It’s impossible to pinpoint the source of the magic of the holidays, because it’s never just a single thing that makes the season feel special. The culmination of family, tradition, and yes, presents, come together to make it the most wonderful time of the year. With kids on winter break, coming up with traditions, like a reindeer food recipe, that keep them engaged while inspiring that holiday magic is a win-win. Especially for parents who are working overtime as members of Santa’s home-brigade of elves.
Reindeer Food is a cute tradition that will engage kids and inspire the magic of the season. These are two separate recipes, one is meant for reindeer to eat, not kids. The other is a snack for kids and Santa’s elves who might need a sugar fix.
What Do You Feed Reindeer?
First, gather together ingredients & supplies for the reindeer food. During the holidays, many of the ingredients will already be in the pantry, and there’s always the option of grabbing more specialized ingredients from the store.
Reindeer Food Recipe
- 6 cups rolled oats
- Mini marshmallows
- Brown sugar
- Red & green sugar crystals or sugar with food coloring
- Optional: edible glitter
- A jar, sandwich bag or other container
Is This Really What Reindeer Eat?
Santa’s reindeer need different food than the reindeer of the arctic. Non-magical reindeer in the arctic eat a lot of lichen, when available they eat the leaves from trees like willow and birches. They’ll also eat grass when they can find it.
Fun Facts about Reindeer
- There are 2 million reindeer worldwide. Aren’t you glad you’re only making food for Santa’s nine? That’d be a lot of marshmallows.
- Reindeer migrate to summer and winter habitats, covering up to 3,000 miles in a year. This is more than any other land mammal. They’re the perfect animal to make it around the world in a single night.
- They have wide hooves for walking through snow, Santa’s reindeer need their hooves for landing on rooftops without falling off.
- Their knees make clicking noises so during blizzards they can hear other members of the herd. Santa’s reindeer also wear bells to hear each other.
Mixing Up Reindeer Food
Once you’ve selected your magical ingredients for Reindeer Food, get a large mixing bowl and pour all the ingredients in. You can use as much or as little of each of the magic ingredients as you’d like, depending on what you think the reindeer need.
- Oats: the reindeer need oats for strength and energy to fly all the way around the world on Christmas Eve.
- Marshmallows: keep the reindeer light & fluffy so they can prance through the air.
- Brown Sugar: keeps their fur thick and soft to keep them warm in the winter sky.
- Red & Green Sugar, or Edible Glitter: magic fairy dust so they can fly through the night sky.
Add your festive mix to a sandwich bag or clear jar, hand decorated with ribbons, glitter or drawings, and you’re all set for a visit from Santa’s furry friends!
What to do with Reindeer Food
If you’re establishing a new family tradition, there are a lot of ways to use reindeer food.
- Sprinkle on the ground in the backyard or front yard. The ingredients are safe for birds and squirrels. Edible glitter and sugar will dissolve. Don’t use real glitter for food going outside.
- Leave next to Santa’s cookies for him to feed to the reindeer.
- Share with family members and friends.
Reindeer Food Kids Can Eat
While magic reindeer food isn’t for kids to consume, you can also make this “Reindeer Kibble” for people to eat around the holidays.
Reindeer Kibble Ingredients
- 9 cups crispy cereal squares
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- 1 cup red & green sugar crystals
- (optional) 2 tbsp edible glitter
- Large Ziplock bag.
Directions for Making Reindeer Kibble
This recipe requires using heat & melted chocolate, so parents should help out with the cooking parts. Kids can help with mixing & stirring the kibble together. This is food for people, and shouldn’t be put out on the lawn with the magic food!
- Pour cereal into a large mixing bowl.
- Pour confectioners sugar, edible glitter and red & green sugar crystals into the Ziplock back and set aside.
- In saucepan over low heat, melt white chocolate chips and peanut butter together. Stir continuously.
- When melted & well mixed, pour the melted mixture into the large bowl over the cereal. Using a spatula, kids can help stir until the cereal is well coated.
- Scoop the coated cereal into the ziplock bag and seal shut. Shake the bag until the cereal is well coated.
- Whatever isn’t eaten immediately, store in an air-tight container.
On Christmas Eve, kids can leave a bowl of Reindeer Kibble next to Santa’s cookies for him to eat as well! Santa’s home-brigade elves can snack on Reindeer Kibble to power through last minute present wrapping binges. Kids will enjoy projects like the reindeer food recipe year after year, and will hopefully do someday with their own kids, to make the holidays feel extra magical.
Reindeer DIY Guide
For more holiday fun, check out a few of our other awesome reindeer DIYs:
- Fun DIY Reindeer Headband
- Jingling DIY Reindeer Bell Necklace
- Tasty Reindeer Tracks Chocolate Recipe
- Last-minute Holiday party game: Pin the Nose on the Reindeer
- Chocolate-dipped Reindeer Pretzel Recipe
Or visit our awesome Holiday Projects & Crafts list for some interactive gifts for kids!