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Hit the after-holiday sales in stores or online to score sweet deals on items your parent group can use all year.

by Terri Frank


Markdowns after holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Fourth of July can save parent groups significant cash on decorations, toys, gadgets, cleaning supplies, and more items that can be used all year long. Some stores slash prices anywhere from 75% to 90%, with online retailers matching those deals and offering free shipping.

If your group has the budget and storage space, hit holiday sales throughout the year and stock up on these clearance deals before they’re gone.

Gift wrap makes great table coverings for art projects and holiday shops. It also makes festive bulletin board backgrounds and can be used for seasonal door decorating contests. If you run a holiday shop, buy as many bows, bags, and supplies as you can to make gift wrapping quick and easy.

No matter what color they are, storage bins will protect your event decorations, printed documents, and the mascot costume from the elements. Label each bin with gaffer tape and a marker to help board members easily find what they’re looking for. (Seriously, can anyone have too many bins?)

Christmas ornaments are a favorite gift choice for the elementary school set so pick up a selection for next year’s holiday shop.

Get a free “elf bucks” template to make your holiday shop inclusive

Dog and cat toys are surprise best sellers at DIY holiday shops thanks to kids who don’t want to leave the family pet out of celebrations.

Gift baskets make fun auction items and staff appreciation gifts. Swap out holiday-specific cellophane and ribbons for wrapping in school colors, and add extra items depending on the event theme.

Cleaning supplies are on most teachers’ wish lists, so pick up seasonal-theme soaps, hand sanitizers, and disinfectants when you find them. Teachers won’t care what the bottle looks like as long as what’s inside does the job.

Small electronics and accessories, like ear buds or pop sockets, are sought-after prizes and incentives for your next pledge fundraiser or field day.

Pencils, erasers, and highlighters from clearance bins can replenish a teacher’s classroom supply closet. They also make good prizes.

Insulated bottles and tumblers from the clearance aisle at the grocery store make great end-of-year appreciation gifts for the parent group board members, volunteers, or teachers. Fill them with candy and a gift card as a way to say thanks.

Small toys like mini yo-yos or games can be found in a store’s party section and are fun prizes for your next bingo or trivia night event.

Originally posted in 2020 and updated regularly.

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