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The after-Christmas shopping spree… time to save, save, save!

January 2, 2011

After Christmas is the perfect time stock up on supplies and necessities for next Christmas, all at bargain basement prices.

To maximize my shopping this week, I sit down with a list, which I save on my computer and amend from year to year.

Once I’ve purchased everything on my list, it gets safely stored away so that next year I won’t have to hunt for ornament hooks or run out at the last minute for more icicles.

Plus, I will be able to wrap presents as I purchase them – a huge bonus for anyone with a houseful of curious little ones!

My top needs this year:

• Wrapping paper
• Curling ribbon
• Tape
• Gift bags
• Tissue paper
• Icicles
• Ornaments
• Ornament hooks
• Craft supplies for new projects
• Christmas cards

All of these items are on sale at ridiculously low prices this week. A few of my favorites places to pick up Christmas bargains are:

Dollar Tree carries a great selection of gift bags, including bags with three dimensional applied artwork, marabou trimmed pieces, and even oversized bags for those large, awkwardly shaped gifts. Plus, solid colors like red, green, gold, purple and royal blue can be put to use for other holidays, birthdays and more. After Christmas, with bags priced at only .50, you can afford to stock up!

Walmart is always my go-to source for wrap. The rolls have enough square footage to complete loads of large presents, and the prices just can’t be beat. My local Walmart still has a huge selection of wrap, including cute kid-friendly patterns in unusual color combinations like penguins frolicking on pink and purple backgrounds, stunning foils, and red and green patterns for the traditionalist. Walmart also has a huge selection of icicles, ornaments, hooks, and even holiday food items like cocoa, flavored coffees and cookies.

The Christmas Tree Shoppe is a great place for curling ribbon (red and green are still in stock) and tissue paper. The tissue comes in loads of color combinations, some of which can be utilized for other holidays and events like birthdays, weddings and more.

For upcoming craft projects I shop at Michael’s and AC Moore, both of which are offering after Christmas clearance at prices up to 70% off! The glass ornament selection at Michael’s this year was amazing, and AC Moore always carries a wonderful range of greenery. And if you’re in the market for an artificial tree, now is the time to pick one up at tremendously discounted prices.

I always stop at my local drug stores like Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS because you just never know what you’ll find — from candles (often solid whites, burgundy, and hunter green, which I use year-round) to Christmas cards, to small stocking-stuffer novelties.

Finally, I like to patronize small mom & pop stores and local boutiques. I often come away with bargains on higher priced items like German nutcrackers, mercury glass ornaments, and charming snow globes. These are usually gifts that are carefully packed away, ready for next year.

Do you have a bargain you’d like to share? Please send me an email about any special sales and discounts and we’ll all be ready for the best Christmas ever!

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur and social activist. In addition to The Best Christmas Ever! Susan also writes the fashion blog Susan Said What?!, McNeill Designs’ corporate blog It’s how you play the game! and the official blog for the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!

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