A New Forest care home shared the magic of Christmas with a ‘meet the reindeer’ community afternoon for residents and local schoolchildren.
The fun at Colten Care’s Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst featured the chance to get up close with special guests Prancer and Jingles, who were taking time out of their usual seasonal activities.
After stroking Prancer, resident Maureen Miller said:
“I was thrilled to bits to meet the reindeer. I never thought I’d ever get the chance to do that.”
Two days before, Woodpeckers colleagues devised a novel way to raise awareness of the event at nearby Brockenhurst Primary School.
With the school’s permission, Companionship Team Leader Jane Bunker and gardener Chris Marsh dressed up in elf and reindeer outfits respectively and leafleted children and families as they left for the day.
“The children loved it,” said Jane. “At the event itself, we hosted our own Woodpeckers craft stall, which had lovely gifts, treats, crafts and goodies all handmade by our residents, staff and friends throughout the year.
“We also had a ‘Pick Rudolph’s Nose’ game where the children could win a chocolate Santa.
“And we served complimentary drinks and hot chocolate with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer biscuits and mince pies.
“The biggest buzz of the afternoon was the arrival of Prancer the brown reindeer and Jingles the white one.
“We invited our visitors and children to donate £1 to buy some reindeer feed to give them there and then, or keep the feed and leave it out for when Santa’s reindeer arrive on Christmas Eve.
“The reindeer were a huge success with children and residents learning all about these magical beasts and having a ‘once in the lifetime’ opportunity to feed them.”
The event raised around £450 for Brockenhurst and Sway Friday club including £80 for a donated equine print which was the subject of a silent auction.
Woodpeckers resident Iris Reynolds summed up the afternoon by saying:
“It gave you a magical feeling that Christmas had started. It was lovely to meet the reindeer and not something you’d expect to do, and of course, lovely to see all the children. It felt very Christmassy.”