A Guide To Dollar Store Secret Santa

Many of you are probably wondering about the strange Bernician ritual of Dollar Store Secret Santa–we’ve been doing it for years, but this is the first time we’ve opened it up to the public.  Why shop for your loved ones at a dollar store?  Because most Americans–real people–will have to shop there at some point in their lives, it’s a connection to real people.  Weird dollar store toys are little bits of joy.  I think of it as a celebration of the odd small luxuries we all want for ourselves but can’t have.

Plus, it supports local businesses.  (Ironic patronage, yes, but that’s more than most of the new Brooklynites are willing to do.)  And, hell, it’s fun.  You’re getting a toy again!  And, if you don’t like it, it only cost a dollar after all.


We’d really like one of these, to be honest.

So, if you’re coming to The Oh, Bernice! Holiday Special this Saturday, why not bring something and get the best worst present you ever got in return?

Here’s some guidelines:

  • No dish detergent/cleansers.  I know they’re sold there, but nobody wants knockoff Joy (Mirth?) as a present.
  • Don’t feel you have to buy the most expensive toy in the store either (ie, the knock hockey set) to feel legitimized in this.  This is a celebration of childhood, when the little things mattered.  Buy nostalgia.  Buy a smile, a laugh.  It doesn’t take much.

And now some frequently asked questions:

  • Why are you doing this?  I couldn’t explain it if I tried.  (Clearly.)
  • How will this work?  Good question.  When you arrive at the bookstore, you’ll put your wrapped present with the others.  One by one, we’ll each pick a present from the pile (not the one you brought, of course) until everyone who brought a present, gets a present.  And, then, everyone will be happy!  (Kind of.)
  • Does candy/gum count as a present?  Maybe.  It better be pretty cool candy/gum, and/or a lot of it.  (Wrigley’s Spearmint is not a gift.)
  • Does it have to be wrapped?  Yes.  Let me say that again.  Yes.  Please wrap the darn thing–it’s supposed to be a surprise.
  • Does a gift bag count as wrapping a present?  (Sigh.)  If you figure out a way to seal the bag, we’ll talk.

If you have any questions not addressed here, please submit them to bernicians@gmail.com. They will most likely be ignored.

Don’t come unprepared.  See you tomorrow!

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