Kids love the build up to Christmas, often more than the day itself! Part of this build up is the preparation for Christmas Eve and the arrival of Father Christmas and Rudolph. They’ll love making and then sprinkling the food for Rudolph and the other reindeer. They’ll be in awe when they come down the next morning to find the food is gone and the magic stars remain! This idea is great for a kids craft session. Of course, you could make these in advance as an alternative to party bags or to give as little Christmas gifts too. If you’re doing this, we love the idea of using our two-part fillable plastic carrots to present the reindeer food.
The parcels are made using favour nets as the base, one net is generally sufficient but two would give a more luxurious look. The filling is made from “magical reindeer food”. If you don’t have any of this to hand you could use bird food, obviously Rudolph would prefer “magical reindeer food” though. If you find a supplier of this, please let us know, so that we can share this with everyone else as we have found it increasingly hard to source!
Mini foil confetti or sequins are added to the food for the necessary sparkle – make sure they are mini though; otherwise they won’t fit inside the nets. Tinsel pipe cleaners are used to secure the nets closed, often a helping hand from an adult is good here. The pipe cleaners can be twisted for a curly look. Beads can also be added, metallic pony beads look great on these. You could use curling ribbon instead of pipecleaners, which the children can then curl up. This has the added benefit of holding the neck of the net tightly closed but then is more difficult to undo!
Next add your bell, the jingle bell is essential so that Rudolph can hear when the bell jingles as the food is put outside on Christmas Eve. 25mm wide bells work best with these nets. Finally you could add a ready made gift tag or cut them from card sheets. You could either add Rudolph’s name or the crafters name to the tag. Hold these in place with your pipe cleaner or curling ribbon.
Instead of placing the magical reindeer food in net bags, you could use paper mache boxes that have been decorated by the crafters – this will extend the crafty experience and can also be kept afterwards. You could make little stockings with kids craft felt and tacky glue or use ready made mini felt stockings – the only thing that you need to be aware of with these is that the food may get stuck in the felt – it’s not really a problem but the stocking will need to be brushed out afterwards. Also, if making your own, make sure you glue them or sew a close and continuous stitch so that the food doesn’t fall out.
As an for older children alternative, you could also use DIY Christmas crackers. If you are going to use ready cut cracker barrels, you will probably need to keep the food in a bag, as it will fall out of the end of the crackers before they are pulled!
Don’t forget to read the magical story below on Christmas Eve, before they scatter their food for Rudolph!
Nanny’s Reindeer Food Parcels
It was Christmas Eve and Jack was staying with his Nanny and Grandad. It had just begun to get dark when it suddenly began to snow.
“Snow!” shouted Jack’s sister, Amy. “Nanny, please can we go outside and play in the snow?” she squealed excitedly.
“Of course you can” said Nanny “Just make sure you put your coat and hat on. We don’t want you having a cold for Christmas, do we?”. With that, Amy ran to get her coat and hat.
“Don’t you want to go outside Jack?” asked Nanny, seeing that Jack was still staring out of the window. When Jack did not reply, she asked what the matter was.
“Nanny, I’m worried that Father Christmas won’t know where I am!” he said looking worried. “He doesn’t know that Amy and I are staying with you this Christmas!” Then his Nanny thought of something that would cheer him up.
“When I was a little girl, My Nanny always used to help us make some special food for Santa’s reindeer on Christmas Eve.” Jack’s face lit up and he listened carefully. “We used to sprinkle the food in the garden before we went to bed on Christmas Eve. Then, when we woke up on Christmas Day, Father Christmas had always found us.”
“Oh, please Nanny, can you help me make some?” Jack shouted excitedly, “Then Rudolf and the reindeer will know we are here!”.
So Jack and his Nanny set about collecting all the things they needed to make their reindeer food. Soon they had collected everything and had gathered it all on the kitchen table. There were lots of shiny things which Jack liked, including some sparkly silver stars and silver beads that Jack had found in his craft box! There were also some pieces of red net which Nanny had found in her sewing cupboard and two big bells which were from one of Amy’s old broken toys!
They soon set to work making their Reindeer food parcels. “What are all the sparkly things for Nanny?” asked Jack.”Well, we put those in so that when the reindeer are flying in sky they can see all these sparkles twinkling” replied Nanny. “Then they know where to land!” shouted Jack. “That’s right, Jack!” Grandad said coming into the room, “I’ll call Amy in from the garden so she can help too.”
Amy came in rubbing her cold hands together. “My hands are freezing!” she shivered. “Look, Amy!” said Jack proudly “We’re making food for Santa’s reindeer!”
“Wow!” Amy said, “Can I help?”
Together, they filled two nets with the reindeer food and sparkles, fastening them with some pretty silver pipe cleaners, decorated with the silver beads. Then Nanny helped them both to fasten a big gleaming bell onto their nets and finally write their names on a tag so they knew which one was theirs!
“Let’s pop these on the mantelpiece for now!” said Nanny, admiring their work, “Then before we go to bed we can sprinkle them outside!”.
Soon they were all settled at the big kitchen table with a warm dinner in front of them but Jack and Amy were so excited they could hardly eat a thing! Although they all managed to squeeze in one of Nanny’s yummy home-made mince pies.
“So, what would you like Father Christmas to bring you?” asked Nanny.
“I’d really like a new doll!” replied Amy.
“What about you, Jack?” asked Grandad.
Jack thought for a short while. “I’m really hoping to get a set of toy soldiers Grandad!”
A while later, Jack and Amy were setting out a Mince Pie and a glass of milk for Santa when Nanny remembered the reindeer food parcels. “Don’t forget to sprinkle the reindeer food!” she reminded the children. Jack had certainly not forgotten! They all hurried outside, shivering in the cold, their breath misting the air. They untied the nets and scattered the sparkling food all over the grass. Then they both rang the bells on their nets to call Rudolf and the other reindeer.
“I don’t think that Santa and the Reindeer will miss our house tonight, do you Nanny?” asked Jack when she was tucking them up in bed later that night. “No, Jack, they won’t” she chuckled, kissing him goodnight. “I won’t be able to sleep. I’m too excited!” thought Jack as she left the room but soon he was fast asleep.
In fact, he was so fast asleep that he didn’t even hear the soft tinkle of bells or the light footsteps on the roof of the house!
When Jack woke up the next morning, he sat bolt upright and the first thing he saw was the big stocking of presents at the end of his bed. “Yippee!” he cried jumping out of bed.
“I see that the reindeer came then!” laughed his Nanny and Grandad from the doorway, where they stood with Amy and her giant stocking of presents!
“It worked, Jack, It worked!” screamed Amy running into the room, dragging her sack of presents behind her.
“Thank you Nanny!” said Jack turning to her.
“That’s OK Jack!” she replied hugging him tightly, “Now, have a look out of the window…”
Jack and Amy peeped out of the window and into the garden.
“Wow!” they squealed in delight. In the garden, laid amongst the snow, were the sparkling silver stars from the reindeer food. However, the food was gone!
Later that evening, when all the presents had been unwrapped, all the crackers had been pulled and all the food eaten, Jack was playing with his new toy soldiers. He suddenly turned to his Nanny and said, “Nanny, will you help Amy and I make some more reindeer food next year?”
“Of course Jack!” she said turning to where Amy was sat playing with her new doll, “As long as you are good until next Christmas!”
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