12.27.2006

Post-Christmas Wrap-up

Hope everyone had a great Christmas. I'm enjoying some great gifts, laughing at the crappy ones, and burning through the useful ones (cash) a bit quicker than I thought--I'm talking about those After Christmas sales. I've been quite busy, so I didn't do any post-Christmas shopping until today. A lot of people have already beat me to the punch: some shelves at Ikea and Target have already been picked clean by the time I got there. I wanted a chest of metal drawers from Ikea when it became $15, but alas, they were all gone. They've been on sale for a while. [Ed.--they magically appeared again on the next day when I went back for some specialty foods for New Year's. I'm quite happy about it--it will really help with my much-needed organization project.]

As usual, I tried to grab the most seasonally-irrelevant items as possible. The only Christmas-y item I bought was a box of fancy gift tags. I tend not to buy things to save for next Christmas because my aesthetic leanings may change over the year, and besides, it's easy to forget about my purchases and I may end up with 10 boxes of Christmas cards next year. If I do get anything Christmas-y, it's because they were fancy and deservedly pricey to begin with (like the said gift tags).

That said, here are some things that I believe are great deals for New Year's and beyond:

-wrapping paper--some are obviously holiday-themed, while others are not. I love Ikea's after-Christmas sales because I've always managed to snag good wrapping paper that I can use for other occasions such as birthdays and housewarmings. Today, I got a 6-pack of wrapping paper for $1.50. Only 2 of those rolls are outwardly Christmas-y. Each roll lasts quite a while, too.

-gift boxes and tissue paper--I love to stock up on these right now. When I have to go out and get boxes for, say, birthdays in the summer, boxes and wrapping paper tend to be more expensive. I've just covered the wrapping paper, so let's talk about the boxes. Plain boxes are great for all occassions, and at sale prices, you can afford to get boxes of all different sizes. Likewise with tissue paper--right now you can choose from lots of colors and patterns. Leftovers can be saved for next Christmas, when stores are so overwhelmed that boxes become scarce.

-objets d'art and household goods--the holiday season is a time for people to entertain. As a result, stores carry a glut of festive decorative items and dining service. In addition, some stores like Target package such things as boxed gift sets, which become half-priced the minute Christmas passes.

Some of the said wares are winter-themed, while others are simply pretty or have holiday colors such as red, gold, and silver. When the colors are by themselves, you can hardly tell that they're for winter holidays. Combo color schemes are not so forgiving. Red and white whispers candy cane, though you can probably get away with it, but red and green screams Christmas.

At Ikea, I picked up some red picture frames and a red heart-shaped pillow for $1 and $3, respectively. I've seen some warm-weather leaf-shaped plates on sale at Target, and there were also boxed gift sets of some nifty bookends. The bookends are awesome, but not worth my $10. I'll snag them if they fall to $3.74.

-gadgets--many novelty gadgets are packaged as Christmas gifts. Many of them are nifty, but not worth buying at full price. If you've been coveting them, now is a good time to move in.

When I was out Christmas shopping with my family a few days ago, I saw an 8-in-1 thingus that I could use for my car. It includes an air compressor (for tires), blinking lights, tire gauge, and a vacuum cleaner. I could imagine that the vacuum isn't all that strong, but it could work out OK for my car. I wasn't willing to pay $20 for it, but somehow I knew that the price is going to drop in a few days. There were only a few boxes left, so I knew I had to move in ASAP after Christmas. Sure enough, it was a popular item. I had to go to 2 Targets to hunt it down today, but I got it at half-price.

-storage containers--sure, some of them are in Christmas colors, but if they're only going to be stowed away, who cares as long as they're they're sturdy and inexpensive?

-host/hostess gifts--candles, potpourri, and chocolates galore, all at half price or even less. Again, it's best to avoid anything overtly holiday-ish. There are plenty of delightful scents other than Pleasant Pine or Pumpkin Spice. Something like ylang-ylang or French vanilla is good all year round, and really cheap too. Candles and potpourri will keep for ages.

Be careful when it comes to food. Fancy boxes of chocolates can be had for 30% off or more as we speak, and they're are perfect as host/hostess gifts for New Year's visits or dinners in the next month or two, but there's a danger that they'll get old, dry, and discolored beyond that.

-bath and beauty sets--cosmetics, bath products, perfumes, colognes: these are great all year round, and stores have too much of it on their shelves right now. Bad for them, good for us.

Besides snapping up reduced-price essentials, another thing to do after the holidays is to gather up all the holiday stuff for use next year. Put all the leftover (or newly purchased) wrapping paper, Christmas cards, ribbons, and bows in the same place, preferrably with the wrapping paper and cards you use for other occasions so that you won't forget about them. It's just good to use them up and not let things go to waste. On one hand, it's not cool for people to get the same card year after year, but on another hand, do people even remember? If you're concerned about this, send the "old" cards to new friends and acquaintances that haven't gotten them before, or give them to family members who need to send Christmas cards next year.

Hope everyone will have a fun and successful New Year!

6 comments:

SDMC said...

Wow -- I've decided to just stay out of the stores. I have made a small list of needs (truly needs) and I'll eventually venture out to buy them. :-) We're looking at buying a new house in early summer and I want it much more than I want to shop. Sounds like you found some great sales!

Stacie said...

Right on! I do the same thing.

S. said...

I'm fantasizing about the perfect home lately and one of my obsessions is chandaliers.

I picked up the loveliest chandalier print wrapping paper for 1.50 a roll. Black on white and purple on fuscha. Can't decide if I want to cut into it for the next gift or save it for some decor use.

Sales Rack Raider said...

SDMC--the house is definitely more important to save for. Kudos for resisting temptations!

I didn't buy everything I listed, of course =) 85% of my stuff are needs, and 15% are the frivolous stuff (for me).

S.--that wrapping paper of yours sounds really pretty!

thatbeegirl said...

What great ideas as usual! I love the idea of stocking up on gift wrapping essentials, as well as gifts, while they're on super sale!

Buffy said...

I never do any post Christmas shopping. I'm always too tramatised by the amount I spend at Christmas.