cool opportunities that after Christmas shopping can afford!
Don’t forget the thrift stores! I just went out to one of the charitable secondhand stores in our town. They also put all their Xmas stuff on half price…and it was dirt cheap to begin with. I got some adorable little holiday mugs for 25 cents each instead of 50 cents. I bought over a dozen of them, all matching, and felt I really lucked out! I will store them in my attic and next holiday season, they will be washed, filled with candy, or possibly flavored coffee or tea, and given out as office gifts….similar to what you’d pay several dollars for in the store. I also bought a brand-new scented candle for 50 cents and some containers for holiday goodies, some as cheap as a dime. You have to really look this stuff over to make sure it’s not damaged or worn, but I always find some items when are as good as new for pennies on the dollar. Throughout the year, I shop these stores and when they sell donated, brand new gift items, I snag such items for birthdays and Christmas. It’s overwhelming the number of people who give us gifts, and if I didn’t have this thrifty alernative, I could not afford to reciprocate.
I was at Walmart yesterday during my lunch hour. They had soooo much holiday merchandise left over 4 isles full. I purchased a 4 cereal bowls for $4 dollars because we always need them. Baking pans 3 really good sturdy pans for $10 and cookies for $2 dollars for New Years eve and a last minute gift for friends that are dropping over this week. I know everything will be marked down further but the bowls and pans I needed so I grabbed them. I will go back next week and if they are marked down further and still available I will buy more bowls. Maybe pans for my mom and daughter.
My kids and I will be using our Christmas bags over again next year. We want to see how many years we can use them :) Little do they know I have been doing it for years.:) Happy New Year to all.
Good deals April. People don’t always think to look for those type of things. I found some Rubbermaid containers in another area of the store and they had a Christmas label and red or green lids so I asked if they were on clearance too. Sure enough for a $1 I got a set of 3 – 4 cup containers with lids. They had several sizes I could choose from. Since I was needing some badly I was so tickled.
Yeah, I thought about next year writing on the bag who it’s to and the year. Then do that every year just to see how far they go and to who they go.
We have 14 people in the family and at Christmas time it is a lot to buy gifts for, especially when some members of the family cannot afford it. So our daughter came up with the idea of each person buying a very inexpensive gift – it has to be able to be received and appreciated by anyone age 4 thru 78, male or female – and wrapped with much ingenuity. For instance, last year our granddaughter made a guitar out of cardboard et al. She painted it, laquered it-really put a lot of work into it. When you looked at it, it looked so real. Another idea was to stuff a rubber glove, paint the ‘nail’ part with red polish and slip a ring on the finger. The open end is tied with a string to look like a bracelet. We have been doing this for 6-7 years and have seen some very innovative ideas. We always vote the best gift wrap and that person gets $20. It really makes the kids put a lot of thought into the project. And what fun!! The grandkids prefer this to the old way of getting ‘more expensive’ gifts.
I purchase Nativity scenes this time of the year for wedding gifts. You can get some beautiful scenes at deeply discounted prices. I remember the days as a young bride with no money to decorate for the holidays. Giving these as gifts always makes me feel there will be something fun and special to pull out for Christmas.
Stock up on red christmas candies and chocolates. These work great for valentines day.
Stock up on little gifty items (bath items, nail polish, etc.) for Easter baskets. Even if the packaging is Christmas oriented, you can often take items out of exterior wrapping to place into baskets.
Now is the time I stock up on ziploc bags for the year. I look for ones with Christmas tags or snowflakes. I don’t think my leftovers really care if they are sealed in a decorated package.
While doing my after Christmas clearance sales my mindset is to think “yearly” (am I going to use this item in the next 12 months).
My son and I spend a day making fudge and Christmas cookies every year. Last year, in mid-January, I was in Bed, Bath and Beyond and they had metal cookie cutters (reg price $3.99), 3 in a package, for $.25 each. I bought 2 for me (because they were different shapes)and a set for my daughter and son. They made good-sized cookies and will last forever because the metal is sturdy. One of my best bargains.
I’ll sound like Scrouge aftr all the good advice-I went to our two stores on Monday where I found a few sales but mostly empty shelves. It looked like they had swooshed the shelves clear before they opened the store. I’m sure they didn’t sell all that stuff-so what did they do with it? Send it on to a more populous area which is probably more prosperous-save it until next year? Today I’ll try our one thrift store-where probably 75% of our town shops. It’s incredible and goes to benefit the animal shelter.
We haven’t had boxing day shopping for many years yet but this year I went with a friend to 2 of the 3 stores open here.
I bought my granddaughter her birthday present it is a little polar bear and when you open his body there is a necklace with a polar bear pendant. I think it was $4. so it will do nicely. I could have got a snowman or a Santa but they were too christmasy for a Feb. birthday but the polar bear is perfect.
Went out with my husband later and picked up quite a few bargains for gifts next year.
But for me I got a cloth santa to sit on a shelf or table. I have a collection of about 11 Santa’s now didn;t put up a tree but all my santa’s and mrs. claus and my ceramic village that I am still painting some of the houses looked quite festive and the kitten and cats can’t hurt them.
Hope everyone had a great christmas and the new year will be even better.
Also, a LOT of the big box stores put much of their toy department on clearance after Christmas–my five-year old son loves Legos, and he was thrilled to use his gift money on a large set that was on his wish list…and $80 before Christmas! Today, though, it was $40! Amazon puts odd stuff on sale…today, for example, they had a big $600 set of Cuisinart pots and pans for around $125. I remember them doing this last year, too…I friended Coupon Divas on Facebook, and I catch wind of some amazing deals on things there!
Penney’s had $10 off when you spent $25 coupons and I also had two $10 Penney’s reward coupons. I found $50 women’s cordury pants marked down from to $20 and also found women’s gloves marked down to $3.27. I bought two pair of pants and 4 pair of gloves, separted them into two orders of one pair of pants and two pair of gloves. My final cost using one $10 reward coupon and $10 off $25 was $7.54 for each order. I saved $40 off the sale prices. You have to do the math before heading to the check out register to get the best deal.
I purchased some cupcake toppers tonight at our local Wal-Mart for 50% off. Some were Christmas trees and some were snowflakes. The trees are the pop-out kind that open up and you stick one side to the other causing a 3-D tree. I’m going to cut the picks off and use them on cards I make for my gift shop. When the cards open up, the trees will pop out at the receiver. Don’t over look unusual ways to use the specials after Christmas!
I try to buy all my Valentine’s Day candy on after Christmas clearance. So many are the same box with a Christmas slip sleeve around them. I’ve never had a problem with the chocolate going bad. The main problem is staying out of it my self. LOL I give a lot of candy at Valentine’s day to people who have no sweetheart and believe me there are a lot who do not through no fault of their own and they are more thrilled to get it then than at Christmas. God bless all at this wonderful website for a great year to come.
My dad was a pack rat of the worse kind. But he would wait until all the clearance things would fit on one table, figure out how much the whole table would be, then offer the manager a few bucks to take the whole table load. Then he would decorate like mad for the holidays. When my son (his first grandchild) was one, dad wanted to decorate for him, so he asked us what theme he should do. I said our son loved red, so at Christmas there was so much red it was funny. My dad is gone now, but that is one special memory I have of him.
We have a friend who faithfully sends us a homemade Christmas tree ornament every year and we have them all…my husband and I only have homespun and handcrafted tree ornaments on our tree…only the lights, garland and tree topper and bows are “commercial”. I have crafted ornaments from a pen pal who died six years ago and when I put them up I think of her. I have ornaments I have made myself from the first years my husband and I were married…kind of ratty I admit after over thirty years, but there they are on our tree. Others come from church bazaars, craft sales, yard sales, etc. I’m not knocking commercial ornaments per se but this means something to us it’s years of memories and our history together. Our tree is unique to us. I can guarantee there’s no other tree exactly like it anywhere. It kind of cuts down the commercialism of Christmas for us.
The best after Christmas deal I ever got was at our local thrift store. Anything Christmas themed (or could be Christmas themed) was put out on a few tables after Christmas, and marked with a “free” sign. Awesome.