Keeping things simple is key to creating magic with your Mensch on a Bench. Check out my tips, tricks and sample schedule for the busy mom who’s short on time but big on family magic and Hanukkah memories.
Growing up, we never had a Mensch on the Bench, so when it first came out, I got one and had NO IDEA what to do with it!
I had seen crazy pictures of The Elf on the Shelf gone rogue, and began to see some friends posting crazy pics like that of the Mensch, but I didn’t have time to be that funny and clever, and I certainly did NOT want to encourage mischievous behavior from my already rambunctious little ones.
It wasn’t until we were visiting my cousin, who celebrates Christmas, that I really understood the true MAGIC of Elf on the Shelf and began to see the potential of our MENSCH on a Bench. My cousin explained that her Elf comes down from the North Pole the morning after Thanksgiving, transforming the house (from Thanksgiving décor) to a magical Winter Wonderland. I was there to witness the excitement and pure joy of her young kids soo excited to see this magical creature appearing in their living room.
And I have to say…it did feel like there was magic in the air!
Don’t Overthink it!
As a mom of 4 kids, she explained that she keeps it simple.
She literally just moves the Elf to a different place every night. And the kids get super excited. It’s a whole game—they can’t wait to see where the Elf is going to be.
“But don’t you need to do something clever—show the Elf doing something at night-like I see on Instagram and Facebook?” I asked.
“Absolutely NOT,” she explained. “Don’t overthink it! Little kids don’t have Instagram-they don’t know about all that stuff. They just want to see the magical elf.”
You don't have to be clever to be magical with Mensch on a Bench, just keep things simple! Click To Tweet
I finally began to see truly understand the MAGIC of Mensch on the Bench.
How to Introduce your Mensch
So I gave it a try. The night before Hanukkah, I set up our Mensch on his bench, gave him a candle to hold, and included the book by his side.
The next morning when my girls came down for breakfast, they saw him and were very excited that they had a magical visitor. I explained that he’s a magical man here to help us celebrate Hanukkah.
He’s a mensch—and mensches are people that do very good things (good deeds), every day.
So, we have to try and do something good each day of Hanukkah. If we’re very good, he’ll give us his candle to use as the Shamash on the Menorah. If we’re not good, he won’t give it up.
And Most Importantly….I reminded them that he’s MAGICAL, so no one is allowed to touch him or else he’ll lose his magic powers!
Easy and Fun ways to do “Mensch on a Bench” for Beginners
The Magic Begins…
And so it began…our adventures with our new Mensch on a bench. I kept things very simple—I basically just moved him from room to room throughout the house. And every morning, my girls would run downstairs, super excited to see where the Mensch was and what color candle he was holding that day.
They were so excited, you could really feel the magic in our house. And it even sparked their creativity, as they tried to figure out how he got to his new location.
I reminded them that they had to help others and be on their good behavior or no candle and this worked out pretty well.
So without further adieu, here is a sample plan to help you keep things simple and magical with your Mensch on a Bench!
Sample Plan for Busy Moms Without Time to Worry about such Mshuges:
First Morning: Leave him out somewhere obvious (like the kitchen table or counter), where your kids will see him right away. Introduce him, read the story, and explain how to act like a mensch. Don’t forget to name him! That night, don’t forget to use his candle as the shamash!
Second Morning: Leave him out in the kitchen next to the bananas or coffee mug. A mensch can get hungry!
Third Morning: Leave him by some Hanukkah decorations.
Fourth Morning: Leave him by the Menorah. Explain he was too tired to move.
Fifth Morning: Leave him by the toy bin hanging out with a few of your kids’ favorites.
Sixth Morning: Leave him by the Menorah. He was tired again.
Seventh Morning: Leave him on the table reading his book and remind your kids to do Mitzvah.
Eighth Morning: Leave him out with some blank paper and explain that he probably fell asleep writing thank you notes to Bubbe and Zaidy. Then remind your kids that they should do the same!
AND that’s it! You’re done! You did it!
Have you done the Mensch on a Bench at your house yet? How’d it go? Leave me a comment below.
And always Celebrate the Cocktail of Life!
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