It is common sense that the decorations, cards, gift wrapping, and gifts are purchased before Christmas. Those of us who really get into the Christmas spirit and go all-out with decorating (dare I say overboard? such thing!) love to find beautiful things in September and October when the stores are well stocked. Heck, it is almost as much fun to shop for Christmas decorations as it is to actually decorate!

But have you ever considered buying Christmas items AFTER Christmas?

And why would anyone in his or her right mind want to do that?

Well, the best reason to shop for Christmas items after Christmas is the price. There are many places that want to get rid of their Christmas stock as early as 6 am on December 26. Some stores may start at a lower discount, say for example 30% the day after Christmas, while other stores dive in and immediately start taking 50-75% off the regular price. Nothing is left out; the stores include everything Christmas related, including ornaments, trees, wreaths, greeting cards, gift wrap, and even food items. It sounds too good to be true, but it is in the stores' best interest to get rid of their Christmas-related inventory as quickly as possible to make room for other items.

There are some 'big-box' stores, such as Walmart, Target, etc. that sell holiday decorations already discounted, whether or not it is before or after the holiday. While these store sell wonderful items for decorating, some of them are not well-made and don't last as long as higher quality items. These are the items I usually purchase before Christmas. I use these as filler items for decorating. An example of a 'filler' item would be an ornament on a tree, wreath, or garland that is there mainly to take up space or fill in a hole. They stay in the background while the nicer and higher-quality items are showcased.

These higher-quality items are the ones that I wait to purchase after Christmas at a discount. Since I love to decorate for the holidays and I try to cover as much of the house and yard as I can, it is in my best interest to spend as little as possible.

So, based on years of research, here are some stores I like to visit on December 26:

Macy's – at a store near you or I have to be honest, I have never purchased Christmas items from Macy's online (although I have maxed out my Macy's card on plenty of other items on their website!). I love their selection, especially their ornaments and dinnerware. This is also my favorite place to buy treats such as Godiva chocolates and Harry and David Moose Munch at a discount. What's that? You've never had Moose Munch? I pity you, my friend, for you have not truly lived. But I dreamily digress. I usually give the discounted treats as gifts for upcoming birthdays and Valentine's Day. Many of them do not have holiday-themed packaging so no one is the wiser!

Oriental Trading Company – online at I love this store. Ok, it can be a little kitschy, but this is the place that I go to get those filler items I mentioned earlier. They have some nice one-of-a-kind pieces too. I usually log on and shop as soon as I get home from raiding Macy's stock.

Kirklands – in store or online at This store carries traditional Christmas decorations and has great after Christmas deals. This is more of a home decorating store, so I love to buy items such as throw pillows, candle holders, wall art, etc.

Yankee Candles (or other popular candle brands) – a girl can never have too many candles, especially around the holidays. Don't waste your money paying full price before Christmas, or any holiday for that matter. Brand name candles can get pricy. Wait and stock up on your favorite scents at a discount!

Bath and Body Works – one of my favorite stores, and one store where I never pay full price for anything. They have great sales year round, and in the last couple of years they have started carrying more holiday-themed items, such as cute soap dispensers or their classics wrapped in holiday packaging. Stock up on sale items that you can give out as gifts next year.

Hickory Farms – this place gets an honorable mention. Although they technically do no sell Christmas decorations, they sell edible goodies, and they are most famous for their cheese and sausage. It's tempting to stop at their temporary kiosk in your local mall, but resist until after Christmas when their summer sausage and cheese balls are on sale. Then when you are done shopping, relax and treat yourself to a tasty snack and a glass of wine.

Shopping for all your Christmas items after the holiday can be just as much fun as shopping before the holidays. Then when you are done, have even more fun organizing all your decorations!

Oh, and seriously, try the Moose Munch. You won't be disappointed!