For many families, Costco is just a normal part of their shopping experience. For others, the warehouse club is a place to go for seasonal goodies because it is known for its great deals.
In fact, the Christmas season is an excellent time to shop, either for holiday related items or simply for food, beverages and home goods that will be on special sales at this time of year. Here are eight items experts say are must-buys at Costco every Christmas.
The Christmas season is an excellent one for purchasing pies, according to Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. She recommends Costco’s pecan pie.
“A 70-ounce pie will feed a crowd and it’ll only cost around$16.99 or so. Considering pecans alone can be pretty pricey (even at Costco a 2-pound bag of pecan halves is about $12.99 and that’s not including the other ingredients necessary to make a pie), this is a solid shortcut that’ll still taste great,” said Ramhold.
She added that their apple pie is around $12.99, and “also big enough to feed a crowd, and can easily be heated up for a bit if you want. Add some vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce if you’re feeling fancy or let your guests dig into this holiday classic as it is.”
Percy Grunwald, a personal finance expert and the co-founder of Compare Banks also recommends Costco’s ever-popular 4-pound pumpkin pie, which he said has gained quite the following over the years. “These pies are gigantic, delicious, and affordable. Most families I know always have one on hand during the holidays to feed the rotation of guests.”
If you have a ton of gifts to wrap every year, shopping at Costco for wrapping paper and gift bags is a solid strategy. They currently have a 20-count of Hallmark Holiday Recyclable Gift Bags for just $17.99. Considering single gift bags start at $2.49 at Walgreens, this is a fantastic holiday deal.
Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Ramhold also recommends the delicious ginger beer made by Bundaberg. “They only have them this time of year, and it’s a perfect item to keep on hand for the holidays for mixing cocktails, but it’s also just great to stock up on boxes of them now to get you through the next several months.”
A box of 12 bottles — 12.7 ounces each — is around $21. That works out to $1.75 per bottle, which may sound pricey, but shopping elsewhere means spending $10 or so for a four-pack, so Costco definitely has a winning deal.
One of the best steals at Costco around Christmastime are their beautiful Pendleton blankets, said David Somerville Ph.D., owner of ShoppingWithDave.com. “Many Costco warehouses will carry them. They are ultra soft, cozy and cost less than half of regular retail.”
Christmas Trees and Lights
If you’re looking for a real Christmas tree, Costco is the place to go, according to Oberon Copeland, founder and CEO of Very Informed. “They have a wide selection of both pre-cut and live trees, and they’re all very reasonably priced.” Additionally, he recommends checking out their wide variety of light sets, which he called “very well priced.”
Wine and Other Alcohol
Grunwald said Costco is the place to go for your favorite libations. “Costco provides warehouse pricing on a large range of wine and champagne, whether you want to have wine on hand for hostess presents or will be doing a lot of entertaining in your home. The wholesale business also offers liquor at a cheaper markup than its competitors. It’s an excellent location to get large amounts of wine and liquor for punches.”
If you’ve got family to shop for that you can’t quite pin down on gift ideas, Grunwald recommends purchasing Hickory Farms’ savory gift baskets at Costco, which are typically on sale around Christmas. “Delicious crackers, sausage, and mustard remain shelf-stable and tasty until Christmas, making Hickory Farms gift baskets the ideal gift to stock up on early in the holiday season.”
Christmastime often means big holiday gatherings and the need for meals that will feed a number of people. Nate Shivar, the owner of Shivar Consulting, recommends buying bulk meats at Costco due to their high quality and low prices.
“For big holiday gatherings, steaks, pork chops, etc. are always the most expensive part. Buying them in bulk at Costco can help bring down expenses while getting high-quality meat to serve.”
Jennifer Taylor contributed to the reporting for this article.
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