Last week, I wrote about all the really good holiday buys you can find at dollar stores. You can find a wealth of holiday swag: stocking stuffers, candles, paper products, gift wrap, decorations.
What you won’t find are a lot of actual presents, at least not presents that stand on their own.
So today I wanted to talk about my go-to destination for inexpensive holiday gifts: Five Below.
Five Below is a chain of discount stores where everything in the store is $5 or less. And while the merchandise skews young, there are a lot of cool stuff for just about anyone. That makes it the perfect destination for picking up Secret Santa gifts, novelty items and gag gifts, small toys and inexpensive electronics that aren’t quite as basic as what you find in the dollar store.
It’s also a good place to take kids to shop. I take Little Bit there to pick up presents from her to her dad, and he really loves the alien nightlight and travel pillow she picked out for him in previous years.
So whether you need to find presents for under $5 for a Secret Santa or want a few extra things for the kids to open, Five Below has a great selection to choose from.
I’m not getting compensated by Five Below for this. I just think it’s a fun place to shop for the holidays.
When You Spend $5 Instead of $1
While I love dollar stores, their supply of stuff tends to be…utilitarian. And that’s great, because the world needs places to buy off-brand stuff dirt cheap.
When you go in Five Below, you’ve opened yourself up to a whole new world of pop culture finds. Take emojis. At Dollar Tree, I found emoji bandages. At Five Below, I found emoji hats, ornaments, pillows, t-shirts, and slippers. Everywhere I looked, there was a poop emoji. Where there were no emojis, there were Shopkins, or a Minion, or Star Wars.
Crayola markers. Legos, if in small packages. Disney and Nickelodeon characters. Stuff that kids might actually ask for.
While Five Below doesn’t carry the sheer range of strictly useful stuff you can find at the dollar store (cat litter, cleaning supplies, groceries), they tend to stock a much greater variety in the areas they do stock. The store is colorful, inviting and fun, and they change their merchandise regularly.
Like the dollar store, not everything is good value, and you probably won’t find a bunch of stuff that lasts forever. Not every Christmas gift needs to be an heirloom, though. There’s a place in Christmas for silly and ephemeral, and Five Below answers that need without breaking your budget.
Santa Claus has always found Little Bit a few items from Five Below. And Little Bit can often find things she wants to buy with her allowance.
While some of them have been duds (the spirograph knockoff stands out in particular), most of them have been pretty nice toys. For instance, last year Santa found a bunch of Play Doh (to replace the Play Doh that inevitably gets dried out or mushed into ugly colors.) The 12 cans Santa found were on the small side, but it was still 12 different colors of Play Doh for $5.
Santa also picks up brightly colored kid sporting equipment. In previous years, Little Bit received soccer balls, playground balls, a basketball, and a football. For introducing a kid to sports basics, they’ve been perfect.
Five Below gets some good closeouts too. In previous years, we’ve found My Little Pony Dolls. This year, they are carrying Barbie dolls. And giant foam swords that Little Bit immediately grabbed when we scouted for this article. We’ve also picked up solar powered robots for my nephew there, so they carry plenty of toys for older kids, too. (Solar Sharkbot! How cool is that?)
Santa probably won’t find all his toys at Five Below. It’s a great place to supplement the gift haul, though, or pick up small gifts for your child’s friends and extended family without spending a bunch.
Art and Craft Supplies
I have a teenaged niece, and she stopped wanting toys (at least affordable toys) years ago.
She does, however, like to make things. During her tween years, we gave her a bunch of craft sets, and Five Below has bunches. Sets for making jewelry and friendship bracelets, for making slime and fake poop, to knit scarves or make a quilt or design a purse.
Five Below also carries a bunch of art supplies, and they tend to be better value than dollar store paints, crayons and markers. You’ll find name brands like Sharpie and Crayola and even Melissa and Doug. We even saw nice journals and sketchpads.
You won’t find the sheer variety of supplies that you’ll find at a craft store or even a Target or Walmart. It’s still ALL $5 and less.
As kids get older, their toys become a lot more expensive…cell phones and iPads and Bluetooth, oh my!
You won’t find those things at Five Below. You will, however, find a bunch of accessories for those expensive toys in appealing and fun designs. Five Below carries numerous headphones, cases, chargers, and just about everything else you need other than the devices themselves. We bought our daughter’s headphones there, because 6 year olds don’t need Beats. She loves the bright pink and blue headphones that save her parent’s sanity from hours of non-stop KidzBop.
We even found some neat little portable LED-lit speakers.for my new step nephews. In the past, we’ve seen small plasma balls, disco balls, lava lamps and strobe lights. In other words, all those things I wanted to decorate my room with when I was a teenager, but actually affordable.
Novelties & Other Stuff
Five Below had a fair amount of Christmas swag, most of it presentable for gifting. While the dollar store had plain red and green stockings and basic ornaments, Five Below carried faux fur and plaid stockings and Doctor Who ornaments. While you pay a lot more for each item, you’re much more likely to find focus pieces for your tree or home, especially if your tastes run toward pop culture or trendy.
We also have bought our gingerbread house kit there for the last couple of years. We’ve made assembling one a tradition over the last few years, and this store seems to have a good price and variety to choose from each year.
While I’m not sure I’d buy hats and mittens at the dollar store because they always feel scratchy, I did see some that looked more comfy, as well as fluffy throws, lounge pants and slippers. The novelty tees are fun, too.
And Little Bit totally wanted the sets of nail polish. In fairness, the colors appealed to me too, so I may head back for one when she’s not in tow. And the prank items are always worth a look as stocking stuffers.
You can find a wide variety of items including housewares, personal care items, and pet stuff. There are party supplies and candies, too, but I think you can find better buys elsewhere for those.
Fun for Five Bucks or Less
Did you get the impression that I really love this store?
Five Below’s hard to beat as a resource for finding fun cheap presents to round out my giving, especially for the younger set. And it’s a terrific place to take Little Bit shopping for others, since the amount of money she has to spend is limited. Five Below has over 500 stores in 32 states, so if you have one near you and haven’t been, check it out this holiday season.
You’ll find fun for $5 or less.
What’s your favorite source for inexpensive Christmas presents?