Save Your Christmas Decoration Shopping for After Christmas

Our First Christmas Tree

Thanksgiving is less than a week away. The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally when we decorate our house for Christmas. We take out the Christmas tree, string it with lights, ornaments and other decorations. We start decorating the outside of the house as well.

Our first Christmas out of college was rather pathetic in terms of decorations because we didn’t have hardly any of our own but we managed to scrape by. Wait a second… I didn’t say we went out and bought a bunch of stuff? Very observant of you! Here’s why…

Christmas Only Happens Once a Year

I know the fact that Christmas only happens once a year is a bit obvious. What is less obvious is what happens with this and any other holiday that occurs once a year. Stores stock up on decorations months in advance (especially for Christmas) and try to get exactly the right amount so after the holiday goes by they have nothing left to sell.

This doesn’t always happen though. In fact, there is normally a lot of left over decorations after holidays, especially Christmas. So what happens?

Christmas Clearance Sales

You guessed it! The day after Christmas almost every store will mark all of their decorations on clearance. This should shock no one. Remember Easter and Halloween? There was a ton of candy and decorations marked half off the day after. Same thing goes for Christmas.

Most stores will start discounting their items at 50% off. They will discount the slow moving items even more the longer they sit on the shelves. Everyone who pays any attention knows this happens with every holiday. A few people take advantage but the masses just buy when everyone else does, in the weeks prior to the holiday.

Your decorations from last year should cover your Christmas this year even if you normally buy a few new things. Don’t buy any new decorations before Christmas this year.  Instead you should…

Make a List of What You Want

There are a ton of great deals out there but if you buy stuff you don’t need or will never use you’ve just made a bad purchase. Instead, make a list of the things you want to get in the weeks before Christmas. Take a look over the list on Christmas day after things have settled down and decide what you really want to get.

Things go fast during the after Christmas clearance sales and not everything makes it to the clearance. If there is something you absolutely MUST have you better get it before Christmas. For everything else, number your list in order of which item you want most. Go for the items at the top of the list first before heading for the other items.

Personal Experience

Remember how I said our first Christmas was pretty slim in terms of decorations? We found a tiny Christmas tree in our rental house’s storage shed and set that up. We borrowed some ornaments from my parents.

I used some lights I had bought the day after a few Christmases ago (they were only a dollar a box when I bought them). That was about all we had in terms of decorations that Christmas.

The day after that Christmas we went out and bought an awesome tree for half off. We bought some glass bulb ornaments, again at half off and a few other items. We didn’t get any extra lights though. We had plenty of those and saw no reason to buy new ones.

Have you ever taken advantage of after Christmas or after holiday clearance sales? There is a ton of money to save if you can control yourself and buy for next year the day after the celebrations are over.

P.S. That picture up there actually is our first Christmas tree. My girlfriend took the awesome picture!

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. Nate Fancher says:

    My wife and I have also done this. Seems like stores almost never get it right when estimating their needed inventory. 🙂 Cash in and save! Christmas after Christmas…

  2. We get one ornament each as gifts under the tree each year. So we’re building our collection of ornaments slowly, but it’s nice!

  3. We’ve done this a number of times. A few years ago we found a really nice set of Christmas dishes for 90% off. It was a great deal. We often will go out and stock up for things for the next year.

  4. Oh man I dread the time when I have to own my own holiday decorations! I hope it’s not until our (future) kids are old enough to know what’s going on, so years and years from now. I will keep your suggestion in mind for that eventuality, though.

  5. Over the past four years we have bought two new trees, and bought both of them on Black Friday when we were able to get some really good deals. The prices may have been better after Christmas, but the risk you take is that stock is usually pretty thin by then. The deals on Black Friday were so good that it was probably less than a 5-10% difference between that and the after-holiday sales, and being guaranteed the trees we wanted made it worth that slight difference.

  6. Yup! A most excellent idea 🙂 Though I always just give in and buy at the peak of the “market” cuz I get such in the holiday spirit!! Haha… But money-wise you’re totally right.

  7. We bought all of our lights and ornaments after Christmas two years ago. We also got a hand-me-down tree from my grandparents. I think we’ve spent a total of about $15 on all of our Christmas decorations. 🙂

  8. This is true for a lot of our annual purchases. Holidays cards are discounted after the holidays too. All it takes is a little planning and you can save a lot.

  9. If you go to the tree lots they will usually have a lot of branches they either cut or fall off that they will give you for free. You can then have a vase of branches to decorate Charlie Brown style but you still get the pine smell and feel.

  10. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that picture! I am a Christmas freak. And we have a ton of decorations and if I buy anymore than the bf will probably chop my head off. Right now we have a closet that is just dedicated to Christmas decorations haha

  11. I am going to start doing this post holidays. I just moved in on my own. I have already got some Christmas hand me downs and they will just have to do until next year. I love bargain shopping so I am definitely going to wait until after Christmas to buy decorations.

  12. Absolutely agree. Holiday and season items in general can really be cheaper after that time period is over, and sigificant percentage savings can accrue. Another example of why its important to have a plan!

  13. Yes, but only to buy things like wrapping paper, lights, etc. A few years ago, we tried to buy a nice pre-lit tree on Dec. 26th, only to be told that the store (it was either a Lowe’s or Home Depot; they’re right across the street from each other in my city and I can’t remember which one) had put all the leftover Christmas stuff away after closing on the 24th – they’d just sell it hte next year!

  14. The days right after Christmas are the best time to grab decorations at a deep discount, but you can also find some great deals in the days before Christmas too. Stores with too much inventory start slashing prices early so they can make room for the new stuff.

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