BBB Advice: One More Shopping Trip

December 21, 2008
Many consumers who skip the shopping frenzy the day after Thanksgiving would never dream of missing out on hitting the sales the day after Christmas. This is when stores everywhere and of all types cut prices drastically on holiday merchandise and gift items to clear them out before inventory begins in January.

And with the economy causing many families to limit what they spend on “extras,” your BBB suggests that this is a good time to purchase gifts and necessities at bargain-basement prices for yearlong using and giving.

For example, solid red, blue, white, even silver and gold, gift wrap and party supplies can be used any time of the year for birthdays and special occasions. Same goes with ribbons and bows and gift bags. And you know you’ll need more holiday-theme paper for Christmas 2009 -- no one will know that it was this season’s designs.

Anything red -- think candles, candies, gift wrap, ribbons -- can be used for Valentine’s Day and the Fourth of July as well as Christmas. Green items are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and summer garden parties.

Small gifts intended as stocking stuffers will look right at home in Easter baskets and birthday goodie bags. And don’t forget to consider all those other occasions that call for gifts -- graduations, end-of-the-year teacher gifts, Mother’s and Father’s Days -- that will require paper goods and presents (what college student, for example, couldn’t use a small microwave?).

You’ll also find steep discounts on cookies, candies and other holiday foods that go on the sale aisle. Who cares, come April, that the bag of chocolate-covered peanuts came in a container with a smiling Santa? If it’s a gift for later, nothing says you can’t repackage it for the current season.

While you’re shopping, take a stroll down the toy aisles and you’ll find numerous possibilities for gifts for all those birthday parties that seem to grow in number every year. Games, building sets and dolls know no season. 

What becomes of all the gifts other consumers return? Many stores offer open-box merchandise and other returned items at less-than-full price. Oftentimes the only thing “wrong” with the item is that it had been opened or doesn’t have the original packaging.

The day after Christmas is also a great time for crafters to stock up on holiday-themed fabric, ribbon and craft supplies to get a head start on next year’s decorations and projects. Again, plain colors can be used year-round

And because thrift stores receive lots of year-end donations from folks looking to get a last-minute tax deduction, now’s a good time to sift through the racks and shelves to see what’s “new.” If you’re lucky, you may even find a sale.