My mom really likes rituals. She is a storyteller, she loves the theater, and has often lamented the modernization of the Catholic Church. Not that she's Catholic, of course, she just really thought they had something good with the Latin and the incense and all of that.
So when we were kids and couldn't have Santa, we had Magic Menorah.
Magic Menorah has many things in common with Santa--he lives at a pole (the South,) he brings gifts, he's mysterious, and you can write letters to him if you're so inclined. But in addition to coming eight nights a year instead of just one, Magic Menorah also kicks it up a notch.
He hides the presents.
He hides them.
And all you get is a clue, delivered by a parent.
Because only parents can hear Magic Menorah's voice.
There's no issue with handwriting on cards or any of that nonsense. No cards, just the clue. And nothing happens until you, the kid, figure the damned thing out. Your parents just stand there, waiting, as you race around the house, trying to unravel what Magic Menorah meant by "a place of hope" or "the best place in the house" or "a safe place to sleep if you're bigger than a breadbox." What the hell is a breadbox? You're nine! You don't know what a breadbox is. How are you supposed to figure it out?!
But Chanukah can't go on until you find the present, and anyway, it's a present, and you want it!
If you've got an older brother, he finds his present but can't open it until you find yours, and he starts telling you how easy your clue is and why haven't you figured it out yet?
And then you get it. Maybe with help, better if it's on your own, but either way, suddenly, the clue makes sense, and you run to the only place it could be, and there it is! You've walked past it six times already without noticing it, but now it's there and it's got your name on it and you get to bring it downstairs in triumph.
Doesn't that beat the pants off a pile of crap under a tree?
But it only happens at my house right now.
This should totally be a thing.
Get on it, Jews!