It may be June, but I am busy Christmas shopping!

The temperatures are expected to hit 100 degrees today, but all I can think about are Christmas gifts! This week, I took advantage of some amazing clearance sales and cleaned up for my three teenaged kids at Kohl’s, Sears, and Old Navy.

If you know what styles you are looking for, have a good handle on sizes, and are sure of what’s already in the closet, winter clearance at this time of year can be a treasure trove for holiday gifts. For example, at Kohl’s, much of the winter clearance is now 70, 80 and even 90% off of the original price! For basics like cardigans, tanks and tees, you can stock up!

At Sears, the clearance is marked down to literally pennies on the dollar. Since I know my oldest daughter’s dramatic, slightly bohemian style very well, I splurged on some higher-end jewelry – stunning chandelier earrings, long ropes of Murano beads, and several ethnic-inspired bangles – that will become “extras” in a box with a matching sweater, vest or scarf.

Old Navy was just as lucrative! I purchased a striking “waterfall” sweater that I had eyed up at the start of the fall season. In October the price tag read $39.50. This week I nabbed it for only $6.97!

Of course, shopping this far ahead means that you need to stay organized. (have you ever lost a bag of gifts hidden somewhere in the garage or attic?) I have my designated  “gift closet” cleaned out and ready to go, my list (detailed by person) on the computer, and a budget for each family member firmly set. Now all that’s left is to tick off the items one by one!

So while my friends are sitting by the pool, I am in the mall. But, shopping early allows me to make the holidays so much more meaningful to my family. Avoiding the crazed rush in the fall creates less stress and gives me more time to focus on the fun elements of Christmas — like baking cookies together, decorating and visiting family and friends. Plus, I save so much money, I usually end up giving everyone much, much more (when Ralph Lauren earrings are only .99, why not, right?).

So, where do you shop for winter clearance?

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur and the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait. In addition to The Best Christmas Ever! Susan also writes the fashion, beauty and style blog Susan Said What?!


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