15 Best Things to Buy at Dollar Stores (Including Dollar Tree) for the Holidays

You might be surprised by some of the items you can (and should) purchase for just a buck.

Exterior shot of the front of a Dollar Tree store
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The big meltdown over dollar stores exploded at just the wrong time: right at the cusp of the holiday shopping season. That’s when Dollar Tree, the dominant player in the one-buck market, announced prices were being raised by 25% after 35 years of not going above the $1 mark. The company confirmed the majority of items at Dollar Tree stores will cost $1.25. Did you need more evidence of inflation?

But hold on: Dollar Tree prices are largely unchanged; the price increase rolls out in April, so at the end of 2021, that roll of wrapping paper is still a dollar, and two holiday-themed greeting cards are still a buck. 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.

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 $1,463 per household this holiday season, according to Deloitte, a 5% rise from 2020 (but down 7% from pre-pandemic 2019). The majority of holiday spending, approximately $648 per household, goes to gifts for family, friends, and coworkers, according to the National Retail Federation. But on average, shoppers will spend about $231 on food and decorations, the NRF says.

So whether decking your halls, prepping the holiday meal or ho-ho-hosting a seasonal party, see how that money will go further at the dollar store.

Bob Niedt
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Bob is a Senior Online Editor at Kiplinger.com. 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.