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Dollar Store Easter Baskets to the Rescue!

Dollar Store Easter Baskets to the Rescue!

For many families in Northeast Mississippi – in fact, for families just about everywhere – rising costs make life harder and harder. This money pinch is often felt even more during holidays, when meals, gifts and extended-family entertaining are expected.

We of course always want to support local businesses if there’s a choice, but sometimes…we just can’t afford it. If you’re feeling the financial burn this Easter and have no other choice, consider filling your child’s Easter basket with items from a dollar store, such as Dollar Tree.

Now, things have gotten so expensive that even Dollar Tree is no longer a dollar – this popular budget chain recently changed its pricing, and many items are now $1.25 … or even more. For most things, however, it’s still more affordable to put together a “$1.25 store” Easter basket than it is to buy these things from a grocery or other higher-priced retailer. 

Here are a few hints for putting together an Easter basket – or birthday gift – for under $20, with all items purchased at your neighborhood dollar store.

– If your child does not have a basket he or she uses every year, consider using a cute plastic bin or pail in a pastel color, since it can be reused in the home in ways a traditional Easter basket cannot. Once it is filled, use clear cellophane wrap – also found at the dollar store – to finish it off and give it the “fancy” look your child will love. Tie a single helium balloon to it to give the gift more oomph in its impact on Easter morning.

– While parents often notice the difference between brand-name candies and generics from a Dollar Tree, small children will never notice. Save your coins for things that really matter and that they WILL notice, and go generic on the jellybeans and “Peeps!”

– Most kids will do just fine without the huge, expensive chocolate bunnies. Instead, get several smaller, hollow bunnies from the dollar store and make the “big” item in the basket a large toy, also from the dollar store. Think in terms of size: Inflatable balls, plastic swords, pool toys… basically anything with a spring or summer feel that will impress. Most little ones will never notice the bunny is smaller than it was last year.

– Spark your child’s interest in gardening by including REAL gardening supplies in his or her gift basket. Dollar stores now have a surprising array of gardening items, and you can be sure you’ll be getting them for the lowest price possible. A pack or two of flower seeds, a few plastic or terracotta pots, a small garden shovel or trowel, and a pretty pair of garden gloves in an Eastertime shade will inspire any child that’s a nature-lover at heart!

– If you are on a really tight budget and your child needs clothing, add a few clothing items to the basket. Be sure to color coordinate it all to an Easter theme. Think: pastel colored socks, cute undies, a sun hat, flip flops, or any necessities you will need to buy soon anyway. Combined with six or eight bags of chocolates, jellybeans and a small hollow bunny, your child will still feel special despite the fact that these are clothing necessities.

– For older kids, make a basket that’s half candies and half “cool” stuff such as dollar store earbuds, phone case, phone stand, small external speakers, sunglasses, DVDs, bath bombs or body washes/sprays, etc. If you use your imagination and are open to anything, you might come up with a unique and very personalized basket for your tween or teen. By the teen years, if you still give your kids Easter gifts, they really only need a few token candy items…the rest should be useful or cool stuff.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Good luck in saving money, and Happy Easter!

About The Author

Kara Bachman

Kara Bachman is a Managing Editor for Parents & Kids. She's also a book editor, former newspaper reporter, and is author of the humor essay collection, "Kissing the Crisis," which deals with the zanier aspects of parenting, relationships and turning 40. She's read her work on NPR radio and over 1,500 items have appeared in dozens of literary and commercial publications, including The Writer, The Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, the New Orleans Times-Picayune and, Dogster, Mississippi Magazine, American Fitness and many more. She's a New Orleans native, but lived for over a dozen years on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including during 2005 when her house was flooded by Hurricane Katrina. She's a mom to two teenagers.

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