Christmas comes early at the dollar store

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Stores used to wait until one season was pretty much over before filling the shelves with next season's props. In the last couple of years though, the trend has been to overlap merchandise. Thus, a month or more before gardening tools are no longer needed, Halloween paraphernalia starts to make an appearance. And even while people are still preparing for Halloween and Thanksgiving, silver bells and glittery garland are winking at us from store shelves.

Well, I usually like to start thinking about Christmas shopping in October anyway and the dollar store is always a great place to start. Here are a few holiday items I found while out and about recently along with what's available from Dollar Tree Direct. Everything listed here is only $1.

Christmas cookie tins. These are always great for gifting homemade treats. Dollarama sells brightly patterned ones in various sizes up to 7 1/2" round and Dollar Tree Direct has these in solid colors and two-tone stripes in two different sizes, as well as square tins with hinged lids in two different sizes, the largest of which is 6 /4"x 4 1/4".

Snowman figurines. Dollarama has an assortment of these friendly fellows dressed in bright holiday costumes. They are approximately 4" high. The poly resin snow people at Dollar Tree Direct are blue and white and the biggest ones are 6 1/4" x 3 3/4", a really good price for a buck. If, like me, you have a friend who collects snowmen figurines, one of these would make a nice add on gift.

Christmas candles. I scored some beautiful snowflake candles at Dollarama. They are about 3" wide and 1 1/4" deep. Use them as stocking stuffers or as add on gifts, as well as in your own holiday decorating.

Luxury Gift Tags. I bought some of these handmade 3-D gift tags last year and they were a big hit with people. There are four different designs on a card for $1 and last year they sold out fast so if you see some in your favorite dollar store, snap 'em up quick! I wish I could show you a picture of them up close; they're so beautiful.

Plush Christmas toys. Dollar Tree Direct has these in 10 and 12" sizes. Choose from reindeer, santas, teddy bears, snowmen and penguins. If you do shoebox gifts for kids overseas, it's always nice to include a snugly friend for them to keep.

Check out the rest of the fine assortment of Christmas items at Dollar Tree Direct and get a head start on your Christmas shopping while the getting's good!

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes tips and ideas for decorating using only items from the dollar store.

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