A New Tradition: Christmas Shopping on Dec. 26 to Save Money

Women doing some Christmas shoppingYou may hate the person who brags about having all of their Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving, but at least they're done with it.

For those of us who didn't line up in freezing weather for Black Friday or search for deals on Cyber Monday, there are only 25 shopping days until Christmas. But instead of fretting about what to buy your aunt, why not enjoy these 25 days without shopping for Christmas presents? Take a break from shopping and see what happens.Instead of shopping for the next three weeks, slow down and enjoy the holidays. Shop for presents on the day after Christmas, taking advantage of all of the post-Christmas sales. "World Buy Nothing Day" was recently observed -- even in Pakistan -- so why not make it a month-long event? Not having Christmas presents under the tree on Dec. 25 might sound like something Scrooge would do, but think of all of the deals you'll get the next day.

Holly Meadows-Baird of Nashville, Tenn., has what sounds like the perfect way to save on Christmas presents for herself. For years, Meadows-Baird, now 31, would receive a few token gifts from her mom to have something to open on Christmas morning, but the main gift would be money. For the next few days, she and her mom would go to the after-Christmas sales and find deals.

"We realized that we were saving a lot of money, and we had also created a meaningful holiday tradition that was a fun way to spend time together," she wrote in an email to WalletPop. "I would much rather spend the day shopping with her than just receiving and opening a gift."

This method might even work on children, who could open a few items on Christmas Day and then be given a set amount of money to buy what they want on sale later. It could also teach them a few money lessons.

For people who don't have children, such as Barbara DesChamps of Nevada City, Calif., shopping after the holiday is a way to save money and avoid the crowds. DesChamps, who describes herself as a senior, said she and her husband only shop for Christmas presents for each other. Since he's not good at figuring out what she wants unless she mentions a specific item, there's no element of surprise, so they buy presents for themselves after Christmas.

If nothing else, shopping the day after Christmas is a way to get a head start on Christmas gifts for next year. Kathleen Bunn, who blogs about life with four boys, shops after Christmas for the coming year for her sons, ages, 10, 8, 7 and 4.

"I do not do all of their shopping for the following year the day after Christmas, but if I see items that I know they will like, I do not hesitate to pick them up at a discount," Bunn told WalletPop in an email. "For instance, last year there were holiday packages of Matchbox cars and Bakugans that my boys love. I purchased them at 30% off at Target the day after Christmas and saved $3 off of every $10 item I bought. Places like Walgreens, instantly put their items at 50% off and it is easy to get little stocking stuffer toys that were $5 or so for $2.50. You aren't saving huge amounts of money on each item, but the savings add up the more you purchase."

Comedian Dan Nainan falls into another category: Not buying anything for anyone. "Years ago, I gave up the idea of buying Christmas presents, and so did my family," Nainan told WalletPop in an email. "The concept of wasting time at overcrowded shopping malls, fighting with people over parking spaces (which is not in the spirit of Christmas), buying stuff for people who don't need it and who will probably return it anyway, and above all else, being part of the sickening overconsumption (just look at trash day the day after Christmas, it's disgusting to see the waste) thank you, but no thank you."

"What's even more disgusting is to see that every year, they hype Christmas earlier and earlier and earlier," Nainan said. "My family, whom I buy no presents for, still loves me, and so do my friends who receive absolutely nothing from me, not even a card."

That's taking the idea of not buying Christmas presents to the extreme, but in the end, he got what everyone's trying to give for Christmas: love.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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