A couple of Puerto Rican businessmen wrote and gave life to a concept similar to the famous Elf on the Shelf, but that highlights Puerto Rican Christmas traditions with a story that, in turn, highlights good values for children.
Jibarito de la Cajita is a story that can be acquired with a stuffed animal of a jibarito, in which this main character helps the three Magi to find their way to the house of the “good people” children, said Merari Cruz, a of the creators of this new project.
“We have three children and we have enjoyed that Elf tradition for several years. Once Casa Febus launched the Christmas decoration edition of the jibarito that idea woke us up, “said Cruz. Like the Elf, the jibarito has velcro on its hands and flexible legs, so it can be tied up or seated, among other positions.
Although the idea had been on the table for several years, it was not until 2020 that the marriage of Cruz and Víctor Febus, were able to make it happen. During the coronavirus quarantine, the parents of three children between the ages of five to 13 years old wrote the story and showed it to the Stride Group company – which Febus chairs – and the rest is history.
With only three weeks on the market, the jibarito is already or is on its way to homes in the 50 states of the United States, as well as thousands of houses in the country.
“Together with the stuffed animal, the concept is to create, in a way, a new tradition. The idea is that the child has the jibarito, unlike the Elf on the Shelf, which can be with her all year. In addition to the fact that she can use it for whatever she wants, she can elevate the conversation to the fact that, regardless of whether a baby behaves well or badly, it is the heart of that child that matters, ”Febus said.
“It is motivating children to be generous, compassionate, courteous, to tell the truth, among other qualities,” he added.
In turn, Cruz is confident that this story will be able to “sow the seed” and with the story of this little jibarito, transform future generations. The book also has a vocabulary page of “jíbaras words, which is a good didactic material for teachers to use to teach about Puerto Rican traditions.”
The couple’s two youngest children interacted with the product prior to launch, which served as a small taste of the success to come.
“We brought the jibaritos from the quality tests of the stuffed animal and they loved it. The little boy did not want to let go of it and we could see the grip and how practical it is. But that jibarito has already left and will return at Christmas,” he said with a laugh.
The book – illustrated by Olgui Cruz – is available at Casa Febus, the official website jibaritodelacajita.com and in some community pharmacies. In addition, the book and the plush toy can be purchased separately.
Due to the great reception, they have plans to reinforce the official website with educational material for children.
Likewise, they would like to publish other books that they have already written.
“We have a lot of stories for our children and we have always wanted to be able to publish them. This has been the first that has materialized, but we have other stories and even ‘seasons’ of stories,” revealed Cruz.