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10 Dollar Store Ideas for Christmas Celebrations

Find festive plates, throws, gift wrap and more at affordable prices

spinner image holiday decorations such as festive mugs candles pillows and mini trees
Dollar General

It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas — a pre-COVID, spend-some-money kind of Christmas, according to a National Retail Federation survey showing a likely rise in consumer spending this season between 3 and 4 percent.

While people are ready to deck the halls and load up on presents, inflation is still a real issue. That means many shoppers are trying to make their dollar stretch further.

And what better place to stretch your dollar than at dollar stores, which offer a wide variety of holiday essentials at affordable prices. Decorations? Yes. Gifts? For sure. Greeting cards? Those, too.

“It’s always worth a look here to see what they have,” said Stephanie Rastetter, 60, while shopping for Christmas decorations at a Dollar Tree store in Petaluma, California, where she lives. “I use Christmas stuff from the dollar store as a base and add to it,” such as mixing artificial poinsettias or berry stems with sparkly decorations “to add pops of color.”

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It’s a great place for stocking stuffers too, especially if you’re short on time, says interior decorator Michael Helwig, based in Buffalo, New York: “The dollar store needs to be on your short list of stores to hit.” In addition to countless small gift options, such as magnets, nail polish and tools, shoppers will find larger items like books, blankets and picture frames, he says.

Here are 10 fabulous Christmas dollar store finds.

1. Festive wrapping paper and bows

You can make your presents sparkle with festive and budget-friendly wrapping paper and more at dollar stores.

“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,” Helwig says. You’ll also find practical supplies like cellophane tape and scissors.

2. All you need to deck the halls

One thing people aren’t skimping on this year is decorations. This year’s Deloitte Holiday Survey found that many consumers are restocking on holiday decorations.

Decorating the front door and fireplace mantel is popular as people look to make their homes warm and welcoming for visiting family and friends. Rastetter said she likes to use twinkle lights to decorate the entryway of her home and outside.

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Dollar stores have a wide selection of decorations, including glittery garland, wreaths and tree ornaments. Metallic ornaments are still popular this year, and glass balls provide a vintage look. Dollar stores offer a wide palette of colors — from traditional red and green to soft pink, white and aqua — in various sizes and finishes.

The soft pink is “gorgeous,” Helwig says. “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.”

3. Themed baking supplies, containers to go with the season

If you’re cooking for Christmas, disposable foil pans that cost as little as $1 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.

spinner image festive happy holidays plates napkins cups and silverware
Dollar Tree

4. Glamorous dishes to make your table sparkle

Dollar stores have plenty of other disposables, including colorful paper plates, napkins, plastic utensils and even plastic wineglasses. To add some glamour, Stephanie Andrews, owner of Balance Design in Atlanta, suggests using 13-inch plastic charger plates in gold and silver with a fluted edge or beaded rim from Dollar Tree as a “lovely” base for place settings.

Dollar stores also offer stoneware and holiday-themed ceramic dinnerware. You can find more unusual items, too, but they cost more than $1. Dollar General has a holiday-themed glass pitcher and ceramic butter dish. Dollar Tree sells a two-tiered metal tray, perfect for displaying sweets.

5. White faux fur comfort decor

One of the hottest home decor trends this holiday season is white faux fur. It’s warm, cozy and goes with anything else in your home. At Dollar Tree, you’ll find this material on Christmas ornaments ($1.25 for two), tabletop cone trees ($5) and even wreaths ($5). Buy ribbon, garland or glitter to add color and sparkle.

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6. Tree skirts and collars in popular plaids, sparkly touches

A tree skirt will help put the finishing touch on your Christmas tree. Dollar Tree offers metallic snowflake skirts in various colors and sizes starting at $1.25. For a little more money, Dollar General sells skirts in plaid for $5 or Fair Isle designs for $10.

Or try something new this year by replacing your tree skirt with a tree collar, which takes up less space so it’s good for smaller spaces. Dollar Tree offers collars made of galvanized metal or white faux fur for $1.25 or $5.

7. Holiday towels, throws and pillows for overlooked rooms

Houseguests probably will enter the bathroom at some point, so make a couple of simple changes to add some holiday cheer. Dollar General sells an embroidered holiday bath towel set for $8. Dollar Tree offers Christmas-themed washcloths (five for $3) as well as soap dispensers ($1.25) and memory foam bath rugs ($5).

If any guests stay overnight, make your guest room extra cozy and joyful with a few additions to add holiday color and texture. Guests can snuggle up with plush throws in plaids and holiday colors from most dollar stores. Dollar Tree and Dollar General also offer an assortment of Christmas accent pillows like snowmen and Santas. These items cost a bit more, up to $8.

8. Candles that make your house smell like Christmas

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

Andrews suggests creating a “dramatic” display of a dozen glass votive candleholders from dollar stores. These stores have a wide variety of seasonal candles with scents such as hazelnut, iced gingerbread and winter fir. Some cost more than $1.

9. Crafts and more crafts to keep the little ones entertained

If you’re looking for activities to do with your grandchildren, you’ll find plenty of DIY supplies like ribbon, markers and glue. Dollar General and Dollar Tree also offer several types of DIY kits to make your own tree ornaments, tabletop decorations, gingerbread houses or felt finger puppets, starting at $1. If baking is your thing, you’ll find nearly all the ingredients you need to make cookies and brownies, including holiday cookie cutters starting at $1 at Dollar General or holiday cupcake liners for $1.25 at Dollar Tree.

10. Toys and treats to keep Fido and Fifi occupied, too

Pet owners like to shower their furry friends with extra attention during the holidays. More people over 50 (up to 87 million combined) typically buy pet gifts for Christmas, much more so than younger pet owners, according to a report by the American Pet Products Association.

Dollar stores offer pet collars, plush toys, edible treats and more for cats and dogs for $1 to $6. Dollar Tree sells pet stockings, bandannas and scarves for $1.25 each. Dollar General has a Santa suit for $2.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on Dec. 6, 2021. It has been updated to reflect new information.

Sheryl Jean is a contributing writer who covers aging, business, technology, travel, health and human-interest stories. A former reporter for several daily metropolitan newspapers, her work also has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and The Dallas Morning News and on the American Heart Association’s website.

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