It’s become hard to talk about Christmas without someone mentioning Elf on the Shelf. The little elf that is meant to keep an eye on children for Santa has taken the world by storm. But for those who don’t celebrate Christmas, for the Jewish community, there hadn’t been anything like Elf on the Shelf. Then Mensch on a Bench came into town. If you’re interested in starting a family tradition with Mensch on a Bench, there are 8 rules you’ll need to follow. These rules are important and must be followed by any family who invites this Mensch into their homes.
There are 8 rules to having a Mensch on a Bench and some even say there is an unwritten 9th rule that after Hanukkah Mensches like to cut loose after working so hard!
Mensch on a Bench is the Jewish community’s answer to Elf on the Shelf. Like the elf, Mensch keeps an eye on children during the holiday season, can become a new tradition, and allows for plenty of creativity. To get the most fun out of your Mensch, it’s important to understand and follow the rules, and have everything you need on hand. The Dreidel Dog is a fun accessory, as is the Ask Bubbe talking doll! The most important thing about the Mensch is that you and your family have fun and learn about the meaning of Hannukah.
Rule 1 | He Needs a Name
When we welcome guests into our homes, we usually know them by name. Mensch on a Bench will be in your home for an extended visit so give him a name. You can pick any name you’d like but a good idea would be to just have fun with it.
Rule 2 | Have Fun
Like Elf on the Shelf, Mensch on a Bench is meant to become a family tradition. The best way to make a new tradition is to have as much fun as possible. If Moshe was always trying to have fun and make kids smile, then so should your Mensch.
Rule 3 | Light a Candle
Every night of Hanukkah, another candle is lit. Let your Mensch help light the candle by handing him a Shamash candle and using that candle to light your Menorah. This is the perfect way to make the Mensch part of the tradition and the holiday in general.
Rule 4 | Hanukkah Magic
The Mensch is there to help but also there to watch. Be sure to let your children know that if they behave during Hanukkah, the Mensch will let go of the candle with ease. If not, that candle he holds won’t be so easy to take and that means no Menorah lighting and no gift.
Rule 5 | Keep it Moving
While the Mensch is known for sitting on the bench, he doesn’t like being in one spot for too long. Help him move to a new spot every day, Mensches love to have fun too, so get creative.
Rule 6 | Take a Photo
Mensches love to save the memories of their time with the family so be sure to take photos. The more creative the better because Mensch wants you to share them with your family and friends so they can see his skills.
Rule 7 | Spread the Love
Pick one night of Hanukkah and don’t open gifts for yourself. Instead, buy and give gifts to others who are in need. A Mensch is someone who puts a smile on someone else’s face.
Rule 8 | Never Sleep
Mensches don’t sleep, so they don’t mind watching over the menorah. In fact, they prefer to watch over the Menorah overnight.
These rules are meant to help you learn how to start a new tradition with Mensch on a Bench. Of course, no one will hold you to them, but they will make for an unforgettable holiday.