This Christmas, plenty of gift cards filled stockings and made great gifts for under the tree. But what can we do to save money, time and hassle when it comes to using all that plastic?

Many people received gift cards under their Christmas tree this year. Now it’s a great time to use them and get a great deal.

"Well, I got mainly gift cards. I got this nice one from Penny’s for $100," one local resident said.

"Gift cards have become extremely popular over the last three or four or five years. Grandma can get the right size and the right color by getting the gift card” Tod Herring, manager at JC Penny, said.

"Absolutely, every year, gift cards seem to be that extra add-on or especially for your hard to buy teenagers and pre-teens, gift cards are always a good option” Susan Westfall, manager at Target, said.

You have the gift what?

"Well, the gift card from a retailer's perspective is brand loyalty. So, the giver, they don't know what you are going to get for yourself, but they want control over where it's from." Herring said.

Store managers tell me you can do all sorts of different things with gift cards, such as selling them for cash or buying things with gift cards for less than face value.

"The absolute best value for customers is going to be on clearance type merchandise, where the first mark downs will be 50 to 70 percent off. Some coupons are applicable on that, if you are part of our rewards program -- all of that money could be applied to clearance,” Herring said.

"Do your homework and then compare prices because everyone is running different promotions and different specials. Pay attention to the activation charges and any kind of minimal balance or activation fees that they’ll charge on cards,” Westfall said.

And another tip: it’s never a bad idea to search for discounts before putting your gift cards to use.