Christmas has come and gone, but one thing has stayed the same. The sales. The one thing I've noticed over the years is that the closer to the holiday you get, the cheaper things are.

I have gone shopping before and after Christmas and gotten way better deals than expected. I know it's not the first thing that comes to your mind, but shopping on Christmas Eve can be quite fun. This year was the first year where I bought everything I wanted the day before Christmas.

I'm not saying do this for gifts you get everyone else but think about doing this for the gifts you get yourself. After most holidays and seasons come to an end, a lot of stores have major sales. It's a way to get rid of the collection they have and make room for a new one.

Why not start taking advantage of this sale? That question began my almost annual shopping spree the days before and after Christmas. It is something that I like to think of as a holiday tradition.

This year my family and I spent our holiday out of town. Lucky for me, a couple of my favorite stores were around. I kept my tradition alive by buying myself a lot of Christmas gifts.

The first store we went to was Hot Topic. This specific Hot Topic was getting shut down and was having an "everything must go" sale. It was the first time I had ever seen a Hot Topic have sixty-five percent off of regular price.

My little brother and I used that sale to our full advantage. What should have been hundreds of dollars of merchandise came to be like eighty bucks. I know that can kind of sound pricey, but once you see how much we bought you'd be surprised too.

Since we had so much luck with Hot Topic, my mom decided we were going to a few more of my favorite stores to see if they were having sales too. My family has this running joke that I am the sales finder, no matter where we go, I gravitate towards clearance items and bargain barrels. You could say it's like my hidden superpower.

I think it's just another way for my parents to call me cheap. Which is true, I never make big spender risks…unless it's on food. Food is the only time I will willingly spend a lot of money.

The next store my family and I decided to hit up was the Adidas store. And can I just say they were having a pretty good sale and the store was packed! My mom and I almost lost my little brother on the way to check out.

Of course, he was distracted and off in his own world, but we made it to check out in one piece. The adventure then continued to Forever 21, and if you know me, Forever 21 and Hot Topic are my two weaknesses. What makes it even better is that Forever 21 was also having a sale.

Everything in Forever 21 was fifty percent off. I immediately started looking around and grabbing things I wanted. My mom and little brother were kind of used to me disappearing on them in stores when I see something I want.

We did however conveniently find each other by the bargain bin, again (it's like they know where to find me or something). With three very heavy bags of clothes and miscellaneous (I mean who knows when it comes to Hot Topic) I was satisfied with my findings for the day. Ready to go back to the hotel and rest up for Christmas.

That was the before Christmas, the after was just as fun. Another thing you'll learn about me when getting to know me is that I really like reading. No lie I have a bookshelf in my room that is overflowing. So the obvious after Christmas store on my list was Barnes and Nobles.

Barnes and Nobles has always been my favorite place to get stationary, records, and duh books. I had so many new reads to find and I was on a mission to get a book that my little brother might actually pay attention to. Imagine my surprise when the book he wants, as well as four more shelves, get marked to fifty percent off.

I bought a lot of books. My mom even finally bought me the Harry Potter book set that I may or may not have wanted for years. All in all another day where I was satisfied with my purchases.

So maybe next holiday season when you start getting stressed why not go to the clearance section first? And if you can hold off maybe wait to buy a gift. Hold on, that may be terrible advice.

Maybe Don't wait until the last minute to buy someone else a gift, but when the holiday stress starts getting to you why not get a gift (or more) for yourself? Start the new year off right and treat yourself to a gift. Who else is going to get you what you want? Santa?