11 Holiday Gifts You Can Get at the Dollar Store
Stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, and presents for teachers are generally relegated to the "inexpensive" column at holiday time. Then it turns out you need to buy a lot of them, and as the numbers mount, the prices don't seem so cheap anymore. Dollar stores are the ideal shopping solution -- they carry gift-worthy items that rarely cost more than $20 and most often settle in the $5 to $10 range.
Increasingly dollar stores are trying to be on trend with toys, gift items, and holiday decor, says Bob Giles, a vice president at Family Dollar. That means, for example, stocking popular brand-name toys because kids know the difference between the real thing and the wannabes. In other words, shopping the dollar store aisles lets holiday gift givers save money without seeming chintzy.
We checked out a Family Dollar store for holiday gift ideas that will appeal to many people on your list.
1. Toddler Toys.Toddlers are too young for some toys with small or hazardous pieces. We found a variety of crayons and color markers going for $1 to $2.15 and soft stuffed animals for $3. What kid wouldn't like to draw pictures or curl up with a cute panda once in a while?
2. Cabbage Patch Kids.These classic dolls were a hit toy last year and are still a child favorite. Retailers such as Toys R Us are selling them for up to $40, but Family Dollar prices them at $15.
3. Action Figures.Superheroes are ever popular, especially with boys, and dollar stores are full of them. Fill your holiday gift basket with popular Star Wars characters for $4 and Marvel heroes such as Thor for $6.75.
4. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.If you're ever stuck on what to give a young boy, try anything with wheels, rails, or wings. Monster trucks, sports cars, dump trucks, train sets, large Transformers, and small helicopters cost $3 to $10, depending on the size of the toy.
5. Monster High Dolls.For girls of a certain age, these glamorous yet bizarre dolls are immensely appealing. Pick up one at Family Dollar for $13, which beats the price at big-box chains. Other popular dolls, including Barbie and Doc McStuffins, cost just $10.
6. Headphones.Older kids in their tween and teen years are notoriously hard to please. Dollar stores come to the rescue with over-ear headphones (a blast from the past now back in vogue) for $8.75 and earbuds for $5. If there are stockings to fill, stock up on packs of earbuds in three different colors for $7.75.
7. Sporting Goods.An active kid will appreciate a basketball, football, or soccer ball. You can spend up to $35 apiece at venues such as Sports Authority, but dollar stores carry these items for $10 or so. Games are always a hit with kids, even those who prefer more sedentary play time. Family Dollar sells a variety of tabletop games, including air hockey, pinball, pool, and foosball, tagged in the $10 to $20 range.
8. Car Accessories.The Family Dollar we visited devoted plenty of shelf space to car-related merchandise. This includes things that are good to have but many people never manage to buy, such as magnetic hide-a-key holders ($1.50), cell phone holders ($5), and USB car chargers ($10).
9. Photo Frames.A framed photo is a welcome gift that lives on as a keepsake. Just about every major pharmacy will print a digital image for less than 25 cents and frames sold at the dollar store max out at $5.
10. Pet Toys.Pets enjoy gifts as much as their masters. We spotted a variety of treats and toys in costing $1 to $4. There was even a Santa hat and collar combo for $2 to present just ahead of Christmas Day.
11. Boxes and Bags.Heighten the effect by packing a gift in a pretty, reusable bag or an attractive box that costs just $1 (some come in sets). If you need regular gift wrap and neglected to stock up last year when prices plummeted after the holiday, dollar stores are there for you with wrapping paper at about $3 a roll.