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Kip Tips

What to Buy at Dollar Stores for the Holidays

Save money by purchasing these 10 things for just a buck.


The cost of holiday shopping can quickly add up -- not just the amount spent on gifts but also on everything else associated with celebrating the season. For example, consumers are expected to spend an average of $104.74 on food, $53.68 on decorations, $29.18 on greeting cards and $20.30 on flowers, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s nearly $208 on holiday-related items other than gifts. Throw in the presents, and consumers are expected to spend a total of about $804, on average, this holiday season, according to the NRF.

SEE ALSO: Worst Things to Buy at Walmart

One way to spend significantly less on many items on your holiday shopping list is to purchase them at dollar stores such as Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Dollar General. You probably won’t be able to get most of the gifts your family and friends want at these discount stores, but you can get great deals on a variety of items you’ll need to help celebrate the holidays. Here are 10 things you can save a lot of money on by purchasing them at a dollar store.

Christmas cards. Rather than spend $5 or more on a pack of holiday greeting cards at the supermarket, drugstore or even big-box store, you can get a box of 14 to 20 cards for $1 at a dollar store.

Disposable bakeware. If you don’t have all the bakeware you need to fix a big holiday meal (or just don’t want to spend hours scrubbing pans), you can get disposable aluminum bakeware in all shapes and sizes for just a buck at the dollar store. We did find a few pieces of disposable bakeware at Walmart for a few cents less than a dollar, but most were priced at $2 to $3.


Gift wrap and bags. Gift wrap sold at dollar stores might not be of the highest quality, but considering it’s going to be ripped apart and thrown away, it’s really not worth spending more than a dollar. Gift wrap can cost $3 and up for a roll at other retailers. You’ll also find ribbon and gift bags of all sizes for just a buck. We found a few small holiday gift bags for 97 cents at Walmart, but larger bags cost $2 to $4.

Holiday decorations. The dollar store is your place if you’re looking for inexpensive holiday décor. For example, large red bows (the type you might put on a wreath) cost $1 versus $4 or more at big-box retailers.

Holiday mugs. If you need an inexpensive gift for your child’s teacher or a co-worker, we found plenty of holiday-themed coffee mugs filled with candy for just $1 at dollar stores.

Ornaments. You can find a large variety of $1 ornaments that you’d actually want to put on your tree at dollar stores. In particular, packs of 12 glass balls are a great buy at the dollar store considering packages of similar glass balls cost three times as much at Walmart and even more at other retailers.


Paper plates and napkins. We found packages of 18 holiday-themed paper plates and 24 napkins for $1 each at Dollar Tree. We did find holiday paper plates and napkins for 97 cents at Walmart, but there were only eight plates in a pack and 18 napkins in a pack. However, for sturdier disposable plates that can hold an entire meal, you’ll get a better deal buying in bulk at a warehouse club.

Picture frames. For the grandmother who already has everything, a framed photo of the grandkids can be a great gift. You’ll find plenty of simple but nice frames for $1 apiece at dollar stores.

Serving platters. For $1, you can get a holiday-themed tray to serve treats at a party or family gathering. You also can package baked goods with a decorative platter as a gift.

Stocking stuffers. For just a few dollars, you can stuff your kids' stockings with candy, stickers, pencils and more. You even can get a stocking for $1. Be wary of toys, though, because the quality tends to be inferior. You don’t want little Johnny crying Christmas morning because the wheels fell off his new car. (See What Not to Buy at Dollar Stores for more items to avoid.)