The creators of Cards Against Humanity (CAH), a party game comparable to a politically incorrect Apples to Apples, are known for their playful holiday promotions. A few years ago, CAH launched “12 Days of Holiday B.S.” and a year later followed that with “Ten Days or Whatever of Kwanzaa.” Hundreds of thousands of people paid for mysterious gifts given each day of these respective holidays. One gift for Kwanzaa included a square foot of an island that CAH named Hawaii 2. Last year, the CAH crew finally commemorated the Festival of Lights in their “Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah.” Within hours, the promotion reached its 150,000 limit with people paying $15 to receive a secret gift for each night. I heard about it through Facebook, but was not fast enough to get a coveted spot so I sought out recipients who were fast enough. One is a friend of mine and a contributing writer to this magazine, Nitzan. The other happens to be my sister’s fiance, Sean. My sister surprised him with the gift not just because she wanted to include him in her culture’s traditions, or because CAH is one of his favorite games, but because she knew he’d appreciate the message underlying the promotion.
Similar to previous campaigns, the Hanukkah gifts were mostly of a feel-good nature. The first three nights, people received a pair of socks with an image of a menorah. Both Nitzan and Sean were worried that they’d end up with eight pairs of socks. None of which fit Sean’s feet! The fourth gift was not what they had anticipated and came in the form of a $1 bond and a pack of Jewish-themed CAH cards called the “Jew Pack”—these were Nitzan’s favorite! The fifth gift was an annual membership to Chicago’s public radio station, WBEZ. The sixth was the nicest one of all. All of the CAH factory workers in China received a week of paid vacation. The next gift stood out in contrast to the rest. CAH purchased a 1962 Picasso Tête de Faune and left it for the people to decide its fate: either cut it into 150,000 pieces or donate it. Fortunately, the majority voted for the latter, and it’s now at the Art Institute of Chicago. For the last gift CAH declared 150,000 people King and Queen of a Castle in Ireland. Short essays about life sprinkled with Yiddishisms also accompanied the gifts. For Sean, these words of wisdom were more important than the gifts themselves. They conveyed the message that holidays need to break free of materialism and commercialism, and they showed once again that CAH is more for humanity than against it.
With the launch of “Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah,” CAH declared it as the “last time we’re doing this holiday B.S. thing.” All the creators are Jewish so it’s fitting that Hanukkah takes the honor of being the last. When asked if he believed the creators, Sean laughed confirming his skepticism. Perhaps he’s right in thinking that the discontinuation is just another one of CAH’s gimmicks. We shall have to wait and see. If and when it does happen, I’ll make sure that I am first in line to be a part of this holiday B.S.!
To see which state had the most votes in favor for cutting Picasso’s artwork into little pieces, check out www.eightsensiblegifts.com.
Dvorah Lewis has her Master’s in Library & Information Science from UCLA and currently works as an Archivist for Jewish institutions.