Since tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, I’m going to post this picture I took at a local Michaels Arts & Crafts store last month.

Remember The Elf on the Shelf? Those of you who have walked into a store recently probably can’t avoid that annual marketing juggernaut, even though that elf bears a strong resemblance to a vintage elf ornament that I’ve owned since I was a child. (Which I wrote about a few years ago in this post.)

Well the marketing forces aren’t satisfied enough with The Elf on the Shelf. They have now come up with a Hanukkah equivalent known as The Mensch on a Bench. There’s a stuffed Mensch on a Bench doll with an included storybook. There’s even another stuffed doll that’s related to The Mensch on a Bench known as Ask Bubbe, where you squeeze her hand and she says the stereotypical Jewish grandmother stuff. Here’s a photo I took of the pair below.

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I know that The Elf on the Shelf has become pretty controversial because of the idea of someone who spies on a child and secretly reports to Santa Claus whether that child has been naughty or nice (which sounds like a sanitized Christmas version of the “Big Brother is Watching You” slogan from George Orwell’s 1984 novel). I haven’t heard any similar controversy regarding The Mensch on a Bench so maybe this one is more benign.

Anyway I’ll close this post with this classic video featuring Adam Sandler singing the “Chanukah Song.”

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