How to Shop for the Holidays All Year Round

Where and When to Get the Best Deals on Gifts

If you're not a big plan ahead type of person by nature, it probably seems like a foreign concept to go shopping right after Christmas to start stocking up on gifts for next year. But everyone knows that next to Black Friday, that's when the best sales are. Between Christmas and the New Year, stores are trying to unload excess merchandise so they can increase their profits before the year end and have fewer items to inventory. That means that they're offering all kinds of great deals.

But if that's way too much planning head, it's OK to start with baby steps. Seasonal merchandise always goes on sale toward the end of each season, so if some of the items on your list are games for the yard or ski equipment, be sure to check stores at the end of summer and winter, respectively.

Are you more of a handmade-gift-giving type of gal? If you're not so big on the big box stores, is chock full of handmade and vintage gifts and many are extremely affordable. If you want even better bargains, albeit a more limited selection, Heartsy is a daily deal site that strictly promotes handmade items. The only gifts that may not apply in your "get 'er done early" scenario is shopping for kids. Kids grow too willy-nilly to plan a year ahead for clothes and shoes, and any toy fads that thrill them this year will probably be well behind them by the next holiday season.

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  • "Christmas in July: How to shop for the holidays and save your sanity." October 1, 2011.