You don't have to wonder where the best deals will be on Dec. 26. Many retailers are already posting them online Ann Taylor, Brookstone, Eddie Bauer and Gymboree are among those jumping into post-Christmas mode.Ikea will have a big post-Christmas sale in stores only, but you can preview the discounts now. For an up-to-date list of after-Christmas deals at chain stores that will start before Christmas, visit And for sales at Twin Cities boutiques, click's Sales/Specials.

Stopped by IKEA yesterday in search of…what was I looking for? Oh, a couple of odds and ends like wooden hangers, a stylish dish drying rack (didn’t find one) and nursery knick knacks (decided against them). Nothing urgent, but my almost 4 year old was with me, and he’s finally tall enough to play in the IKEA childcare room where they have a ball pit he loves to jump in. He plays, I run errands, everyone is happy. Except, I wasn’t the only parent with this idea. The wait for the childcare center was 40 minutes when we arrived around 11:30 a.m. on a Monday. And people were actually standing there, just waiting, because they don’t take names. Seriously? Is it worth it? And are all these parents really in such need of new furnishings? I’m betting they just want the child-free hour, even if it means nothing more than browsing a mobbed furniture showroom.