January 19, 2016
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday get all the attention as the best days to find deals on Christmas presents, if you want some serious savings, it all starts the day AFTER Christmas.
Although many people have heard of Boxing Day, few know the origin. The holiday traditionally celebrated on December 26th and commonly known by Catholics as St. Stephen’s Day, Boxing Day originated as a day when servants, tradesmen, and “errand boys” received a Christmas Box from their bosses or employers.1
Now I realize most people can’t (or won’t) wait until after Christmas to shop for presents, and it probably wouldn’t play well with your kids or family, but the deals you can find the week after Christmas make the big name discount days as just routine coupon clipping. In fact, most of the big retailers actually mark down a significant portion of their shelves, racks, and aisles by 50% – 80% BEFORE they send their employees home on Christmas Eve.
This is especially true on seasonal and short-cycle items such as clothes and electronics, where retailers have to make room for next season’s items that will be arriving in early January. They discount heavily to accommodate new inventory, but also to drive any potential revenue before year-end. This motivation is a real boon to thrifty shoppers!
Now this bargain hunting adventure is not for the faint of heart, and that is especially true in 2015. Christmas Day is on a Friday, which means Boxing Day is on a Saturday. Let’s be honest – the malls and big box stores will be an absolute zoo. That day is the biggest return day of the year, and Sunday the 27th will be a close second, but that just means that if you wait until Monday to explore the bargains, the crowds will be more subdued, and the retailers will have had time to re-stock all of the returns they got back over the weekend.
I’ll be honest – I am extremely frugal and hate to pay retail, so I have always loved seeing how great a deal I could get during Boxing Week. In fact, I actually liked getting presents for Christmas that I may not have really wanted or needed. I likened it to playing Let’s Make a Deal – remember that show? I could take my new Christmas sweater/device/sporting good and see if I could get 2 or 3 or more things that I REALLY want; or I could just keep the original gift. Very exciting!
It’s also a great time to redeem any gift cards you have received during the holiday season. Don’t be swayed to pull the trigger on a new item before Christmas if you can wait. Your patience will be rewarded.
I wish you all Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Good Bargain hunting!
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