It’s blazing hot outside – not a snowball in sight – and it’s time to buy for Christmas.
No, we’re not talking big screen TVs or a hot video game system. We’re talking the nuts and bolts of Christmas you can and should shop for right now.
July is traditionally the deadest period of the year for nearly all retailers. It is a month for mark-it-down-and-ship-it-out and stack-it-deep-and-sell-it-cheap.
After all, most folks are vacationing or otherwise occupied with hot-weather pursuits. Absolutely nobody is in the stores.
That’s why the season of sidewalk sales and Christmas-in-July dominates this time of year. Retailers will try anything to get something going. They know that with back-to-school starting there’s nothing much to do other than to clear the decks. And that means savings.
Here are the top five things to buy for Christmas right now:
1. Winter boots, coats and hats
Buried deep on the discount racks way in the far corners of department stores everywhere are off-season goods just begging to be purchased. You’ll have no competition at these racks, so take your time. Yes, the assortment isn’t as great and certain sizes might be hard to find. But the deals are never better than right now and it all goes away within weeks when folks start thinking back-to-school. Don’t hesitate if you know this will be on a wish list this Christmas.
2. Christmas decorations
Seriously. Walk into Hobby Lobby before July 4th and you’ll see fall already on the shelves…and Christmas in abundance. You’ll also notice lots of 50-70% off signs. What you’re seeing is last year’s sets….and they want it gone. The same is true at a number of other retailers who carry Christmas stuff. As their summer and garden product starts to dwindle they have to fill the space with something. Traditionally that space gets filled in August when summer ends for most people. And in August the new Christmas stuff comes in by the boatload. That means the remnants of last year’s boatload has to go. Shop it now before the pundits notice all the Christmas stuff in August and call it all Christmas creep. Right now, it’s discount city.
3. Christmas trees
What’s the difference between last year’s model Christmas trees and this year’s model?
We don’t know either. All we do know is that in many cases the Jacklyn Smith model trees at Kmart this year will be different than they were last year – and last year’s trees will be dirt cheap for about a month. They need them gone. For the best quality trees at the biggest discounts tree local nursery retailers that specialize in Christmas lights and such – they tend to be the most desperate to get rid of last year’s trees before the new trees come in.
Shocked? We were too. But in looking around at stuff that people commonly buy for Christmas tools always rank as a favorite and you can tell that because November and December are the best months traditionally for sales and for deals in tools. The next best month? July. Why? Call it leftover stock from Father’s Day, call it summer blues, call it whatever you want but the trend is clear: tool discounts are real, the variety is exceptional, and they store great until Christmas. Buy it now and you won’t have to haul and hide that heavy stuff in the snow come December.
Well, this seems like a silly one. After all, it’s not like postage is going to be cheaper come December. But that’s not our point in bringing it up. If you’re a Christmas card sender especially buying your postage a week or two at a time is a great way to take care of a hefty holiday expense when it isn’t the holidays. Experts say that sending Christmas cards is a tradition that has fallen by the wayside in recent years and much of that can be attributed to the cost. We say “bunk!” – this is more of an organizational issue. Put yourself on a place to get a book of stamps a week between now and the end of October and you’ll be way ahead when the time comes. Even better, get your Christmas cards in July – lots are on clearance everywhere – and you can practically write and have those babies ready to send by Thanksgiving no problem.