helping you shop smarter

Preparing for the Holidays – Buying Food at Christmas

Cooked Turkey at Christmas

Preparing for the Holidays is something we in the industry do without even thinking. Christmas is predictable. So is the end of Christmas – where every December 23rd and 24th where people come in rushing to find an ingredient no other store in town has left. These ingredients vary and are not limited to the items on the following list:

  • Canned Gravy
  • Canned Cranberries
  • Fresh Cranberries
  • Boxed Stuffing Mixes
  • Pillsbury Christmas Cookie Mixes
  • Egg Nog
  • Aerosol Whipping Cream
  • 35% Whipping Cream

It happens every year. And it usually happens for one of two reasons (the aerosol whip cream shortage of 2016 would be an anomaly) – the item will have almost no demand right after Christmas and no store wants to be stuck with them, or another store has run out of said item which causes a surge in demand at the remaining stores. The second point is one that no store can foresee. But it’s something that thanks to me, you can foresee, and plan for!


Preparing for the holidays is a lot easier than it seems. Take a look at seasonal items in the last two weeks before Christmas. All stores should be fully stocked on these items and by now many of them should have sale pricing on these items as well. This is the time to buy. If you want to be extra prepared, purchase your canned gravies, boxed stuffing mixes, and aerosol whip creams in November. Stores sell these items all year round.


If you’re running around with one day to go before the big meal and cannot find these items anywhere, remember that you’ve had every opportunity to buy that item on any one of your dozens of prior shopping trips that calendar year. If this sounds like you, remember that nobody made you wait. Remember there’s nothing that the staff can do for you. And remember that nobody but you is responsible for missing your key item or ingredient. Being prepared is just one more way that you can also become a better customer.


If you absolutely must wait until the very end, prepare to do more running around. My suggestion to prepare for your needs in advance comes after years and years of seeing desperate people looking everywhere for items that we don’t have because in two hours we will close for Christmas and nobody will want them again for a very long time. Shop for your Christmas needs in advance for yourself, your sanity, and your family.

About the Grocery Store Insider

The Grocery Store Insider has worked in grocery retail for close to 20 years, and has worked in multiple areas of the store including produce, fresh meats, deli, produce, dry grocery, frozen foods, dairy, and checkouts. The Grocery Store Insider also has a College diploma in Business Administration-Marketing.