You may see a lot of bargains in the shops and online this season. But there's an even better place to find a good deal these days. I'm talking about the stock market. This year's long sell-off has weighed on the valuations of stocks across industries and left many at dirt-cheap levels. And this equals a buying opportunity for you.

"But what if these stocks fall even further?" you might wonder. Well, it's impossible to effectively time the market, and it's a bad idea to try. So the best thing you can do is buy strong stocks when their valuations are reasonable -- and then hold onto them for the long term. If your stocks gain, you'll still benefit even if you didn't buy them at their cyclical low points.

If you're ready to give this winning strategy a try, here are two smart stocks I'd recommend buying before the new year.

1. Teladoc Health

Teladoc Health (TDOC 0.26%) stock soared during the early part of the pandemic. Patients flocked to telemedicine providers -- and Teladoc's visits and revenue climbed by triple-digit percentages.

But the company has demonstrated it isn't a pandemic-only business. Teladoc's revenue already was on the rise before COVID-19 struck. And in this later stage of the health crisis, it continues to post double-digit percentage gains in revenue and visits. Teladoc also has built a solid client base, serving more than half of the companies in the Fortune 500.

Another positive point: Contracts are getting bigger. Its average deal size today is 50% bigger than a year ago.

So why is Teladoc stock heading for the end of 2022 with a mind-boggling 70% year-to-date decline? The company reported billion-dollar non-cash goodwill impairment charges in the first two quarters linked to its acquisition of Livongo. This was disappointing news. But the Livongo purchase still gives Teladoc strengths in the chronic care space -- a key growth area. So this purchase could pay off over the long term.

The third quarter brought investors some good news. Teladoc's loss narrowed. And the company continued to grow its U.S. member numbers and its revenue per member metric. This is important because it should support revenue growth.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the telemedicine market is on the rise. In North America alone, it's expected to register a compound annual growth rate of about 19% through 2030, according to Grand View Research.

Today, Teladoc shares are trading at their cheapest level ever in relation to sales. This is a major bargain considering the company's long-term potential.

2. Abbott Laboratories

There are two reasons to like Abbott Laboratories (ABT -0.27%). First, let's talk about passive income. Abbott will pay you well just for owning the stock. Dividends are great any time. But it's particularly nice to have this guaranteed income during tough market times.

And Abbott isn't just a dividend stock -- it's a Dividend King. This means it has raised its payouts annually for at least the past 50 consecutive years. So you probably can count on your dividend payments progressively growing further.

Now for the second reason to like Abbott. The company is diversified across four businesses: medical devices, diagnostics, nutrition, and established pharmaceuticals. This is positive because even when one of those businesses faces challenges, the others may still be gaining ground.

Abbott has grown its free cash flow and return on invested capital over time.

ABT Free Cash Flow Chart

ABT Free Cash Flow data by YCharts.

And it recently increased its full-year earnings-per-share forecast.

All of this means you can count on Abbott for passive income, earnings growth, and good use of its cash -- a great mix. At today's valuation of 20 times forward earnings estimates, Abbott's a stock you won't want to miss.