Digging in at the Dollar Store

I LOVE our local Dollar Tree store. It has some of the most random and sometimes super useful items for only a dollar!

My friend, Candi, shared their family tradition with me and I thought it sounded fantastic.  Candi would take her three boys to the dollar store and have them choose gifts for her husband or for grandparents…anyone that was needing a gift for an upcoming holiday or celebration.

I’ve only taken my guys during Christmas time and so far it has been one of my favorite parts of our Holiday Season.

So here are some of the planning and steps that go into our adventures at the Dollar Store in case you were thinking about adding this to your gift list or Holiday adventures 😮

1st – Choose a day when time is flexible. Picking out gifts for multiple people with multiple children and inputs is NOT a quick process. If we feel rushed to finish our trip we’ll be tempted to jump in and choose things for our kids instead of letting this be a gift that is truly from their heart.

2nd – Make a list and brainstorm with your kids about what each person on the list could use or needs. Have this conversation before going to the store. For example, I go down the list and say the person’s name, ask the boys what that person does for a living or what hobbies they enjoy.  If they don’t know I help them remember. When the boys have these details fresh on their mind they tend to choose gifts that are specific to each person.

Here’s our list from this week:

3rd – While sitting in the car, ready to go into the store, turn around and ask everyone involved: “Are we buying anything for US in the store today?”. Hopefully they will answer “no”.  This year my youngest asked, in response to my direct question, “Can we maybe just get one candy for each of us AND get gifts for people on our list? Please?”. Because we were in the car, free from public pressure I had a minute to think. This time I decided to say, “Sure. Each boy can pick out one kind of candy.”

As their eyes lit up I quickly added, “And Buddy I’m so glad you asked me now. You weren’t whining, you weren’t crying; you just used your words and even said please! You did a great job asking me nicely. But let me ask you guys something…what if I had said ‘No, you can’t get candy’ ?”

They stared at me with blank looks on their faces and my oldest child saved them with this response: “We’d be sad, but then we’d remember that this is a shopping trip for other people, not us”. The other two boys just nodded and then my middle son (the child that keeps me humble and honest) chirped up for the first time: “But you said yes this time – right?”

We all laughed and headed into the store and I let the digging begin!!

They talk to each other the entire time and even though every gift picked up isn’t always a good idea – it’s put in the basket and we assess our choices before heading to the cash register.

This year the boys did a great job thinking about each person, listening and talking to each other and I tried as much as I could to stay out of things. Sometimes I had to jump in, we ended up adding some people to our list but in the end left the store happy and finished.

Finally I’ll let the boys wrap these gifts and I love watching them give presents that THEY chose and THEY prepared – it’s the real reason for the season isn’t it?  Giving is good and this approach doesn’t destroy my already tight budget.

Happy shopping to all of you! Send us pictures of your kids buying gifts for others! We’d love to hear and see what your family does…

Merry Christmas!


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