It’s that time of year again when we’re all starting to get excited about the festive season. We’re thinking about our loved ones, good will to all men and spending time with those that are important to us. We’ve bought our advent calendars, we’re starting to think about putting up the decorations and we’re really looking forward to Santa’s visit when we’re all tucked up in bed on Christmas Eve.
BUT, what about the little treats we leave for Santa and his hard working reindeers?
Some of you may leave a mince pie or cookies and milk (or perhaps something a little stronger) for Santa but we mustn’t forget to refuel the reindeer. After all, without them, dear old Santa wouldn’t be able to get around to us all.
In recent years it has become popular for us to sprinkle ‘reindeer food’ outside our front doors which is usually made up of oats and glitter but the RSPCA are asking us to think about this and put out something else. Glitter, even the edible or biodegradable sort is harmful to our wildlife. It is very difficult for them to digest and could cause them long term damage.
A healthy, tasty carrot is a treat that reindeer love or some grated carrot with bird seed and if they leave any behind then our wildlife love it too.
But if you prefer to make something for them, then the RSPCA have a couple of Reindeer and wildlife friendly recipes that you may wish to do. If anyone wants the recipes, it can be downloaded off the RSPCA website.
Not only does it have a high calorific content – perfect fuel for flying high and keeping warm in the wintery months – but it’s also nature friendly (so it doesn’t matter if the birds eat most of it). And oh what fun it is to make it with the children!
Mix up the following nice ingredients, but skip the naughty items. Sprinkle into a tray or bowl on Christmas Eve and the reindeer (and the birds) will have a festive treat.
Raw porridge oats and sunflower seeds can make up the bulk of the reindeer chow, and they’re great all-rounders for fat and carbohydrate content. Nyjer seeds will add some darker colour and this tiny, oil rich seed is highly nutritious and perfect for keeping up energy. If you want to add some more colour, consider adding blueberries or apple.
It may be tempting to make the reindeer food sparkle, but please don’t use glitter and sequins.. Anything made from plastic can cause stomach problems for most animals if eaten. Glitter is also a microplastic; the pieces are so small and so could cause a problem for the environment for a long time. Cake sprinkles or edible glitter should also be avoided as they tend to contain e-numbers.
To buy some of the seed mixes suggested as well as all sorts of other Christmas goodies for wildlife, visit www.rspbshop.co.uk (Ref. RSPCA)
Merry Christmas everyone!