Day-after-Christmas deals and sales

Forget Black Friday. The biggest shopping day of the year for me has always been the day after Christmas.

Dec. 26 is the day my frugal family stocks up on everything from blenders to clothes to gifts for next year. My father (who has purchased any electronics prior to Christmas and is done shopping for the year) stays at home while my mother, sister and I load up at 6 a.m., coffee cups in hand, and head to the outlet malls.

We’re willing to drive more than an hour to our destination that day both because of the bargains we find but also because it’s quality time we spend together. It’s a tradition for us. Sleepily yakking in the car on the way up (sometimes with ice lining the rock walls on the side of the interstate), racing through clearance racks and emerging from the stores as champions, with a $10 cashmere sweater or a $25 pair of boots. It may sound ridiculous that we bond over such an experience, but we love sharing the deals we find with each other.

On a less sentimental note, I’ve never experienced any crazy people fighting over a Tickle-Me-Elmo on Dec. 26. The crowds are still there, mind you, but everyone acts a bit more rationally. Major electronics excluded, it’s a better bargain day than Black Friday — especially for outlet shopping.

If you decide to venture out on Sunday, here’s some helpful information from The Los Angeles Times on making the most of after-Christmas sales.

For outlet shoppers near Atlanta, our major locations have extended their normal hours this Sunday, giving us a little extra time to score a bargain. (But get there when the stores open if you’re serious.)

Tanger Outlet Center: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. 1000 Tanger Drive, Locust Grove. 1-800-4TANGER. Get 60 percent off the Banana Republic Factory store, 60 percent off select items at Calvin Klein, 15 percent off entire purchase at Jockey and more.

North Georgia Premium Outlets: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. 800 Highway 400 South. Dawsonville. 706-216-3609. 50-to-60 percent off anything at Bass, 40 percent off all fall and basic merchandise at Brooks Brothers Factory Store, 30 percent off selected items at Burberry and more.

Calhoun Premium Outlets: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. 455 Belwood Road, Calhoun. 706-602-1305. $15 men’s and women’s sweaters at Gap, 30-to-50 percent off factory store prices at Polo Ralph Lauren, 60-to-75 percent off Van Heusen and more.

Discover Mills Mall: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. 5900 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville. 678-847-5000. Up to 65 percent off items at Last Call by Neiman Marcus, up to 50 percent off select denim, sweaters and outerwear at Guess, BOGO free at Dippin’ Dots and more.

Other mall hours for metro Atlanta.

Whether you’re out hunting for bargains or not, I wish you peace and joy this holiday season.

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