Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dollar Tree Tradition!

We have this little thing we do. I guess you'd call it a tradition.
We never planned to have this tradition....I mean it's not one of those Norman Rockwell family moments that you picture in your mind when you think about the special things you want to do year after year.
None the has become one of our families favorite things to do during the Christmas season.

About 2 weeks before Christmas, we pick a night when we're all together. No practices, or Boy Scouts, Indian Guides, or exams to study for.
We hop in the car and head on over to the Dollar store.
Each child chooses a shopping basket and a "something to cover the stuff with" and they go about their shopping.
Each one shops for the 4 other people in the family. For example...Emily shops for Mom, Dad, Zac and Jonathan. 1 thing for each.  They have to be careful so that no one sees what they are choosing.
Each person is welcome to give hints and show the others some of the things that they hope to get.
It is a wonder that anyone is really surprised.
They each have their money and get in the line...and secretly purchase the goods.
David and I usually follow them around to make sure they are safe. It is a little easier now that they are getting older.

 When we get home...they get to the wrapping. Mostly everything is stuffed into gift bags with tissue paper. Tags are stickered on and the presents are proudly displayed under the tree.
On Christmas Eve, we open our Dollar Store presents.

Over the years, we have gotten all sorts of things from candles and bubble bath, a spatula and a screwdriver, a whoopie cushion and a package of mechanical pencils, to hair bows and nail polish and cracker jacks and magic trick sets.

It's really funny because even though the kids (and us) get lots and lots of gifts at Christmas, these are the ones that we look forward to opening first!  
I would like to think that this tradition will continue on for years.

Wondering what I'll get this year.

I think I have a bit of an idea since Zac said.... "Mom, I can't tell you what kind of Christmas Village I got you. You like Village houses, right?"

Good times!


  1. This has been a suggestion of mine to several entities! Glad to see how fun it works out for you, too! :)) It's almost like the old Secret Santa Shoppe to the "nth" degree :))

  2. we do this too. . .it works so good doesn't it?

    Last years big hit was the stars and strips soda that comes in a 3-liter bottle. . .the boys clamied it was the best soda ever!

  3. This is great Jen! I think we'll have to try this next year. My boys LOVE the Dollar Tree. To them it's a treasure trove. And, yup, it's got a little bit of everything. Thanks for sharing this tradition.

  4. Would you believe I had never even heard of the Dollar Tree until earlier this year? It is now my two youngest favorite hang out. They are ready and waiting on Friday night when dad gets home from work. My husband takes them on Friday nights to the Dollar Tree and you should see some of the whoppers they come home with. I really like your idea and tradition...I may have to borrow that from you.
    The best stuff to get there is the press -n- seal wrap as well as decorated storage containers, in my opinion anyway.

  5. Zac is a slick one. :o)

    This is a wonderful holiday tradition and I think your children will love and continue it well into their adulthood. Someday your grandchildren may be shopping at the Dollar Store for Christmas treasures. You are making wonderful memories. Don't you just love that about Christmas?

    Jordan used to do his holiday shopping at the Dollar Store, too. He was always so proud of his choices. Great memories.

    Enjoy your new village house...I mean present. :o) Merry Christmas!

  6. Very cute! Merry Christmas...

  7. I love it! We used to do that until my kids graduated to Target (so much more expensive...but they still use their own money). Merry Christmas!

  8. We just started that this year but Aidan bought for the entire family. I think it is adorable to see what they pick out. AND unfortunately Daddy told Aidan to hide my present and he did (in his Hot Wheel box) and when we were playing Hot Wheels one day, I accidentally saw my gift, I wanted to cry!

  9. We do this too!!! It's so much fun for the kids to do their own shopping. Our kids have a Santa's Secret shop at school but the stuff sold there is more expensive and more funky (if you can believe that!). At Dollar Tree you can get more for your buck. I dropped hints as well at DT. Those little Santa figurines are too cute and a welcome addition to my Santa figurine collection. ;)

  10. that is a fun idea. and a lot simpler (and cheaper) than our current tradition of making each other gifts. thanks!

  11. it's so funny - we do this too!!! It's a little different b/c I take the girls w/o hubby and they make their purchases for each other and for us ($6 budget = 2 gifts for each recipient) - I like how you make the shopping into part of the experience and that all 4 of you are the givers (only the girls are my shoppers in our case) ... and truly, just like you said, these are our favorite most treasured gifts!! Might have to adjust ours a bit to be more like yours next year, I like the 'whole family' experience of yours!!

    Merry Christmas, Jen!

  12. We started to do this, too!! This is our 1st year at it :)

  13. What a great idea Jen!
    I can see my girls totally loving this tradition!!
    Enjoy the night and Merry Christmas.

  14. This for sure is a modern day Normal Rockwell moment. We have a Christmas tree festival in November every year and they have a Santa shop only children can enter. They help them choose gifts and wrap it up all nice for them. These too are our favourites to open.
    Merry Christmas,

  15. Love this idea!! Now my kids want to do it too!!