‘Shmelf The Hanukkah Elf’ Aims To Bring The Magic Of Santa To Jewish Kids


During the holiday season, most kids hear about Santa Claus, elves and Rudolph, and although there’s definitely a ton of fun in the Christmas Spirit, many Jewish kids end up feeling left out. This year especially, when the first night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Eve, coinciding for the first time in over 50 year, it can help to be inclusive, and one new book aims to do just do that.

“Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf” is a new children’s book from Bloomsbury publishing that follows Shmelf, one of Santa’s elves who makes sure all the children on the “good” list get their presents. He notices some children are missing from the list, which is when he discovers Hanukkah. Shmelf takes an interest in the holiday and wants to become involved in the traditions. Luckily, Santa has a special place for him, and Shmelf becomes “Santa’s special ambassador to Jewish children.”

The book’s author Greg Wolfe came up with the idea for the story when his son asked him, “Does Santa even know who I am?” Wolfe told TODAY Parents that even when kids are Jewish (like his whole family is), Santa is everywhere, from the mall to our TV screens. He wanted the book to show that Jewish children could love and embrace Hanukkah, while still feeling a link to the bigger “World of Christmas” all around them.

And while there’s already a Jewish version of the “Elf on the Shelf” in the “Mensch on a Bench,” it helps to have a little mascot and children’s story that straddles both holidays, too.

“[Shmelf] is an elf who makes Jewish kids realize they can still have the idea of Santa Claus while still loving and appreciating their own culture and traditions,” Wolfe said.

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas, “Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf” is the perfect book to celebrate and embrace both of thexd winter holidays. After all, tradition is what we make of it, and Shmelf the Elf proves that.

“Shmelf The Hanukkah Elf” is available on Amazon for $14.39. 

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About the Author
Carina Wolff
Carina is a health and wellness journalist based in Los Angeles. When she’s not writing, doing yoga, or exploring mountains and beaches, she spends her time cooking and creating recipes for her healthy food blog, Kale Me Maybe. Carina is also an ongoing writer for Bustle, Reader's Digest, FabFitFun, and more.

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