January 27, 2022

Ready for the reindeer

Children at library prepare food for Santa’s team

Sarah Bullock/staff reporter

Vincenza McMahon, 3, Preston Ellis, 6, and Marjorie McMahon, 6, (left to right) learn how to make reindeer food from Ms. Jaymie Closson, Cortland Free Library’s youth service’s library assistant.

Oatmeal, glitter and cookie sprinkles — a recipe fit for hungry magical beings traveling the world on Christmas Eve, and 6-year-old Preston Ellis made it Saturday.

“Me and Mommy have a reindeer feeder,” said Preston, of Cortland, as he prepared to create a culinary masterpiece of reindeer food at Cortland Free Library.

“He wanted one for every reindeer, but I said, ‘No, we’ll use a trough,’” said Mandy Ellis, Preston’s mother.

The day-long, drop-in event Saturday at Cortland Free Library gave several children the chance to prepare food to attract Santa Claus’ reindeer.

“It’s a big one,” Preston said of the trough. “It’s a rectangle and I think it would fit 10 reindeers, but there’s only eight reindeers. That’s why we put out eight carrots. They’re under the Christmas tree.”

But Preston wasn’t limiting the diet to oats and carrots.

“Reindeers also like bananas,” he said.

Six-year-old Marjorie McMahon, also from Cortland, had a different plan for her carrots.

Since Santa Claus always goes through her front door, she plans to put out the carrots along the driveway for the reindeer.

Marjorie’s sister, 3-year-old Vicenza McMahon, had grander ideas. “I think I’m going to put it in a cage,” Vicenza said. She would like to trap a reindeer.

After making the feed, the children turned to coloring holiday-themed pages and doing a word search.

“I’m trying to find ‘hoof,’” Marjorie said after she had finished coloring her gingerbread house.

“Reindeer hoof?” asked Jaymie Closson, youth services library assistant.

“I found it!” Marjorie said.

Closson told the kids that reindeer food is attractive only to Santa’s reindeer.
The glitter inside helps them find the house when it’s sprinkled in the yard.

Between the carrots and glitter oats, the reindeer will be well fed by the end of Christmas Eve.

The recipe for reindeer food, as modified by Marjorie McMahon:
2 scoops of oatmeal (about a half cup)
3 tsp. of red and green cookie sprinkles
2 tsp. glitter
Mix well. Sprinkle outside on Christmas Eve.