After Christmas Sales — What to Buy!
Garlands in lots of colors. If you get neutral garlands now (plain silver or red), you can use them all year long. These are especially great for bulletin board borders and other little decorating extras. I bought a couple extra red garlands last year and pulled them out in February for Valentine’s Day.
BIG shopping bags and Tissue Paper for concerts. I have to hold my holiday concerts off site at a high school nearby since my school does’t have a space large enough to hold all the kids and parents. The high school is busy and I hardly have any time to decorate the stage/space and set up before concerts. Usually I get about 30 minutes to set up the sound system, risers, decorations, microphones, and anything else I would need to make sure the concert happens. So, I need quick decorations that other teachers and parents can put up quickly.
I buy big gift bags and cheap tissue paper to open up and set out. The bags and tissue fold easily for travel to the high school an dit only takes a second to open them up and add some paper to make it look like an actual gift/present to put under the tree. This quick and tricky decoration makes the stage look cute in a flash and is easy to store and reuse for many years. I buy bags with Rudolph, Santa, and things like “Fa la la la” on them. I try and get big bags because the bigger they are the better they show up easier from a distance. I also look for bags that aren’t too themed so that I can use them again in the future for whatever Holiday program that I come up with even if it’s not Santa or Christmas related. This is something you can also get donated by parents/other teachers.
Wrapping Paper. Want a cool background for that wintery bulletin board in January or February? Go and get some wrapping paper now and put it up on your boards later. In fact, I got a cool red paper with snowflakes that I love using in February. You can find lots of cheap papers that are great throughout the Spring semester (or to use during December!).
Thank You Cards Do you give thank you cards out after concerts? Maybe you give them to students who have helped you throughout the year? Secretaries for their great work in helping you schedule your programs and for EVERYTHING else they do? Buy the holiday themed thank you cards now and save them for next year. They’ll be much cheaper after the big holiday and there are still some cute styles left!
Electrical Odds and Ends
Electrical timers. I have about four lamps in my room (depending on the time of year, sometimes I add twinkle lights or other little lamps) and I’ll tell you, it’s a pain to turn them on and off each morning. Another teacher I know who uses lamps in their room has a kid come in each morning and evening to turn them on and off. Self timers make turning on/off your classroom lamps really easy. Lights turn on right before school starts and turn off at 4 p.m. when we’re done. You can use them all year round for anything from lamps to fish tank lights to anything else. They’re cheaper right now so if you’re gonna get em, get em now!
Electrical cords. Same as above, if you’re going to get extra electrical cords, get them now. You can find power bars, outlet splitters, extension cords, and other accessories on super sale. Your selection might be limited to “evergreen” colors but that doesn’t bother me with how cheap they are.
Computer accessories. Lots of stores (especially the office ones) have little trinkets like USB splitters, fun tape dispensers, Sharpie pens, and more on sale. Big stores purchase items like this in bulk to be sold as stocking stuffers but you can use them in the classroom and at your desk.
Miscellaneous Holiday Themed
Know anyone at your grocery store or your favorite retail store? Sometimes they’ll have big Nutcracker-themed or Santa-themed display boards that they’re just gonna throw away. If you know a manager or ask somebody in charge, they’ll often be happy to give those displays to you instead of throwing them out (they especially like making these donations to teachers!).
Santa hats. You never know when you’ll need em for concerts or decorating or holiday parties. They’re usually $1 each year at the Dollar Tree but right about now they’re usually $.33 each. This year I needed something extra for my after-school choir to us at a performance so I reached into my Santa box. In just a few seconds they were all looking festive and bright.
Start looking for fun “After-New Years” Sales to pick up those “year specific” items like table decoration, year-themed glasses, streamers, plates, etc. A lot of times you can find items printed with the year (e.g. “2013!”) around New Years Eve or in April/May for graduation decoration. I buy those items on sale and use them to decorate my door and hallway at the beginning of the following school year. Back to school? Why not have the year printed on colorful streamers and a banners above your door that says “Happy New Year!” Kids won’t know that it’s a left-over New Years decoration.
Is there anything that I missed or forgot to mention on this list? Do you have any “after Christmas” decorating finds that you always look for? I’d love to know about what’s on your list. Leave a comment below in the comment section to share!