If you aren't hosting a large Thanksgiving gathering this year thanks to the pandemic, you can still celebrate and create a festive atmosphere without spending a lot of money.
Look no further than the local dollar store as your go-to source of inexpensive yet indispensable holiday home decor — everything from scented candles to pumpkin decorations to wine glasses.
Most items really do cost $1 at dollar stores, such as 99¢ Only Stores, Dollar General and Family Dollar, but some online products are sold only in bulk. At Daiso, the Japanese dollar store, most goods cost $1.50 or $1.99.
Dollar store prices attract most shoppers, “but once you're there, browsing the aisles is a blast,” says Jeneva Aaron, founder of TheHouseWire, a website that provides home design ideas. “They sell a lot of things you'd spend way more money on elsewhere."
That's why Karen Garatti, 75, and her twin sister, Patty Proaps, regularly shop at dollar stores near their Novato, California, homes.
"We decorate for every season,” says Garatti, who recently bought a Thanksgiving wall decoration and candles at a local dollar store. “You should see our houses."
Here are 10 items perfect for Thanksgiving that you can find at dollar stores.
1. Seasonal decorations
It's easy to decorate by putting up some wall art like a large brown felt acorn, gel window-cling pumpkins or colorful yard signs.
Decorations are one of Ann Corda's favorite items to buy at a dollar store. The 81-year-old recently spent about $20 at Dollar Tree in Petaluma, California, on Thanksgiving goods like a rustic wall art printed with “Happy Harvest” in orange and red.
2. Collapsible cubes
"Want to declutter your house before Thanksgiving but don't have time?” asks Aaron. “These boxes are perfect for hiding those last-minute items."
Candles are a simple way to add color and scent to your home. “Nothing adds a seasonal vibe to your home quite like some nice scented candles,” Aaron says. “I love this scent called Harvest and Hayrides from Dollar Tree, [with] notes of cinnamon, pumpkin and apples.” For a twist, check out Family Dollar's scented ceramic pumpkins.
4. Mini decorative pine cones
What says autumn more than pine cones? You may be able to pick them as they fall off the trees in your neighborhood, but if you can't forage in nature, you can find them at a local dollar store. “Pine cones look great with everything,” Aaron says. And it's easy: Just throw some pine cones in a bowl.
5. Picture frames
Not only can seasonal frames present photographs of your friends and family in a new way, but frames can become art. Family Dollar's website details how to make a seasonal display from a black frame and Thanksgiving greeting cards — both bought from the retailer.
Aaron says Dollar Tree's white stoneware plates with gold rims are “just as nice” as similar items that cost more elsewhere. The Dollar Tree and Family Dollar websites offer more stoneware options online for $1, but you must buy at least six.
7. Disposable tableware
If you'd rather go the disposable route, nearly all dollar stores sell paper and plastic utensils and tableware like napkins and plates. Aaron suggests grabbing some 13-inch charger plates in rustic faux wood, faux marble, gold or silver at Dollar Tree to add an “extra touch of class” to a dinner-table setting. If you want to be traditional, Dollar General's stainless steel forks, spoons and knives are a steal at $1 for a three-pack.
8. Foil bakeware
You won't find these pans priced lower anywhere else. And using them for the turkey and side dishes can save lots of time and effort later.
9. DIY craft supplies
Dollar stores offer lots of ribbon, mesh and paint to make your own Thanksgiving crafts. Dollar General's website provides step-by-step instructions to make a centerpiece from an old sweater and glass vases, as well as a list of some necessary craft supplies like jute that you can buy from the retailer.
10. Food containers
Plastic and polystyrene foam containers can be used to store leftovers in your refrigerator or to load guests with take-home treats.