The Best and Worst Things to Buy in December

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After the excitement of November’s Black Friday sales, you may wonder how December can possibly compete. But there are tons of savings to be had in the run-up to Christmas! We’re sharing the best buys of December — and everything you should skip.

10 things to buy in December

Some of the best things to buy this December include:

Gift cards

Although they’re not the most creative stocking stuffers, gift cards are actually the second-most-wanted gifts this holiday season, ranking just behind electronics, according to WalletHub. Luckily, we saw more gift card deals last December than in any other month, with offers to suit everyone on your gift list — from Domino’s pizza lovers to Nintendo fans.

We expect $100 iTunes gift cards to fall to $85, while $100 Xbox Live cards will hit the year’s best price of $80.

Target traditionally knocks 10 percent off all store gift cards in its best offer of the year come December, while cards for major retailers like Lowe’s sell at 10 percent off on eBay.

It’s not just cheap gift card offers that will help you save, either. Many retailers offer bundle deals come December that will help you save on big-ticket tech items. Last year, Dell offered gift cards worth up to $300 with TV and game console purchases. That helped undercut prices at Amazon and Best Buy.

Starbucks usually hosts one of the most popular deals of the month, too — last year, it gave away $5 gift cards with the purchase of two holiday drinks.

Christmas decorations (after Christmas)

It should come as no surprise that holiday decorations will see their biggest discounts from Dec. 26 onward. Most stores, including IKEA and Crate & Barrel, kicked off their winter clearance sales on the day after Christmas last year.

However, Amazon and Home Depot offered the most substantial savings — 75 percent to 80 percent off seasonal decor. Expect festive lights to fall to around $4 after the holiday, while highly discounted inflatables should start at $20.

Those shopping for holiday decor for this year should look to Walmart, as we listed more festive Editors’ Choice from there before Christmas than any other store. Walmart sold ornament sets from just $2, and 6-foot artificial trees for $14 during the first week of December 2017. Also, keep in mind that fresh-cut trees will start seeing steep discounts around Dec. 20.


Yes, Black Friday is simply the best time of year to buy a TV. But, if you were too busy spending time with family (or working) to shop Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals, know that you can still save big on TVs through the first two weeks of December.

Not only did stores like Best Buy and Costco bring back their Black Friday discounts, but some have a history of undercutting them — we saw as much as a 24 percent price drop on lower-end 32-inch TVs and a 10 percent drop on select 40-inch and 60-inch units a week or two after Black Friday last year!

Select iPhones

Although Black Friday is the best time of year to shop previous-generation Apple gadgets, if you didn’t secure a great price on the iPhone 8 or X, never fear! December promises to bring some substantial savings, too.

Last December saw all-time price lows on the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 7, so we’re expecting strong iPhone 8 and iPhone X offers to hit our inbox. We’ve already seen these 2017 releases fall to $400 and $779 respectively, but we’re hoping to see another significant drop in December.

Video games

We actually listed 55 percent more Editors’ Choice deals on video games in December than during Black Friday week last year. In 2017, many of the year’s AAA titles like Prey and Call of Duty: WWII fell to all-time lows in the run-up to the holidays. And then-new sports games like FIFA 18 were as low as $24 just a few days before Christmas.


A fine example of what to buy before the new year is jewelry. We’ll see more offers for this category in December than in January or February 2019, so you may want to buy that Valentine’s gift a couple of months early.

Kohl’s hosted the best sale of December last year, when it knocked 40 percent off all fine jewelry — some of which was already massively discounted.

Amazon’s “daily deal” section should also be on your radar, but those who are really strapped for cash should click through to Win Pearl, which sold pearl necklaces and bracelet sets for under $10. Elsewhere, Swarovski crystal pendants started at around $12, while diamond pieces were discounted to $75.


If you’re partial to the finer things in life, know that you can cut costs on luxuries like Champagne. According to Reader’s Digest, December is the very best time of year to splurge on bubbly, as competition drives prices down during the busy party season. GuildSomm even found that 22 percent of all Champagne sales are rung in during this month. Shoppers can save around 50 percent on their purchases by hitting the stores in mid- to late-December.

Wedding dresses

Wedding dresses traditionally hit their best-ever prices in December for many reasons. Bridal stores try to offload dresses in order to boost end-of-the-year sales, but also to clear the shelves for the influx of new styles they’ll receive at the end of the year. Wedding expert Linda DiProperzio told Fox Business that you can save up to 30 percent on your dress purchase if you don’t mind buying last season’s styles.

Golf clubs

As with most outdoor activities, the golf season tames as the cooler weather begins. As such, December is a great time to buy a new set of clubs. Retailers will be looking to clear out their inventories in time for the release of new lines in the new year.


December has plenty of holidays to look forward to, but we like the sound of National Cookie Day the most. On Dec. 4, you don’t need to spend a single cent, as many top stores and restaurants will offer free baked goods.

Last year, Great American Cookie Co. offered a free sweet treat with no minimum purchase required, while Hershey’s and Insomnia Cookies had freebies when you bought something in-store on the day. Whole Foods even got in on the celebration by knocking 50 percent off select freshly baked goods.

4 things not to buy in December

There are several items you should wait to buy until after the end of the year. They include:

High-end electronics

If you’re planning to shop premium electronics, know that many top brands introduce new models of high-end computers and top-of-the-range TVs at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. As a result, 2018 models will generally hit better prices when the new lines of futuristic tech are announced in Las Vegas.

Of course, not everything follows this cycle. Smartphones tend to be announced in late spring, while Apple products keep their own individual annual schedule.
Following the electronics show, which takes place during the second week of January, look for deals on sophisticated tech like smart home appliances, 3-D printers, and VR headsets.

New cars

If you’re updating your vehicle at the end of this year, hold off until the very end of December to make your purchase. Autotrader suggests waiting until the end of the month, and the end of a quarter or year particularly, to get the very best discounts on the previous year’s line of cars.

If you’re updating your vehicle at the end of this year, hold off until the very end of December to make your purchase.

Exercise equipment

Gym owners and fitness retailers alike know that January is a month of renewal for many people, so they’ll drop their best discounts of the season come the new year. We’ve also found that January sees around six times the number of deals on exercise equipment compared with December — with prices of kettlebells and yoga equipment selling for under $7 in the first month of the year, and exercise bikes starting at around $60.

Broadway show tickets

You may be planning to catch a show this holiday season, but know that you will see far better discounts on Broadway tickets in January. Not only is it regarded as a slow month on the scene, but Broadway Week falls in January, a time when you can shop highly discounted tickets and even score BOGO free offers for many popular showtimes.

You can book these low-cost concessions from Jan. 5. So, consider buying a gift card for your “Hamilton”-crazed loved one instead of a ticket, as he or she may get more bang for their buck come the new year.

More from DealNews:

What’s on your shopping list for December? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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