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10 Dollar Store Ideas for Christmas Celebrations

Find toys, gift wrap, holiday decorations and candy at affordable prices

Assorted candles on display with a Christmas tree in the background
Dollar General

Prices are up this year, but people still want to celebrate the winter holidays in a big way. Dollar stores offer a wide variety of holiday essentials — from greeting cards to decorations and gifts — at affordable prices.

In fact, more than one-third of U.S. households say their financial situation is worse than last year, according to the 2022 Deloitte Holiday Survey. As consumers look for ways to beat inflation, their budget for Christmas gifts, stocking stuffers and decorations may stretch further at dollar stores.

“If you’re short on time and need a quick stocking stuffer, the dollar store needs to be on your short list of stores to hit,” says Michael Helwig, an interior decorator in Buffalo, New York. In addition to countless smaller gift possibilities, such as earbuds, keychains, magnets and nail polish, shoppers will find larger items like books and dinnerware.

They’ll also find a wide mix of holiday accessories. Stephanie Andrews, owner of Balance Design in Atlanta, found some dollar store websites “beautifully organized, and I did not feel overwhelmed by too much clutter, as I do when I go into the stores.”

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Most items really do cost $1 at such retailers as 99¢ Only Stores, Dollar General and Family Dollar, though some things can cost more, especially if you shop online, where you may have to buy in bulk. Items at Dollar Tree now typically cost $1.25 or more, and most products at Daiso, the Japanese dollar store, cost more than that.

Here are 10 Christmas ideas from dollar stores.

1. Wrapping supplies

“Dollar stores are great places to save a bit of money on things like gift wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbons, bows and anything else you need [for] a spectacular gift,” says Michael Helwig, an interior decorator in Buffalo, New York. You’ll also find practical supplies like cellophane tape and scissors.

2. Toys for tots

Dollar stores are a treasure trove of inexpensive toys for children. At Dollar Tree, you’ll find a variety of Black dolls, puzzles and Mattel Hot Wheels cars for $1.25 each. For a little more, try Dollar General online, which sells popular Disney and Marvel Lego kits for $10.50 and $20. When purchasing, consider that some dollar stores have been criticized for selling low-quality children’s toys that may break easily or contain parts that are choking hazards. 

3. Holiday decorations

Decorating the front door and fireplace mantel are popular this year as people look to make their homes warm and welcoming for visiting family and friends. Dollar stores have a wide selection of ornaments and yard decorations, from glittery garlands to wreaths.

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Once again this year, dollar stores are offering more than the traditional red and green for Christmas ornaments; soft pink, cream and aqua are available too. They come in matte, mirror and glitter finishes, in various sizes.

The soft pink is “gorgeous,” says Helwig. “Use them to embellish a gold-and-pink-themed Christmas tree or mix them with silver for an updated glamorous look — a perfect and very inexpensive way to update your Christmas accent colors.”

Cookies on display in a holiday dish
Dollar General

4. Kitchen aids

If you’re cooking for Christmas, disposable foil pans that cost as little as 85 cents will make cooking and cleanup easier. You’ll also find holiday-themed containers for storing leftovers in your refrigerator or to fill with take-home treats for guests.

5. Settings for the table

Dollar stores have plenty of other disposables, including colorful paper plates, napkins, plastic utensils and even plastic wineglasses. To add some glamour, Andrews says 13-inch plastic charger plates in faux oak or gold and silver with details like fluted edges or beaded rims from Dollar Tree will “look lovely as the base for your place setting.”

Dollar stores also offer stoneware and holiday-themed ceramic dinnerware. And Dollar General even has stainless steel forks, spoons and knives, 3-packs for $1.

6. Themed gifts

Dollar stores have all the makings for themed fun — either as a gift or for a family experience.

“I love going through all the aisles and picking up items to make [personalized] gift bags or baskets,” Helwig says. You’ll find cocoa mix, marshmallows, cookies and mugs to make a sweets-themed gift basket, he says, or bath bombs, loofahs, soap and eye masks for a spa basket.

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7. Satisfy a sweet tooth

“I love to get my holiday candy extras at the dollar store,” Helwig says. “They have all the name brands. It’s a sweet way to embellish a gift card or stocking stuffer for a coworker.” In addition to candy canes and chocolate, you’ll find other seasonal food items and spices like cinnamon and ground sage.

8. Cozy candles

Scented holiday candles are an easy way to achieve a warm, cozy atmosphere if you’re entertaining or having houseguests for the holidays.

Andrews suggests creating a “dramatic” display of a dozen glass votive candle holders from dollar stores. These stores also have a wide variety of seasonal candles with scents such as apple cinnamon, pine breeze and cozy night. Some cost more than $1.

9. Family crafting

If you’re looking for activities to do with your grandchildren over the holidays, you’ll find plenty of DIY supplies. One idea, Andrews says, is to make “Happy 2023” New Year’s cards for friends and family with construction paper, metallic markers, glitter and more. If baking is your thing, you’ll find nearly all the ingredients you need to make cookies and brownies. 99¢ Only Stores even sell cookie cutters and cupcake decorations.

10. Don’t forget family pets

Pet owners like to shower their companions with extra attention during the holidays. Last year, more than half (56 percent) of people surveyed planned to buy their pet a holiday gift, according to a study by the American Pet Products Association.

Dollar stores offer pet collars, plush toys, edible treats and more for cats and dogs. Dollar Tree also sells pet bandanas and scarves. If you don’t mind spending from $2.99 to as much as $14.99, 99¢ Only Stores have cute Christmas costumes. Dollar General online has pet water bowls starting at $3.50.