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11 Grocery Sales You Didn’t Know to Look for Between Thanksgiving and Christmas

The time to stock up on these holiday grocery staples is approaching. Be ready!

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Get ready to save

Grocery shopping is one of the many everyday activities that 2020 has made more difficult, and although most stores are well-stocked these days, you may notice your bill creeping up due to a lack of in-store promotions.

As millions of people stopped eating out at restaurants and began cooking meals at home, supermarkets saw a tremendous increase in volume, says Ernest Baskin, PhD, an assistant professor of food marketing at St Joseph University in Philadelphia. As a result, he says, “Promotions are not as expansive as previous years because demand is still relatively high for those products.” That goes double for these products that are still hard to find in store.

A recent survey of more than 2,000 Americans found that the vast majority—85 percent—reported paying more for groceries since COVID hit. Meat, eggs, and milk were among the more costly items.

But the good news is, as the holidays approach, savings may be in store (literally). Certain items tend to get discounted in the window between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it pays to stock up now. Here are the staples you’ll likely see promotions on in the coming weeks.


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“Not only is the weather colder and people turn more toward warming comfort foods such as soups and stews, but so many traditional holiday recipes use broth as a key ingredient,” says Joaquim Jimenez, general manager of Aneto. “The holiday season is when we see the greatest sales.” From stuffing to gravy, stock is a key ingredient in any holiday feast so stock up (pun intended) while you can. These are more tried and true tricks of frugal shoppers.


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Olives tend to be harvested in the late fall, so they’re at their peak for the holidays, according to Tre Musco, chief brand officer for Musco Family Olive Co. And even better: they tend to go on sale, too. “The average grocery discount for our Pearls and Early California brand olives is 27 percent during the holidays,” says Musco.

With their healthy fats and salty tang, olives are a versatile ingredient in many recipes, as well as a great element to add to any holiday charcuterie board, alone or as tapenade. “We see families serving pitted black olives in a bowl just like their grandmother did,” says Musco.

Olive oil

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This pantry staple doesn’t tend to go on sale often, but with so many people cooking at home, the holidays are one time you will see a slight price dip in olive oil, according to the category management team at California Olive Ranch.

While there are tons of uses for olive oil in cooking and even baking, a fancy bottle also makes a great gift. Olio Nuovo, or the first pressing of oil, which has a distinctive bright green color and fresh taste, can please the foodies on your list.


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Java drinkers have a reason to perk up: While coffee is a year-round staple and can frequently be found on sale, the category is heavily promoted during the holiday season, says Chris Hillman, vice president of marketing for Melitta USA. The reason? “In-home consumption during the holiday period tends to increase as the weather gets colder and consumers entertain more in their homes,” he says. “Some of the best deals of the year can be found just prior to Thanksgiving and through New Year’s.”


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Holidays bring visions of sugarplums, and, frequently, discounts on them, too. “Last year, the average price of candy was $2.99 in November and dropped to $1.99 the first week of December,” says Andy Ellwood, co-founder of Basket, a grocery shopping price comparison app. He went on to say that the average price of candy stayed below $2.25 for the rest of the month of December.”

“The holiday season is synonymous with celebrations, time spent with family, and of course, seasonal sales,” says Kayleigh Westerfield, brand marketing manager for Morinaga America, which owns the popular Hi-Chew line. The brand is planning 12 days of Hi-Chew with unique promotions. “Especially in this current climate, we’re looking forward to bringing joy and fruity, chewy candy to fans across the country,” Westerfield says.


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“Chocolate, like most candy, often goes on sale during the holidays,” says Tim McCollum, founder and CEO of Beyond Good, a chocolate manufacturer. That includes baking chocolate and chips as well as fancier choices ideal for gifting. “Consumers are presented with many, many chocolate choices for gift-giving,” says McCollum. “Why not choose heirloom dark chocolate?”


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Nuts aren’t only a great cocktail snack and charcuterie board must-have—they’re also a staple in holiday baking, points out Craig Tokusato, chief marketing officer for Diamond of California. “To support holiday season store lobby and baking aisle displays, baking nuts often feature promotional prices,” he says. That gives shoppers incentive to stock up for cookies and more.

Jarred pasta sauce

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Stores often discount canned or jarred foods, including tomato sauces, this time of year. “My theory is that people want comfort food because it’s starting to get cold, but because they are so busy during the holiday season they need help to make quick delicious, meals,” says Melissa Vitelli, founder of Jar Goods, a fresh brand of tomato sauces and pestos. “We usually put all of our classic tomato sauces on a 15 percent off sale between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Hummus and other dips

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Dips are the perfect party snack, so people tend to stock up around the holidays when social gatherings happen more frequently. Hummus brand Sabra even makes individual size cups so the germ-conscious can avoid many people reaching into the same container. Sabra products will be on promo/sale at most major retailers throughout the holiday season.

Baking mixes

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Pre-made mixes for cookies, pancakes, and cornbread can be a great shortcut for holiday meals. “Based on previous years, December and November respectively bring the highest rates of consumption for the baking mix category,” says Steve Polonowski, vice president of sales for Simple Mills, whose line of baking mixes is carried at retailers nationwide. “This increase in purchasing has historically lead the category to be promoted quite heavily during this time period.” Doing most of your shopping online? Find out the tips for grocery shopping online.


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A hot drink is welcome as the weather turns cold, and having an assortment of tea on hand for guests can be a great idea. Tea is also super healthy, rich in antioxidants, and soothing for sore throats. Lipton’s wellness teas and herbal supplements such as Stress Therapy, Bedtime Bliss, Immune Support, Detox, Turmeric, and Matcha will be on promotion to help make well-being part of your everyday routine, especially during the busy holiday season. Make sure you know how to steep tea the right way.


Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest