November 8 // Happenings

Welcoming Santa’s Own Reindeer

Several Novembers ago, while Santa happened to be visiting our store, he brought along with him two of his special reindeer. They enjoyed their stay so much that they came back the next year – and that began a tradition that has brought smiles to the faces of many children and team members alike. This holiday season, we’re excited to welcome Chloe and Sparkle for another visit with their Omaha friends.

Kids are familiar with the stories, the drawings, and the animated cartoons, but to see a real live reindeer standing so close, with its huge antlers, gentle brown eyes and warm fur – it’s a magical experience.

From their first visit eight years ago, the reindeer have had a best friend in Customer Service team leader Janet Mumme. Janet has a kind heart for animals of all sizes, so she was the natural choice to lead the team who takes care of the reindeer while they’re here. In the morning, the team feeds the reindeer their breakfast of grain and alfalfa. They also provide fresh water, add new straw, and take care of other tasks necessary to keep the space tidy and comfortable for our guests. In the evening, the team freshens the water again and fluffs the bedding for a warm night’s sleep. Chloe and Sparkle get periodic check-ups from a vet while they’re here too. They’re on Santa’s reserve team, you know, so they need to keep extra healthy and ready to fly at a moment’s notice. Dave and Carla, the “elves” who bring the reindeer to us for their visit, say they never worry about “the girls” while they’re here – we pamper them well and treat them like family.

We love the reindeer, of course, but more importantly, so do the children who come to see them. It’s a treat for us to see their wide eyes and hear the happy squeals as the kids turn the corner in the greenhouse and get their first glimpse of Santa’s own reindeer. The kids are familiar with the stories, the drawings, and the animated cartoons, but to see a real live reindeer standing so close, with its huge antlers, gentle brown eyes and warm fur – it’s a magical experience. And it’s fun for our team each year to greet some of the same families who’ve made an annual tradition of taking pictures with the reindeer in the background. In some cases, their kids have grown up with Chloe and Sparkle. In fact, Chloe turns ten this year and Sparkle is four, so they’re the same ages as a lot of the children they meet.

You’ll find Chloe and Sparkle nestled in the forest of fresh cut Christmas trees on the north end of the greenhouse. They’ll arrive on Friday, November 17th, and are available to visit anytime during store hours until they leave again on Sunday, December 17th. We hope you’ll stop by and greet our antlered guests before they head back to the North Pole to rest and wait for their call from Santa on Christmas Eve night.