Dollar Tree Christmas

Dollar Tree Christmas

“Mom? Can I have some money to buy you something for Christmas?” or “Mom, can I buy something for my brother.” These were the types of questions I was starting to hear more and more from all of the kids. I’ve always wanted my children to see Christmas as a time for giving and to be very grateful for what they do receive.

Last Christmas, money was tight. Much tighter than any of the previous five or six Christmases. But, I wanted the kids to be able to buy gifts for each other and to let them buy gifts for my husband and I. After a little brainstorming I came up with an idea and put it into place. It was so successful that we did it again this year and plan to do it every year going forward- a Dollar Tree Christmas shop and swap!

So, the rules are simple and the overall cost is low. Each person in the family gets $1 for each other person plus $1 for the cat (because they all begged for that one). So, for our family of five, each person gets $5. Because we buy all of the gifts for the kids, husband and I use our $5 to buy for each other to fill our stockings. We don’t do a lot for each other for Christmas, perferring to spend on the kids instead. The kids each purchase a gift for their siblings, one for my husband and one for myself (and the cat, of course!).

The idea is to select one gift that will be meaningful to the recipient. I love snowmen. Last year my then 13 year old selected a snow globe for me. I’ll never forget my teenage boy in tears when, after wrapping it, he noticed the paper getting wet and realized it had been broken somehow! Husband brought him back to Dollar Tree to replace it. But, the sentiment behind it was beautiful (actually- I’m tearing up now just thinking about it!). 

Now, the fun part begins! We all go in together. It’s a small store and we are apt to run into each other in the isles. This is part of the fun! Trying to be sneaky, shopping for gifts for the people that are in the store with you. Getting to the check out without them seeing what you’ve purchased. Everyone is excited! We aren’t allowed to ask questions, get suggestions or give them… 0ne gift, one dollar, many smiles!! 

I let the cashier in on our plan this year and it turned out to be a life saver. The seven year old was one gift short when he went to check out (on his own). The cashier knew the deal and helped him figure out who he’d forgotten to select a gift for. It turns out he’d picked a puzzle for the 12 year old and lost it along the way to the checkout.  

We all head to the car with our gifts tied up in bags and then its home for wrapping. Everyone wraps the presents that they purchased on their own, labels them and puts them under the tree. If last year was any indication, I can’t wait for the exchange this year on Christmas morning! At just a dollar, my kids really are overjoyed to give these gifts and I love seeing them give to each other!! Life is hectic, siblings fight and things are crazy more often than not throughout the year but on Christmas morning family trumps all things and we just enjoy! Oh, and secretly, I can’t wait to see what the kids picked for me this year!! 

What are some of your favorite family traditions for the holidays?

4 thoughts on “Our Annual Dollar Tree Christmas Family Shop and Swap

  1. A dollar for the cat too! Lol, I love it! I actually love the whole idea, it’s brilliant!

    Hubs and I are not exchanging gifts this year, it’s just too much and Christmas is much tighter this year than in years past. I love seeing how families think outside the box and can still hold the spirit of the holidays in their hearts without obsessing over gifts.

  2. Great idea! We used to do similarly, but now three out of four have money to spend on their own, so I don’t get to do it anymore. I actually enjoyed the craziness of them all shopping and running around keeping secrets!

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