As the classic holiday song proclaims, it’s once again “the most wonderful time of the year” — although it doesn’t always feel that way if you’re trying to check items off your wish list.
Despite inflation concerns, consumer demand remains high. Supply-chain shortages prompted many people to shop early, but signs show these issues are easing. “Some supply chain issues are starting to work themselves out so, in December, shoppers may see some unexpected sales as inventories begin to resupply,” says Vipin Porwal, founder and consumer expert at Smarty.
So even if you didn’t get a big jump on your holiday shopping, you still have plenty of time to snap up deals. Here are some of the best things to buy in December — and a couple you should skip for now.
What to buy in December
4K TVs and accessories
If you’re hoping to curl up in front of a new TV this holiday, Porwal says he anticipates seeing added inventory in December of 4K TVs and accessories. “Prices and availability look to be just as good as they were during the Thanksgiving weekend and on Cyber Monday, and may even be better the closer we get to Christmas,” he says. “Expect up to 50 percent off LED units — and some OLED 50-inch to 70-inch 4K TV models may have the best of the smart TV deals: $250 to $700 on quality name-brands including Samsung, TLC and LG.” You’ll find deals both in stores and online at retailers including Walmart, Best Buy and Target.
If streaming services are on your list, Porwal says that paid TV and music streaming platforms — Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Paramount Plus, Apple Music, Spotify and more — all have their best specials on single services and bundles during this time of year.
“Streaming devices from Roku, Apple TV, Google TV and Amazon Fire TV have plenty of inventory and the pricing is around 30 percent off their most advanced and updated devices,” he says. Plus, adding subscriptions for digital streaming services to your gift lists means you won’t need to pay up for shipping.
Digital security gear
Although digital security tools aren't the most obvious items for holiday wish lists, they are still important purchases — and the good news is there are deals to be had. “This is a great time to take advantage of deals on digital security, like a VPN for your home computer, which will encrypt your online activity and add a layer of protection for your financial and personal data,” Porwal says. “Some of the most trusted VPNs, such as NordVPN, are offering subscriptions up to 70 percent off in December.”
Cookware and kitchen gadgets
There’s nothing like a chill in the air to inspire people to get cooking. This year, Porwal says shoppers can expect exclusive savings and prices of up to 30 percent off on quality name-brand cookware, dinnerware, glassware and small kitchen appliances.
“Major department stores with more traditional brick-and-mortar presences, like Kohl’s, Macy’s and JCPenney, are struggling to keep up with the Amazons and Walmarts of the world, so they will lay it all on the line in December by offering deep savings to win shoppers,” he says. “This is where holding out for the monthly Kohl’s discount that stacks with Kohl’s Cash, or shopping during Macy’s exclusive Sunday sales, will be your best bet.”
What to skip in December
Cold weather apparel
If a new winter coat is on your list, you may want to wait before bundling up in something brand-new. “While outdoor gear makes for great gifts, this year you’ll find better deals and selection on winter clothing, coats, boots and accessories come January as winter sales kick in,” Porwal says. “The savings will range from 20 percent to 40 percent off and the prices get better the longer you wait in the new year.”
Video games and consoles
Video games and consoles top many a wish list, which means they’re in high demand — and unfortunately in very low supply. “If you can find them at all, especially a PS5 or Xbox Series X console, the prices to get them right away are inflated, so be careful,” Porwal says. “Waiting until the supply is back to normal could really pay off, as prices for console bundles will come back to a more reasonable range soon in the new year.”