Best Things to Buy at Dollar Tree (and Other Dollar Stores) for the Holidays

Dollar Tree shopping is the way to go to find holiday bargains. Other dollar stores are also deal havens, and Walmart has stepped up its less-than-a-dollar game, too.

Exterior of a Dollar Tree store in Florida 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images )

Dollar Tree, the dominant player in the around-one-buck market, made a gutsy move just weeks past the 2021 holiday shopping season. It raised its fixed prices from $1 to $1.25, a sweeping 25% increase.

That was ahead of the crushing inflation Americans experienced in 2022, but there was also an odd turn: As inflation deepened, dollar stores, including Dollar General and Dollar Tree – and yes, Walmart, too – discovered their clientele shifted. More wealthier individuals were shopping at all three chains, executives said.

Before boosting most of its prices to $1.25, Dollar Tree was the last true “dollar store” chain, sometimes sporting products we wouldn’t recommend buying at dollar stores. And remember, it’s not a stretch for a retailer with “dollar” in its name to stock items that cost more than one George: Dollar General has been doing it for years; Dollar Tree also now has “bargains” at $3-$5, a price point unheard of a year ago.

Walmart is keenly aware of that. So a caveat here: Some items priced at $1.25 at Dollar Tree we found for as low as 94 cents at Walmart. We’ll fill you in as we go along.

And note this from smart shopper expert Trae Bodge of “Even though dollar stores are budget-friendly, you should still look for ways to save. For example, at the time of this writing, deal site CouponCabin has a slew of money-saving offers, including up to 40% off in-store discounts at Dollar General and instant savings at Family Dollar for online orders.”

Bottom line: Shopping at dollar stores is a boots-on-the-ground savings tactic many large families learned out of necessity long ago. Good thing, too, since Americans expect to spend an average $1,455 per household this holiday season, according to Deloitte, about par with 2021’s $1,463 per person. 

The majority of holiday spending goes to gifts for family, friends and coworkers, according to the National Retail Federation, whose view of the holiday shopping season remains sunny. But on average, shoppers will spend nearly $400 on food and decorations.

So whether decking your halls, prepping the holiday meal or ho-ho-hosting a seasonal party, see how that money will go further – or not –  at the dollar store.

Bob Niedt

Bob was Senior Editor at for seven years and is now a contributor to the website. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.