Every month of the year, certain items are discounted due to overstock, holiday sales, or transitions from one season to the next. Here are the shopping highlights for December in Hawai’i stores. Of course, we think the best way to save money is not to spend it! But, when you need or want to, plan your spending to take advantage of the times of the year when what you buy is at the lowest possible price.
- Special events with shopping discounts and deals in December include the week before Christmas and the day after Christmas.
Discounted seasonal items to buy in December
After Thanksgiving, keep an eye out for Thanksgiving and autumn-themed décor at steep discounts and stock up for next year. Sales of leftover Christmas items begin a few days before Christmas. Popular items typically sell out. In any case, find discounts on everything from lights and ornaments to artificial trees and Christmas greeting cards, gift wrap and bows, and holiday home décor. Prices are slashed further the day after Christmas and again about a week later, though selection continues to diminish greatly the farther away you get from December 26.
Baking ingredients including butter, sugar, flour, nuts, and chocolate tend to be plentiful and there are some deals to be had. If you have some freezer space, stock up on baking supplies you might need through spring for your family, bake sales, or for entertaining. One item that’s often not on sale is eggs, because supplies tend to be lower in winter months—wait until spring to stock up on eggs.
Meat roasts, whole turkeys, and hams
Meats, especially big-ticket roasts such as beef rib roast, whole turkeys, and whole ham are plentiful. Keep an eye on prices and put some away in a free-standing freezer, if you have one, which is cold enough (<0F) for longer storage of several months. The one in your refrigerator (10-32F) is only good for about one-month storage. You can also cut large roasts into smaller portions to use for family meals at substantial savings: cut rib roasts into steaks, cut turkeys into quarters, and cut large hams into smaller roasts or slices. Prices will drop right after Christmas as retailers start to clear out excess stock—so think ahead to meats for the grill.
If you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party or want to stock up on some bubbly for a holiday dinner or a few hostess gifts for events throughout the year, December is a great time to buy champagne and sparkling wine. You can find bottles from $10-$30 and of course a lot more.
You can save by buying gift cards at a discount. Find a big list of restaurant and retail gift card deals at our “mother” site, LivingontheCheap.com.
PJs, Slippers, and Bath Robes
A classic family gift, pajamas and other bedtime clothes such as slippers and bath robes are gifts under many Christmas trees. There’s lots of selection and prices are generally good. However, if you aren’t in need of a gift, you’ll find steep discounts on these items after Christmas, though of course the selection dwindles.
December is one of the best months of the year to buy jewelry (the other is early April). So, it’s a good time to buy gifts for holiday gifts now, as well as a gift for Valentine’s Day.
December is one of the best months to buy toys for both selection and price, though leftovers will be discounted in January. The exception is summer toys, which are usually best purchased either ahead of summer (April-June) or during summer closeouts. In December, you might want to think ahead to birthday presents and stock up now on toys you know your keiki will want.
Electronics (aka big people toys)
New models for electronics of all kinds hit the market in January, following the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This gargantuan tech industry event makes December a good month to buy many types of electronics in stores and online. Look for steep discounts on new, but outgoing models on TVs, phones, cameras, and video games. There should be another sale in February on closeouts for outgoing models, but the selection is generally lower.
Fresh produce in season in December
Local fruits & vegetables
December is peak season for locally grown fruits and vegetables:
- Hawaii-grown fruits in season: atemoya (custard-apple), citrus (lime, orange, pummelo/pomelo, tangerine), rambutan, and starfruit
- Hawaii-grown vegetables in season: avocado, corn, pumpkin (kabocha, winter squash), taro, and zucchini.
For more information about local produce, check our list of Hawaiian Islands Farmers Markets
Citrus fruits (grapefruit, lemon, orange, pomelo, tangerine, clementine, kumquat, etc.) from farms in California and Florida are in season from November to April. Here are some things to know about buying citrus fruits:
- Specific types of citrus fruit ripen at different times. For example, grapefruit tend to ripen all season long, navel oranges ripen before Valencia oranges, and Meyer lemons ripen mid-season.
- Fresh citrus fruit lasts longest when stored in cool (40°F to 50°F), dry (60 to 70 percent RH) conditions. For optimal storage, place citrus in a basket to allow for good air circulation and to prevent mold growth. In the refrigerator (<40°F), store citrus loose in the vegetable bin or in the large compartment a plastic bag with vent holes.
- Buy citrus by the case if you have room to store it in the refrigerator, preferably in a single layer. Citrus will keep one to four weeks, depending on variety (firmer varieties such as oranges and grapefruits keep longer than squishier varieties such as tangerines). Don’t keep citrus in carboard box, since the cardboard tends to hold moisture that will make the fruit mold and spoil quickly.
- Check citrus fruits every couple of days and feel for soft spots on the rind—a sign the citrus is starting to spoil, so separate these from other fruit and consume within a day or two.
- Discard any fruit that becomes moldy. Mold tends to send invisible tendrils throughout food that can make susceptible people sick, even if the visible mold is trimmed away.
Other fresh winter fruits
Other fresh fruits in season in December include cranberries, persimmon, and pomegranates.