In case you are wondering, yes, reindeer are real. And I confess, I am an incognito elf. This time of year, Santa needs extra help before the holidays and it is possible that I will appear at a reindeer event. Let me explain…my sister, brother-in-law and their business partner raise reindeer in Southern Minnesota, USA.
The reindeer in their herd are descendents from ancient Siberian stock. Reindeer are a smaller species than caribou and have been domesticated for thousands of years. Worldwide, reindeer are found in northern countries like Mongolia, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark. In some locations like Mongolia, reindeer transportation, milk, yogurt, meat, hides and are used for nomadic tribe survival. Their way of life depends on the herd.
In the lower 48 states of the USA there are less than 2000 reindeer and they are not used for nourishment but as pets, breeding stock and for holiday displays. In addition to being seasonal celebrities, the reindeer provide a renewable resource for handmade knives. Reindeer bulls and cows both grow solid antlers that are shed every year. Using this gift from nature, Daryl makes beautiful, custom knives with antler handles. The carbide steel for the blades comes from re-purposed sawmill blades, and the handles are shaped from antlers that drop naturally.
Every spring I look forward to seeing the new baby calves. They look like little dark lambs that bounce around and play. The babies grow fast, start growing antlers in two weeks and by late summer are in training for the holiday season.
Each year elves are recruited to help out and live reindeer appearances are scheduled nationwide for November and December holiday events.
With the care of the breeding stock herd, crafting the custom knives and all the holiday appearances, this is a year round operation. I am only an elf once a year but I truly enjoy talking to the children and adults who come to see these beautiful animals.
Here’s an elf tip for you: On Christmas Eve leave out a dish of dry milled (rolled) oats, a favorite treat for those hard-working reindeer that pull Santa’s sleigh. Wishing you and yours a warm and magical holiday season.
Note: Photography provided by Crystal Collection Reindeer and Knives By Simon (connection to Knives on Facebook). To find out more information or schedule a holiday event, click the links in blue above.