Forget Elf on a Shelf...You better watch out for Le Petit Bonhomme Janvier!

Le Petit Bonhomme Janvier translates to The Little January Man. There are several interpretations of this curious fellow in Cajun culture.

One article says that Santa didn't begin visiting Cajun children until the late 1800's. Before that, they looked forward to Le Petit Bonhomme Janvier, who would deliver gifts on New Year's Day.

If the children were good all year, he would leave fruit or perhaps a little showy trinket for them.

A second article says that if the children were obedient all year, Le Petit Bonhomme Janvier would leave candy or trinkets in their shoes on New Year's Eve. If they were bad, "something foul" would be left in their shoe.

In yet another, and my personal favorite variation of Le Petit Bonhomme Janvier comes from children's book author Cornell P. Landry, who wrote "Le Petit Bonhomme Janvier: The Little January Man". In this version, the Little January Man spends seven days with the family.

After Santa is gone, he pops up to play with the kid's toys that Old Saint Nick left behind. He's a bit of a trickster, as he loves to hide the toys with the kitchen sink being amongst his favorite hiding spots.

With all of the tricks he's pulling, he gets hungry! So, the family leaves him goodies to eat under the tree each night. In the morning, the plates will be LICKED clean!

On New Year's Eve, in thanks for all of the delicious goodies and play-time, Le Petit Bonhomme Janvier fills the children's stockings will be filled.

Have you heard of Le Petit Bonhomme Janvier? It seems to me that this could easily replace Elf on a Shelf in Acadiana, all while keeping a Cajun tradition alive!