Eight very practical and not at all crazy nights
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Eight very practical and not at all crazy nights

Clock is ticking on sign-ups for viral Hanukkah promotion in which you pay your money and take your chances

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

A Hanukka menorah (Flash90)
A Hanukka menorah (Flash90)

There’s always a lot of anticipation in the lead-up to Hanukkah, but this year the holiday will be especially full of surprises for the 150,000 intrepid among us who sign up for the mysterious promotion called, “Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah.”

The promotion (basically a guerilla marketing campaign) comes to us from the creative minds behind Cards Against Humanity, the popular “party game for horrible people” whereby players compete by filling in blanks with phrase cards “ranging from merely politically incorrect to legitimately disgusting,” according to TIME.

“Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah” is a viral way to get the word out about the decidedly adult game, which despite its small advertising budget, is number one in the cards and games category on Amazon.com.

All we are told is that if we fork over $15 dollars to the game company, we’ll get eight mystery presents during December.

Max Temkin, one of the eight co-creators of Cards Against Humanity, was circumspect in a conversation with The Times of Israel about what these gifts will actually be.

Cards Against Humanity is a popular party game created by eight Jewish friends from Chicago. (Courtesy)
Cards Against Humanity is a popular party game created by eight Jewish friends from Chicago. (Courtesy)

“They’ll all be something interesting,” he said without elaborating.

If we go by the Chicago-based company’s previous holiday promotions (for Christmas and Kwanza), we could assume that they would be mainly envelopes printed with fun facts stuffed with sample cards from the game (some replete with foul language). There also might be some comic strips or illustrations thrown in there, too.

We just hope we don’t get anything like what the game sent people who signed up for a Black Friday promotion last year. In protest of the over-the-top commercialism of day after Thanksgiving, Cards Against Humanity announced it was pulling all its games off store shelves and only selling bullshit. And bullshit was literally what the 30,000 people who paid $6 for the offer got in the mail. It was a pasteurized cow patty, which is, despite being sterilized, still excrement.

Might the word “sensible” in the title of the Hanukkah promotion connote that this time around the gifts might be at least a tad less outré?

Temkin hinted that the Cards Against Humanity team might indeed be toning it down a bit, especially when it comes to the language on the cards.

“We asked ourselves what our parents might approve of as we decided what to send out,” he said.

Might the word ‘sensible’ in the title of the Hanukkah promotion connote that this time around the gifts might be at least a tad less outré?

As it turns out, the parents of the eight (coincidentally the same number as the days of Hanukkah) co-founders, are all from the same Jewish community in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb. The co-founders, all men in their late twenties, grew up there as friends and launched “Cards against Humanity” together in 2010.

The group’s strong Jewish upbringing is evident in the Hanukkah promotion. If you look closely at the droll yet purposely vague FAQ’s about the campaign, you’ll notice that “God” is spelled “G-d,” which is the way many traditional Jews write it.

“We opted to write it how we did as we were growing up. Some of us are no longer religious, but some of us still are. Judaism was a big part of our growing up,” Temkin explained.

The amusing video of a family Hanukkah dinner at the top of the “Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah” web page also reflects a very authentic American Jewish sensibility. The dialogue is spot-on, and as it turns out, the food shown was actually prepared by Temkin’s mother.

The company will give one day’s worth of revenue to charity. Temkin didn’t elaborate, but said it was safe to assume that this time the charity would have a Jewish connection.

You’ve got to be quick (and a resident of the US or Canada) if you want to sign up for the promotion, as there are relatively few spots left. And given the element of mystery involved (not to mention the company’s history of mailing people feces) you’ve also got to be brave like a Maccabee.

Chocolate Maccabee with Santa Claus inside. (ModernTribe.com)
Chocolate Maccabee with Santa Claus inside. (ModernTribe.com)

And speaking of Maccabees, we wonder if one of the gifts might be the Maccabee chocolates that gave Jewish gifts business ModernTribe owner Jennie Rivlin Roberts a big surprise. According to a blog she wrote for BuzzFeed, she’s been selling lots of the chocolates in advance of Hanukkah. At some point, someone working with her decided to sample one.

“Imagine my shock when one of my employees, who’d snacked on a Maccabee, shared with me that Santa was inside,” she wrote.

It seems the supplier, a reportedly Jewishly observant chocolatier in New York, couldn’t afford to buy a new mold, so they used the Christmas-oriented one they had at hand.

It’s truly a Hanukkah miracle. It turns out the ancient military leader who led a second century BCE revolt in the Land of Israel against the Assyrian Greeks just happens to have the same physique as the jolly guy who squeezes down chimneys all over the world on Christmas eve… at least in chocolate.

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