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Over the Elf? Try These Alternative Holiday Traditions

Maybe the kids thought the elf was creepy. Maybe you did. Maybe you're Jewish. It's all good, thanks to two new traditions you can adopt instead.

Elf on the Shelf Alternatives

If you work in any sort of childcare setting, you’€™ve probably noticed a trend of the children greeting you each day by telling you where their elf was positioned that morning. From Facebook to book club, it’s hard to avoid news of the infamous Elf on The Shelf.


While this trend has taken off the past few years, not everyone is convinced this little visitor from the North Pole is all he’€™s cracked up to be. However, if you still like the idea of a holiday tradition to put everyone in the spirit, here are two elf alternatives that are sure to make everyone smile.


Mensch on a Bench

Moshe, the Mensch on a Bench, is the perfect addition to any Jewish home during the celebration of Hanukkah. Neal Hoffman, the creator of the mensch doll and book, was inspired when he felt his Jewish sons may feel left out of The Elf on The Shelf trend. Having a background making toys for Hasbro, Neal was happy to combine his religion with his love for making toys and bringing joy to families around the county.


In the book (packaged with the Mensch doll), read Mosche’s eight important rules. The word “€œmensch” means a person with high integrity and honor, and Mosche certainly lives up to that. The seventh rule on the list states that families should opt to buy presents for those in need instead of opening presents themselves. The mensch holds the Shamash candle during the day, and if your little ones don’€™t behave, he might not be so quick to give it up to light the menorah at night! More than anything, this mensch just wants you to enjoy this special holiday with your family!


The Christmas Pickle Tradition

No one is certain where this tradition of an ornament in the shape of a pickle being hidden on the Christmas tree began, but you’ve certainly heard of it. The tradition goes that the first to find it Christmas morning will have good fortune for the next year, and in many families that begins with a special gift.


Philadelphia mom Tammy Lee Dwyer came up with the concept after looking for a book to share with her son’s class about the tradition … and coming up empty. She filled the void with The Christmas Pickle Tradition, a sweet story of giving that now your family can use to bring the tradition into your home. The kit comes with the storybook, a guide, and a pickle ornament for you to hide this Christmas Eve.

Photo by Erin Walker on Unsplash