1. GAMES AND TOYS
You'll find great sales on things to keep the kids busy. Trae says she is seeing a lot of sales on video games, toys, and board games.
And now that Toys R Us is gone, you'll find better toys and games at other stores. Trae says Target, Walmart, and Kohl's are picking up the slack and devoting more floor space to toys. eBay and Amazon are also great places to shop for toys this season.
Target has games, puzzles, and books on sale.
Barnes & Noble has Star Wars and Batman Lego sets for 30 percent off.
Fat Brain Toys has retro toys starting at $1.48.
Look for even better discounts on toys around Super Saturday, December 22.
If you have a handyman or handywoman on your list, Trae says this is a great time to get tools.
Lowe's has tools for up to 45 percent off.
Sears has a 450-piece Craftsman set on sale for $190 down from $460.
And yes, what's left of Sears will be open through the holidays.
3. HOLIDAY DECORATIONS
Trae says you'll see holiday décor deals as deep as 75 percent off this entire month. She recommends buying things you can use all year round, especially when it comes to gift wrap. Trae says go for red, which can also work for Valentine's Day, or metallic, which can also be used for birthday gifts.
December is also great for outerwear. Jackets, coats, and scarves are on sale. Deals will get even deeper after Christmas.
5. GIFT CARDS
Before Christmas, look for great discounts on gift cards.
Gift Card Granny, a site Trae works with, will have thousands of discounted cards. The site's inventory increases this time of year.
WHAT TO AVOID
Just remember to avoid items in the categories of fitness, beauty, and wellness, which are typically deeply discounted in January.
Don't buy linens, either. Department stores have their white sales in January; it is a shopping tradition dating back to the 1800s and is still going strong.
Also, avoid jewelry. The sales won't be great this month. They're best around Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.