The Joy of Dollar Store Gifts

After my grouchy anti-Consumer, Christmas Rant in Someone Stole our Christmas Tree, I am now going to completely back track, contradict myself and sound like a hypocrite. Oops.  Sorry.

Let’s talk about the joy of dollar store gifts.

dollar store gifts messy moneyOne tradition we established when the kids were young was a Dollar Store Christmas shopping trip.  The kids are too old for this now and I admit that

I miss it.

We would take a special trip to the dollar store and the kids would pick out gifts for family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.  They had a list of people to buy for but the idea was that they would choose the gifts themselves, without any adult interference.  The kids loved this!  It never ceased to amaze us, what the kids decided to purchase.  Each year, at least one person would get a “winner” gift.

On Christmas morning the dollar store gifts were the first to be opened.  Everyone could not wait to see the treasures picked especially for them.  The kids were so proud! If some of the gifts seemed a little unusual to the adults the kids had their own (very good) reasons for choosing them.

Dollar Store Love Messy Money
Who says you can’t buy love?

Now I know that the last thing people need is more crap.  I justified the dollar store buying because the gifts were mostly useful, inexpensive and could be lost, tossed or donated without a lot of guilt.  I still have most of the dollar store gifts the kids bought me.  Off the top of my head I can think of… A “love” decoration that sits on the fireplace mantle, hand sanitizer, a bowl, containers to sort my cosmetics, a ribbon, a hand mirror… and so on.

The Prize Gift

And like I said there were the prize gifts.  One year my son bought my dad a toilet plunger!  An unusual but handy gift if there ever was one. There were a few questionable figurines purchased as well but are all are displayed with pride in curio cabinets or on window sills.  Ceramic dolphins anyone?

The kids are too old for this now but fortunately for us all my younger nieces and nephews have carried on the tradition.  Can’t wait to see what goodies are waiting for me this year.

One last thing.

On the topic of dollar store gifts.  Every year my husband participates in a grabby gift exchange at work.  For his contribution he fills up a shoebox with dollar store goodies.  Handyman stuff like a tape measure, sharpies, box cutters, work gloves etc. (his department is 100% male.)  His gift is usually the most popular and most “grabbed.”

Who says you can’t do your holiday gift shopping at the dollar store?

brokeGIRLrich

34 Comments



  1. Dollar stores can be a treasure trove of sorts for low-cost fun gifts. I like the idea of using them for gift bags as a part of gift exchanges, particularly if they center around a theme. Frankly, we have done the dollar store thing for a child’s class party at school, and it worked out great.
    Squirrelers recently posted…5 Things You Can Do to Increase Your IncomeMy Profile

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    1. Our local school does fundraising with dollar store goods. Every child in the class will bring in one small item related to a theme (candy, crafts, toys etc.) – they will then put everything in a basket and raffle it off to raise money. It is pretty popular.

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    1. Dollar store gifts are so much fun for the kids and grown ups. I highly recommend it.

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  2. I have teens and younger ones, and they all love the Dollar Store for gifting, which is great for my wallet! It’s now a tradition to shop there every year, and you’re right about it being a great place to find useful gifts. 🙂
    Dee recently posted…Snickerdoodle SundayMy Profile

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    1. Thanks Dee. It looks like you have a very popular linky party. I am going to go over and check it out…

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  3. I love the dollar store! I still pick up a few gifts there each year. I always buy for my 4 younger cousins who are the same age as my little brother (there’s a 10 year gap between us). I figured out a few years ago that by spending a $1 on each of them and essentially buying a photo “prop” – I nail Christmas. Since they’ve all got smartphones they love taking stupid pictures together with dollar store boas one year, glow jewelry another, fake mustache stickers… for $1, everyone is happy. I love it.
    Mel recently posted…Financially Savvy Saturdays #67My Profile

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    1. Oh that sounds awesome! So much fun and great memories.

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  4. We visit the dollar store everytime we host a family get together….cheap crayons, markers, coloring books and prizes help keep the young kids busy and happy. Even if all the stuff last exactly as long as the gathering, it’s well worth it!
    Brock @CleverDude recently posted…Dear Garbage Company: I’m Moving OnMy Profile

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    1. That’s a great idea. I read a post somewhere about visiting the dollar store to get goodies to help pass time during a roadtrip. The possibilities are endless.

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  5. We used to do this when my son was little too! I still have the most adorable cow salt and pepper shakers, and Jay has a tape measure. There was lots more, but I just kept the most fun representations (minimalist you know). My son had a boss once who used to say that going to the dollar store made him feel like a king. I totally “get” that. Love this post, May! Brought back great memories. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Kay. It looks like you are doing some construction on your site. Can’t wait to see the changes.

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    1. It would be perfect for a 3 year old and lots of fun.

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  6. HAHA I love this idea and I’m totally going to steal it!
    My family (or rather my mom) has taken to gag gifts over the last few years. I can get lost in the dollar store and I know this will be a big hit!
    I’m surprised you feel your kids are too old for this now…who knows maybe in a few years the pendulum will swing and they’ll like the idea!
    thanks for the post!
    Jonny recently posted…November 2014 Net Worth Update: Makin’ it Rain in the Cold November RainMy Profile

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    1. The dollar store rocks. I invested in dollar store stocks awhile ago. I have since sold them (foolish!) but they were once of my best investments.

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    1. Part of the joy of the dollar store is selection – you just don’t know what they are going to choose and hilarity ensues. Sure grandma would live that ceramic dolphin figurine…..LOL.

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    1. Thanks – husband is very proud to have most popular gift. The other gifts tend to be alcohol or $10 gift cards.

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    1. Sometimes I am surprised by the things you can find at the dollar store. It can be great for gift wrapping bags and paper too.

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    1. Thanks Brian. The dollar store is full of treasures. I got to hear your debt scream. Congratulations!

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  7. This is a great idea for the kids to have some fun and begin a life of ultra consumerism on the frugal side. The plunger is a great gift, I wonder what other prize $1 gifts made it every year. I cracked up over the picture of love and how you can buy it.
    EL @ Moneywatch101 recently posted…How can Will Power affect your Finances?My Profile

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    1. Thanks. Love sits proudly on the fireplace. Best 1 dollar gift ever.

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    1. Cheap and the most popular. My husband is so proud.

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  8. That sounds like a fun tradition. My brother and I would have loved it! One of our favourite parts of visiting my grandma when we were quite young was trips to the dollar store.
    I have a decent amount of those types o tools, tape and gloves from the dollar store, I would be in on the grabbing of that gift for sure.
    Anne @ Unique Gifter recently posted…10 Things you Never Knew You Wanted for ChristmasMy Profile

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    1. Thanks..It is fun. My kids love the dollar store – it a bonanza! (I admit I enjoy it from time to time too.)

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