The holidays can be a budget-buster. And for millions of people, that can spell trouble, especially in a down economy.
One way you can save is to head to the dollar store. You might be surprised at the items you can find at the dollar store to help you make the holidays merry and bright — and keep your wallet happy.
Don’t pay more than you have to. You’ll find all of these low-cost holiday items at dollar stores.
1. DIY centerpieces
Show your crafty side and create beautiful, low-cost centerpieces.
Here are lots of great centerpiece ideas, and you can buy many of the components at the dollar store. No one will know how much you saved.
2. Blue place settings
Celebrate Hanukkah — the Festival of Lights — with a table of traditional royal blue place settings.
Paper plates in deep blue are perfect for Hanukkah gatherings, along with napkins, utensils and cups.
At a dollar store, it shouldn’t be hard to find a white plastic table cover, which makes a great accent. Plus, there’s no need to do dishes afterward.
Curious about Hanukkah? Learn more about it and other winter holidays in “34 Awesome Holiday Celebrations Around the World.”
3. Storage bins
You’ll need places to keep your new holiday items organized, and the dollar store is the perfect place to stock up inexpensively on storage bins and organizers.
In fact, seize the moment and organize your pantry with low-cost dollar store organizers of all shapes and sizes.
4. Travel-sized toiletries
If you’re traveling for the holidays, you can save time and money with the help of travel-sized toiletries.
Get small containers of shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, contact lens solution, body wash and toothpaste. You’ll have what you need wherever you go.
5. Serving trays
Among my go-to items when it comes to holiday entertaining are the plastic crystal-cut serving trays from the dollar store. These trays are attractive and add a touch of class to any holiday gathering. At Dollar Tree, you can find them in rectangle, round and oval shapes.
Looking for something a little more festive and on-theme? These metallic molded plastic trays are shaped like candy, a snowflake and a tree. They are perfect for serving small treats and hors d’oeuvres, whether you’re having a party at your place or bringing something to the office potluck.
6. DIY menorah
Using items found at dollar stores, it’s possible to create a lovely — and unique — menorah for the holiday.
For example, if you live near a Dollar Tree, you can assemble a menorah with nine long-stemmed candleholders and any of a number of types of candles, candleholders and other low-cost, pretty items. And other dollar store chains likely have options, too, for creating a DIY menorah.
7. DIY kinara
It’s also possible to make your own kinara for Kwanzaa using dollar-store finds. A kinara, like a menorah, is a candelabra. This one has seven candles.
Consider using glass mirror candle holders with green, red and black tea lights or votive candles.
You could also use glass bud vases in green, red and black, the Kwanzaa colors — or you could paint clear vases if you can’t find them in the right colors. Then, buy a pack of taper candles to insert into the vases. Even LED tapers could work.
8. Nesting holiday gift boxes
Take your gift-giving to the next level with gift boxes that offer a festive presentation for small gifts and yummy treats.
You can use both boxes for one gift. Or, it’s possible to stretch your dollar further by splitting them up and putting a different gift in each box.
9. Plastic Champagne glasses
Ring out the old and ring in the new with plastic Champagne glasses.
Many dollar stores carry these staples in packages of four or six, allowing you to buy in bulk.
10. Serving utensils
It’s possible to find a variety of large serving spoons, forks and salad tongs at the dollar store.
These items go well with your serving trays and can make it easier for guests to access food without using their hands. They’re inexpensive, often dishwasher-safe and can be used again at your next gathering.
11. Greeting cards
Many dollar stores have a card section. It’s possible to get holiday cards individually or get a box of cards, making the purchase even more cost-efficient.
Send cards to your loved ones this holiday season, and do it without breaking the bank.
12. Party accessories
Spice up your holiday party with Santa hats and reindeer headbands. It’s possible to get these fun accouterments for a low price at the dollar store. Everyone will love wearing them at your gathering.
If you’re looking to add a little class to your gathering, placemats can be a great addition.
Depending on the dollar store and the material used, you can typically find placements for a dollar apiece. Or get them in packages of two to four.
14. Stocking stuffers
The dollar store is an amazing place to find low-cost stocking stuffers.
From refrigerator magnets to small plush animals and small boxes of assorted chocolates, it’s possible to fill those stockings without going over your holiday budget.
15. Baking needs
For many people, the holidays are all about the baking.
You can find a number of necessary ingredients — including baking powder, baking soda, granulated sugar and confectioners sugar — all at the dollar store.
16. Over-the-counter pain relievers
Many dollar stores keep OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen on hand.
While you can benefit from these low prices year-round, it makes sense to stock up during the holidays, for when you’ve had too much holiday cheer or the stress starts getting to you.
It’s possible to find tree ornaments for a low cost at the dollar store.
On top of that, many dollar stores have clear glass or plastic ornaments that you can paint or otherwise use to create your own decorations. Making DIY ornaments with items from the dollar store also is a great craft to do with kids.
18. Holiday decor
Whatever you need to create a festive look can usually be found at the dollar store without too much trouble.
Look for garlands, silk flowers and other types of faux greenery to give your home a festive air.
19. Reading glasses
Need a little extra help to read those holiday cards or play games during a gathering?
Many dollar stores carry inexpensive reading glasses. Keep them on hand and stash them around the house for use all year round.
20. Jumbo gift bags
While you can get wrapping paper at the dollar store, you might also need to find wrapping for odd-shaped gifts or presents too big for regular wrap.
In that case, check the dollar store for festive gift bags in many sizes that make managing presents that much easier.
21. New Year’s Eve party favors
Don’t forget about the party favors this New Year’s Eve.
Look for party poppers shaped like Champagne bottles (they shoot glitter and streamers high into the air) and glittery party eyeglasses for you and your guests to wear as you ring in the new year.
22. Foil, plastic wrap and parchment paper
Whether you need food wraps like parchment paper, aluminum foil and plastic wrap for baking, wrapping leftovers or bringing an item for a holiday potluck, stock up on these necessities at your dollar store.
It’s also smart to have these items on hand no matter the time of year.
23. Table covers
The dollar store has a variety of table covers of different sizes to choose from. You can find plastic and paper tablecloths with a variety of themes, including Christmas and New Year.
You may even find paper table covers made to be colored on, making sitting at the dinner table a fun activity for kids and grownups alike.
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