Using the dollar store to create beautiful gifts

Building Beautiful Gifts from the Dollar Store

by Marlene Alexander

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Sure, you can go into Walmart or Sears and buy presents for your friends and family, but take a closer look at what's in those gift baskets. Mugs, beverages, and snacks? Candle holders and candles? Bath products? The dollar store has all of those things and many more potential gift ideas. All you have to do is put them together for presents that will look great but cost half the price of their department store counterparts, not to mention being totally unique.

Gift Baskets 1

Here's how to build beautiful Christmas gifts with things from the dollar store.

  • Make like Santa and prepare a list personalized for each recipient. Get inspiration from department stores or catalogue gift selections.
  • Save the paper that the store wraps your breakables in to build up the bottom of boxes or baskets before you add coloured tissue paper or metallic shred and the gift items.

Gift Baskets 2

  • More and more brand names are showing up in dollar stores. If I see Russell Stover or Hershey Christmas-themed chocolate treats, I'll pick some up to put in stockings or a gift basket. Chocolate is always a fun addition to gifts. Or, for the chocolate lover, make a whole gift comprised of fancy cookies and other chocolate treats.
  • Remove or disguise labels that identify something as from a dollar store. You don't need to be ashamed that you shopped at the dollar store, but you don't want to be obvious about it either. If a price tag is printed directly onto a package label, use a Christmas sticker to cover it. Try to match the sticker to the label color so that the disguised price tag has a better chance of going unnoticed. I've encountered labels on the bottom of things like candleholders that the manufactures must have used super glue to attach. Soaking them in hot water helps to loosen them. If there is sticky residue still left, a product called Goo Gone will remove it. Just be sure to wash the surface of the item well after using Goo Gone because the stuff is a little smelly and you don't want any residue left on gift items.
  • Consider how best to present your gift. Dollar stores have Christmas boxes, baskets and trays but don't be limited to holiday-themed containers. A plastic popcorn tub makes a great place to stash popcorn, a board game, drinks and chocolates for a fun "family game night" gift. Use invisible tape to discreetly secure items to each other and hold them in place on a tray. Dollar stores sell the printed or clear basket wrap that will complete your gift. When packing things in a box, make sure that any breakable items are well-padded.

Gift Baskets 3

  • If you want your gifts to look classy, avoid giving small, single items. Instead of one mug, give a set of four matching mugs. Instead of one votive candleholder, give a set of three and throw in some scented votive candles. You've still only spent four dollars, and your gift will look more substantial.
  • As an extra touch or to fill in any empty spaces, add a Christmas ornament or a few wrapped candies.

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer living in Ontario, Canada and Dollar Store Diva. Her new e-book Christmas - Dollar Store Style will show you how to decorate, entertain and give beautiful gifts using only items from the dollar store. For more on dollar store shopping, visit her website at

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