What to Buy Before Christmas
DVDs and Blu-Rays
Whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers or just stocking up your own home video collection, you can expect December to have more than twice as many deals on DVDs and Blu-ray discs as January. Early December deals are plentiful, and they focus on sets — from James Bond to Seinfeld — at up to 60% off. These tend to be the best buys for anyone looking to beef up their home library.
Expect to score up to 60% off on DVD and Blu-ray sets — from James Bond to Seinfeld.
You’ll likely still find deals after the holidays, with a grab bag of individual Blu-rays for as little as $1 each. They should still be good deals, but expect a lot less of them, and it’s hard to say if you’ll find anything you really want in the mix.
December has particularly good gift card deals, with sales offering up to 40% off face value. While you’ll likely find sales throughout the month, more than 75% of them were before Christmas last year, so they’re an excellent gift option for anyone who’s a little hard to shop for. The most common offers on gift cards last year were for clothes, but there were also deals for Target (10% off), Lowe’s (10% off), Google Play (20% off), and Starbucks (30% off) cards.
Almost all gift card offers are only available for specific denominations, and around half of those deals last December were for $50 gift cards. However, if you’re shopping for stocking stuffers (or easy gifts for the office holiday party), know that sales started on gift cards worth as little as $15.
December is the time to jump on jewelry deals. You’re likely to find a few more sales than in November, along with more Staff Pick deals, which are our “best of the best” offers. If you’re planning ahead for Valentine’s Day, don’t count on finding this many sales in January, so it may pay to shop early.
Family Gift Ideas
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Expect many of these sales to be on modestly priced pieces that would make good stocking stuffers or small gifts, like Alex and Ani for up to 70% off. But you’ll probably find sales on higher-end pieces, too: last year we saw up to 40% off Helzberg Diamonds jewelry at Amazon, and up to 25% off from Larson Jewelers.
While Black Friday season — which encompasses most of November — has a slew of tech deals, headphones can be a special case. Last year we saw similar numbers of headphone sales in November and December, but December had more Staff Pick sales. Look for steals on big brands like Beats, Bose, and Sennheiser. And if you’re on more of a budget, you’ll likely be able to find headphones from Panasonic or JBL for under $10.
The timing of the best headphone deals can vary, though. Last year, the vast majority of them arrived before Christmas, but we have seen excellent buys just after Christmas. If you’re in the market for headphones, keep your eyes open and jump on a good deal when you see it.
What to Buy After Christmas
All Toys, but Particularly Video Games
December has a massive number of toy sales: last year we counted almost 600 gaming and toy deals, and 47% of those were Staff Picks. That’s a lot of toys at some of the best prices we saw all year. You’ll find particularly good sales on video games, consoles, and accessories — about 60% of the video game sales we listed last December were Staff Picks.
But while there are a ton of toy deals in December, the best deals tend to happen after Christmas. The majority of post-holiday toy sales in 2018 were Staff Picks, so it’s hard to go wrong. But again, video games were the best buys, with 71% of post-Christmas video game sales earning our Staff Picks designation. Last year we saw a lot of hot titles, like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Fallout 76, going for up to half off. It’s a good time to stock up on great games to go with any game console you may have picked up over the holidays.
The conventional wisdom on seasonal items is that you ought to buy them just after the season if you want the best prices. But last year we saw a surprising number of sales on holiday decor throughout December. We counted a total of 31 sales, including some that began quite early, like Amazon offering up to 50% off holiday decor starting on December 6.
Deals like that mean you certainly can find reasonable prices on Christmas decorations before Christmas, but the real clear-outs start at the end of the month. During the last week of December 2018, we saw retailers trying to clear out the last of their Christmas stock, with Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, and Macy’s cutting prices by 50% to 80%. By January, your options for holiday glam will be pretty picked over, so jump on post-Christmas sales quickly if you want to stock up on decor for next year.