Hidden Valley's Ranch On A Branch May Be The Next 'Elf On The Shelf'

It seems like every year, someone attempts to create a new Christmas tradition to be embraced by the masses. Yes, everyone dreams of releasing the next "Elf on the Shelf." While this impish little character with a penchant for mischief doesn't appeal to everyone (many think it's creepy), CNN points out that 11 million of them had been unleashed on the world by 2017. No wonder companies are eager to mimic this success. 

The "Mensch on a Bench" hit the market in 2013 and, after receiving the backing of two "Shark Tank" entrepreneurs, it has now been adopted into the homes of 325,000 Jewish families (via company website). The "Reindeer In Here" features a wonky-antlered reindeer that focuses on being a child's companion and encouraging them to embrace what makes them unique — it has even been made into a CBS animated Christmas special. Walmart has even introduced a plush version of Teddy, the outlet's mischievous teddy bear from holiday commercials. Clearly, the public loves to embrace characters associated with this festive time of year.  

It turns out that Hidden Valley Ranch, the purveyor of salad dressings and more, has entered the realm of holiday traditions as well. So what is the brand's answer to "Elf on the Shelf?" 

Nothing says Christmas like a plush bottle of ranch

Meet "Ranch on a Branch," Hidden Valley Ranch's fuzzy, festive friend and the latest "Elf on the Shelf" rival to hit the market. As you can see from the pictures above, he is incredibly cute, but what does he do? According to PR Newswire, Ranchie's main purpose in life is to spread joy through acts of kindness, as illustrated in this limited-offer box set that includes a picture book and a plush character. Reminiscent of Pinocchio, Ranchie dreams of becoming a real bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing one day (although this likely wouldn't look as good on your Christmas tree). 

If you're a fan of ranch dressing, plush brand collectibles, or you're simply weary of your troublesome elf, "Ranch on a Branch" is available for purchase now for $30 at Hidden Valley Ranch's Ranch Shop. They are also offering a Ranch on a Branch fleece holiday blanket for $60 and a unisex lounge set for $45. In association with this special character, the company will be making a donation of $30,000 to Feeding America (per PR Newswire).  

Sure, this stuffed bottle of salad dressing may not scream "Christmas," but it's pretty darn adorable. And, perhaps, one day he'll put himself to use as real bottle of delicious ranch.