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Christmas on a Shoestring! Cute Dollar Store Gift Ideas

It’s December, and by the time the end of the semester rolls around, your bank balance may have seen better days. The holidays can be a challenging time when money is tight. Don’t despair, with a bit of creativity and some clever twists, you can put together some adorable low-cost gifts with items from the local dollar store. Frugal and festive do go together after all!

Bundle up a luxury bathtime hamper.

For that friend who loves to take some time for self-care, you can find plenty of toiletries and bathtime treats at the dollar store. Have a lookout for travel-sized shower gels, bath bombs, soap bars, hand lotions, nail polishes, mini scented candles or cute hairpins/accessories. 

Remember, the presentation can make all the difference and shows extra compassion. Most dollar stores also sell mini plastic baskets in the home/office section, which double up as a great bathroom organizer. Tie a decorative ribbon around one, and you can put together a pretty and practical gift. 


Make a vintage candy jar.

Look out for a glass jar, and fill it up with assorted Christmas candies for a sweet gift. You could put in some peppermint candy canes for a vintage feel, like these individually wrapped ones from the dollar store. Jazz up the jar with some sharpie writing or a festive bow for extra cheer.


For nieces, nephews or baby cousins, take a peek in the decoration section for mini felt stockings, and fill these up with surprise goodies instead. (just don’t tell the parents you’re giving their kids enough sugar to keep them hyped until the New Year!)


Dress up a Dollar Canvas.

The arts and crafts section of any dollar store will usually stock affordable canvases in various sizes. Even if you’re not bestowed with creative genius, you can transform one of these into an excellent piece of canvas art for a pal or relative.

Try making a mosaic-style image by cutting up different scrapbook papers and pasting them into a silhouette like these craft bloggers: 



For Your Coffee-Loving Friend.

For that friend or colleague who just cannot say no to caffeine! Find an inexpensive mug at the dollar store and fill it up with sachets or a package of your friend’s favourite grind. For a break time treat, throw in a couple of chocolate truffles,like Hershey’s kisses or mini candy bars. If they’re not a coffee drinker, no problem. Hot chocolate and a bag of mini marshmallows work just as well for a comforting and cosy brew.



Make a Warming Winter Votive.

Most dollar stores will sell plain glass mason jars/vases and inexpensive votive candles. You can make a beautiful home decoration by wrapping the jar with fabric/paint or decorating it with sharpies. If you have some quality craft glue to hand, try painting the bottom and dipping in glitter for a bedazzling look, or cover in Epsom salts (does anyone actually bathe with these?) to create a ‘snowy’ textured appearance. 

If you’re lucky, you may find some cute festive flowers/cinnamon sticks at your local dollar store or bulk store. Try collecting some redcurrants/pine cones from your local forest, wrap them around the jar with some chicken wire and cover with ribbon for a pretty festive upcycle!

Place the plain candle inside, and voila-you have a lovely homemade decoration, great for posting on your Pinterest account.

Try this tutorial for inspiration: https://apumpkinandaprincess.com/diy-snowy-mason-jars/.


For Your (Not So) Green-Fingered Friend.

We all know someone who manages to drown every cactus. Grab some inexpensive fabric flowers from the dollar store and make them a pretty arrangement that they won’t be able to kill. A simple terracotta pot or glass vase makes a suitable container, stabilise it with gravel or river rocks from the home and garden section, and you’ve got a decoration that will cheer up their home and office space. If you’re feeling extra crafty, you could even paint/decorate the vase. 



Hope you have fun giving these gifts a try. Whatever your holiday season holds for you, time spent with family and loved ones is worth its weight in gold.

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Sarah is a 25 year old MA Art History and Visual Studies student at Uvic. She loves writing about art, film and music. When she's not busy blogging or studying she loves to dance, practise yoga, visit galleries and cook yummy vegetarian food!
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