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The 11 Best Things to Buy Before (and After) Christmas

December offers plenty of great buys — including gift cards galore and discounted decor!
Updated
What to Buy in December

After the excitement of November's Black Friday sales, you may wonder how December can possibly compete. But of course there are tons of savings to be had in the run-up to Christmas! We're sharing the best buys of December — and everything you should skip.

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11 Things to Buy in December

Green Monday Sale Items

Green Monday may not be as well-known as Cyber Monday, but it's still one of the biggest online shopping days of the holiday season. It typically occurs on the second Monday in December — or December 10 in 2018 — and it'll likely be your last chance to snag big discounts before Christmas. So look for Green Monday sales from a variety of retailers. For example, last year Dockers slashed prices by 40% sitewide via a coupon, Target cut $20 off every $100 spent, and Canon took up to 45% off select cameras and lenses.

Gift Cards

Although they're not the most creative stocking stuffers, gift cards are actually the second-most wanted gifts this holiday season, ranking just behind electronics according to WalletHub. Luckily, we saw more gift card deals in December than in any other month this past year, with offers to suit everyone on your gift list — from Domino's pizza lovers to Nintendo fans.

We expect $100 iTunes gift cards to fall to $85, while $100 Xbox Live cards will hit the year's best price of $80.

We expect $100 iTunes gift cards to fall as low as $85, while $100 Xbox Live cards will hit the year's best price of $80. Target traditionally knocks 10% off all store gift cards in its best offer of the year come December, while cards for major retailers like Lowe's sell at 10% off on eBay.

It's not just cheap gift card offers that will help you save, either. Many retailers offer bundle deals come December that will help you save on big ticket tech items. Last year, Dell offered gift cards worth up to $300 with TV and game console purchases. That helped undercut prices at Amazon and Best Buy.

Starbucks usually hosts one of the most popular deals of the month, too — last year it gave away $5 gift cards with the purchase of two holiday drinks.

Christmas Decorations (After Christmas)

It should come as no surprise that holiday decorations will see their biggest discounts from December 26 onward. Most stores, including IKEA and Crate & Barrel, kicked off their winter clearance sales the day after Christmas last year.

However, Amazon and Home Depot offered the most substantial savings — 75% to 80% off seasonal decor. Expect festive lights to fall to around $4 after the holiday, while highly discounted inflatables should start at $20.

Those shopping for 2018 holiday decor should look to Walmart, as we listed more festive Editors' Choice deals from there before Christmas than any other store. It sold ornament sets from just $2, and 6-foot artificial trees for $14 during the first week of December. Also, keep in mind that fresh-cut trees will start seeing steep discounts around December 20.

TVs

Yes, Black Friday is simply the best time of year to buy a TV. But, if you were too busy spending time with family (or working) to shop Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals, know that you can still save big on TVs through the first two weeks of December.

SEE ALSO: Amazon Is Giving EVERYONE Free Shipping For the Holidays

Not only did stores like Best Buy and Costco bring back their Black Friday discounts, but some even undercut them — we saw as much as a 24% price drop on lower-end 32" TVs and a 10% drop on select 40" and 60" units a week or two after Black Friday!

Select iPhones

Although Black Friday is the best time of year to shop previous-generation Apple gadgets, if you didn't secure a great price on the iPhone 8 or X, never fear! December promises to bring some substantial savings, too.

Last December saw all-time price lows on the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 7, so we're expecting strong iPhone 8 and iPhone X offers to hit our inbox. We've already seen these 2017 releases fall to $400 and $670 respectively, but we're hoping to see another significant drop this month.

Video Games

We actually listed 55% more Editors' Choice deals on video games in December than during Black Friday week last year. Many of the year's AAA titles like Prey and Call of Duty: WWII fell to all-time lows in the run-up to the holidays. And then-new sports games like FIFA 18 were as low as $24 just a few days before Christmas.

Jewelry

A fine example of what not to buy in the new year is jewelry. We'll see more offers for this category in December than in January or February 2019, so you may want to buy that Valentine's gift a couple months early.

We'll see more jewelry deals in December than in January or February 2019, so you may want to buy that Valentine's gift early.

Kohl's hosted the best sale of December last year, when it knocked 40% off all fine jewelry — some of which was already massively discounted.

Amazon's daily deal section should also be on your radar, but those who are really strapped for cash should click through to Win Pearl, which sold pearl necklaces and bracelet sets for under $10. Elsewhere, Swarovski crystal pendants started at around $12, while diamond pieces were discounted to $75.

Champagne

If you're partial to the finer things in life, know that you can cut costs on luxuries like champagne. According to Reader's Digest, December is the very best time of year to splurge on bubbly, as competition drives prices down during the busy party season — GuildSomm even found that 22% of all champagne sales are rung in during this month. Shoppers can save around 50% on their purchases by hitting the stores in mid- to late-December.

Wedding Dresses

Wedding dresses traditionally hit their best-ever prices in December for many reasons. Bridal stores try to offload dresses in order to boost end-of-the-year sales, but also to clear the shelves for the influx of new styles they'll receive at the end of the year. Wedding expert Linda DiProperzio told Fox Business that you can save up to 30% on your dress purchase if you don't mind buying last season's styles.

SEE ALSO: Don't Buy the 5 Most Frequently Returned Gifts

Golf Clubs

Like with most outdoor activities, the golf season tames as the cooler weather begins. As such, December is a great time to buy a new set of clubs. Retailers will be looking to clear out their inventories in time for the release of new lines in the new year. In previous years, we've seen adidas Golf host its best sale of the year (tying its Black Friday promotions) in December by knocking as much as 47.5% off already-reduced golf gear.

Cookies

December has plenty of holidays to look forward to, but we like the sound of National Cookie Day the most. On December 4, you don't need to spend a single cent, as many top stores and restaurants will offer free baked goods. Last year Great American Cookie Co. offered a free sweet treat with no minimum purchase required, while Hershey's and Insomnia Cookies had freebies when you bought something in-store on the day. Whole Foods even got in on the celebration by knocking 50% off select freshly baked goods.

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High-End Electronics

If you're planning to shop premium electronics, know that many top brands introduce new models of high-end computers and top-of-the-range TVs at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. As a result, 2018 models will generally hit better prices when the new lines of futuristic tech are announced in Las Vegas. (Of course, not everything follows this cycle; smartphones tend to be announced in late spring, while Apple products keep their own individual annual schedule.)

Following the event, which takes place during the second week of January, look for deals on sophisticated tech like smart home appliances, 3D printers, and VR headsets.

New Cars

If you're updating your vehicle at the end of this year, hold off until the very end of December to make your purchase. Autotrader suggests the end of the month, and the end of a quarter or year particularly, will bring with them the very best discounts on the previous year's line of cars.

If you're updating your vehicle at the end of this year, hold off until the very end of December to make your purchase.

To support that claim, TrueCar.com found that December 31 tends to see the most competitive average discounts of the year — in 2013, New Year's Eve saw an average discount of 8.8% off.

Exercise Equipment

Gym owners and fitness retailers alike know that January is most people's month of renewal, so they'll drop their best discounts of the season come the new year. We've also found that January sees around six times the number of deals on exercise equipment compared to December — with prices of kettlebells and yoga equipment selling for under $7 in the month, and exercise bikes starting at around $60.

Broadway Show Tickets

You may be planning to catch a show this holiday season, but know that January will see far better discounts on Broadway tickets. Not only is it regarded as a slow month on the scene, but Broadway Week falls next month, a time when you can shop highly discounted tickets and even score BOGO free offers for many popular showtimes.

You can book these low-cost concessions from January 5. So, consider buying a gift card for your Hamilton-crazed loved one instead of a ticket, as they may get more bang for their buck come the new year.

Ready to put this information to use? Sign up for the DealNews Select Newsletter or download the DealNews app to stay in the know about any and all of the best buys of December and January.


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Content Editor

A former Fashion Editor and Boggle champion, Donna Doyle spends her time writing for DealNews, re-reading Harry Potter, and living in denial.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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