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Back to School Christmas Shopping


It may seem like a really odd time to think about Christmas shopping, with all the craziness of school shopping and lunch packing. But it’s actually a great time to get prepped and an even better way to save money.

Back to School Christmas Shopping - Double up on your supply shopping and squirrel some away from cheap and easy Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers

This is the time of year when art supplies are at rock bottom prices. A few years ago there was a population explosion in my family, we went from 1 kid to 10 in a few years. That’s a lot of Christmas gifts. I’m not a big fan of going into debt for the holidays but I like to give gifts so I had a problem that needed solving. I also have an aversion to ‘toys’ I prefer things that require imagination like stuffed animals or… art supplies. See where I’m going with this?

All you need is a list of the kids, ages and general interests before you hit the stores. If you have a lot to buy for it’s easier to make a list unless you want to end up scouring the aisles for a matching notebook 3 months later (not that I’ve done that).

My plan for this year: Little Ones – I’ve got two 3 year olds on my list this year. They’ll be getting:

School Shopping for Christmas - Art Supplies for Little Kids

  • Large pack of construction paper
  • Washable chubby markers
  • Crayons
  • Coloring books (probably won’t find these on sale but Dollar General usually has some good ones for $1)

Big Kids – There are 4 of these ranging from 6-11. They will be getting:

School Shopping for Christmas - Art Supplies for Older Kids

  • Pad of sketch paper
  • Watercolor paint palette
  • Skinny markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Bright eraser
  • Glue stick

Each one will also be getting a zippered pencil pouch to hold all the little stuff, surprisingly all the stuff for the older kids (except the paper) fit in the little pouch. The chubby markers don’t fit in the boxes but will once they’re out so it’s fine in the end. When I was picking up the coloring books I grabbed two packs of stickers, each had 6 sheets so it worked out perfectly for me. Last year I got each one a simple backpack (I bought 6 different colors of this Port Authority Basic Drawstring Backpack
*affiliate link*) but I’m not quite sure how I’ll be wrapping them this year.

Other options for art supplies:

  • Scissors  (each of these houses has a baby/toddler in it and I didn’t want to be responsible for that)
  • Ruler
  • Stencils
  • Glitter glue/pens
  • Finger paint
  • Foam stickers

It’s an easy gift to customize, you can personalize it with each child’s favorite color or even character. You can go small and get a few boxes of crayons for stocking stuffers or go all out and fill up a box.

If you’re anything like me it’s a good idea to put your early gift purchases somewhere easy to find. Like in the box with your Christmas ornaments, somewhere you’ll find them in time to wrap them up and give them out.


  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    That is a great idea. My xmas shopping has been done for a while, but I always stock up on supplies when they go on clearance because the kids always run out half way through the year.

  2. Not sure if I am ready to think about Christmas already, but it is such a great idea to gift school supplies. By then most of the kids are sick of what they are currently using, plus they have probably ruined or lost a fair share of it too. Plus with the deals out now this is a perfect gift to get and be done. – Katy
    KatyRose recently posted…Meet Rita – the ultimate fall wrap dressMy Profile

  3. Great idea. I shop year round for Christmas. When I see things on sale I grab them!
    Diane N – Philzendia recently posted…Fig Bars Make For The Perfect SnackMy Profile

  4. My 3 year old would love these! His bday is also in decemeber so we have tons of shopping to do!
    Allyson recently posted…A More Organized Life with T-Mobile 4G Trio AXSMy Profile

  5. You are so so so smart to shop early! It is so good to stretch your finances over a period of time vs all in Dec. Good thinking!
    Deanna Ritz recently posted…Chocolate Chip PieMy Profile

  6. When my kids were little, I was always done Christmas shopping by Halloween. Made life so much easier. Craft supplies, science kits and toys that build were always I big hit too. We always kept tv viewing at a minimum, and the electronics weren’t as popular as they are now (thank goodness!). For your older kids, consider graph paper too, you’ll be surprised by what the grids can inspire!

  7. This is a great idea! I also buy for the less fortunate and plan for next year’s needs that way I can easily afford them!
    Amy Desrosiers recently posted…Create-UR-Plate: The Perfect Way to Design a Spooky Halloween Tablescape!My Profile

  8. Me too! I stock up during those Back to School sales! Who can beat 25 cent box of crayons!

  9. All of these are right up my daughter’s alley. She loves to color, paint and draw.

  10. this would be great for birthday gifts for little kids as well.
    maria @ close to home recently posted…How to Make An Easy Pumpkin Wreath out of RibbonMy Profile

  11. I agree that it’s a great time to start shopping for holiday gifts now. Everything is a lot cheaper!
    aly mashrah recently posted…15 Easy After School Snack IdeasMy Profile

  12. This is a great idea. I usually start Christmas shopping after Halloween yet it still feels like I do not have enough time.
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  13. I’ve been Christmas shopping too!
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  14. This is a great idea for birthday presents for kids presents throughout the year. It makes sense to stock up on them now when these things are so inexpensive.
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  15. I had to buy crayons in January once, when the teacher requested new packs because they had all been used up, and was SHOCKED by the price. Probably 4x what I had paid over the summer. So now I make sure to stock up on things like this- they make good gifts and won’t go to waste.
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