Christmas Shopping at the Five and Ten

Neisner's (1024x795)At Christmas time, my little sister and I loved to go to Neisner’s 5 and 10 (“the dime store”, we called it), a treasure trove of gifts for children, or adults for that matter, with small coins in their pockets.  We circled around and around the counters, picking up cards with beautiful jeweled earrings or flowered boxes of dusting powder or the ever popular Midnight in Paris perfume in small cobalt blue bottles.  These would be wonderful surprises for Mother, the Grandmas, the aunts – if we pooled our money.  There were small bottles of shaving lotion, glistening emerald green on the counters, which were standard fare for the men in the family.  For small cousins there were jack sets, paddle balls, tiny dolls – such an array!

Now, that 5 and 10 stores are a thing of the past, I remember all those dear people opening our dime store gifts, clumsily wrapped and labeled, and exclaiming with wonder – the same as my sister and I did as we entered the marvelous world of Neisner’s.


Published by


Lillian Applegate Westfelt was a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, and great-grandmother of 3. She was an 86-year-old widow living in a nice little bungalow with her oldest daughter and a beagle-dachsund named Addie. She passed away in November, 2018.

9 thoughts on “Christmas Shopping at the Five and Ten”

  1. Reblogged this on knitNkwilt and commented:
    This brought back memories of the three “five and dime” stores in my town and one Christmas shopping event. It starts with a punishment. I was a bit clumsy and frequently broke dishes as I washed or dried them, and the ritual punishment was that I replace them from my $0.25/week allowance. I broke four cereal bowls.
    Next bit of background. My mother would take me Christmas shopping for all other family members and help, not only with decisions but with paying. No one thought to take me and do the same for her, so I was on my own and her gifts were usually some little thing I had made or something from the five and dime.
    That year I thought I had the perfect solution. I was never too good at knowing what she might want or need, but that year I knew she needed four cereal bowls.
    So I bought them for $0.25 each, wrapped them and put them under the tree.
    Her amused reaction when she opened her present puzzled me.

  2. Oh, thank you for reminding me of walking “to town” with my Nana and part of that trip always included a stop at Nesser’s Dime Store This were certainly more than a dime by the time the 60’s came and I was there with Nana, but they were still reasonably priced and I remember a long display that I could barely peer into that was partitioned off about every 6 inches. That display encircled the perimeter of the store and with each step, I discovered a new treasure. Lovely memories. Merry Christmas Lillian!

  3. i remember the dine store well and walking up and down the counters. I think that is why I’m such a selective shopper these days, old habits are hard to break..

  4. I worked in two five and tens, first Woolworth, my first job after school and Sat. making 65 cents an hour. My second job was at Kresges also a five and ten. It was downtown so I only needed one bus to get there, no transfers. I met Heidi’s Dad there.

    1. Oh, I remember Woolworth’s very well and Kresge’s as well as Newberry’s. We were well supplied with dime stores.

      Love that you met your “million dollar baby at the five and ten-cent store”. Lillian

  5. This reminds me of infrequent trips to Woolworths in the 1950’s—-a drive of nearly an hour from my childhood home. Amazing what a few dollars would buy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s