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Nov 22 2017
by Zehra Naqvi

A Guide To Dollar Store Holiday Gifts

By Zehra Naqvi - Nov 22 2017
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With holidays around the corner, such as Friendsgiving, you may be debating whether or not to get your friends some gifts. With the holiday advertisements, friendsgiving and pumpkin lattes, why not celebrate the upcoming winter season? Show your gratitude to your friends or prepare for a "we survived this semester" gift for the end of the year. One college student to another, we understand that spending a single penny on something that's not food or coffee is a serious sacrifice.

I went to Daiso, my local Japanese dollar store, to make four different gift baskets for an upcoming Friendsgiving dinner. Here is a guide to making dollar store holiday gifts. 

Functional or Paired Bags

Zehra Naqvi

If you get an item that can hold other items, you don't have to spend money on a gift bag. I went with a mug or a pencil holder, which also counted as a gift item as well. They also had other options such as vases or a refillable water bottle. But if you do not want to go this route, you can also find a pair of small gift bags. The main goal is to not spend extra money on a single item that cannot contribute as a gift item.

Personalization With One Unique Item

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Purchase one unique item, meaning it can be weird or just different from the other gifts. This item will serve as the main surprise. You can spend a few hours in the dollar store just looking at the cool items you never thought you needed. Choose one that would be perfect for one of your friends. When someone opens their bag, they'll appreciate the fact you tried to make their gift different from the others. I got an apple-cinnamon candle, a LED donkey light that also makes donkey noises, blueberry scented pencils and a monkey-figurine pen. 

Buy A Build & Split

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Purchase items in bulk. You can spend a dollar and have items for multiple gifts. The options range from pencils to picture frames. I spent $1 for mini pens and erasers. Each person got both items but their unique item made their gifts seem a bit more personalized.

Add $1 Candy & Treats

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You can also add your friend's favorite candy or treats for $1. Walgreens or Target may hike the price to $2 for any of these candy bars but one specific dollar store, Daiso, has got you covered. Personally, I got one Hershey's bar and packet of Hello Panda because two of my friends were getting gift bags rather than an additional gift item like the mug or pencil holder.

Only Buy Bundle Packaging

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You can purchase a pack of decorated foil from the dollar store to use as tissue paper. Because of the low quality, it has the consistency of thick paper. Also, you can find mini adhesive ribbons and bows for $1 to have an accent on the gifts.

Zehra Naqvi

After my whole dollar store haul, I was able to make four baskets each estimating around $5. Honestly, I did not have to spend money on packing but I decided to keep some for future birthday gift occasions. When I gave these gifts to my friends during Friendsgiving, they were happy. More importantly, they laughed at all the weird items they received. They were glad that I put in the time, money and effort to make these small gifts, despite many of them not using all of these items daily. Hopefully, this guide can help add more smiles and memories for all of your future holidays!

Lead Image Credit: Zehra Naqvi

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Zehra Naqvi - University of California, Berkeley

UC Berkeley Student | Staff Writer | Politics Writer

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