My Christmas Celebration with Wildlife

It’s early morning, dark and silent outside.  In a couple of hours I  will sneak away and carry out my secret Christmas celebration as I have for the last five years.  Armed with a loaf of wheat bread and a five-pound bag of unsalted, unshelled peanuts, I will set out for the forest and leave little piles of food around tree trunks and on rocks.  On this chilly, damp day, the wild creatures will get a Christmas dinner and a boost to their spirits.

After I’ve made my way through the woods, I’ll go to the golf course and set up stations of bread crumbs for the geese, gulls, and crows.  And then I’ll stop in a neighbor’s yard and deposit an extra-large pile of peanuts for a squirrel I’ve been worrying about.  A few days ago he was running in circles around the stump of his oak tree, which had just been cut down and hauled away in chips.  He needs reassurance and comfort, and maybe my peanuts will help.

Finally, I’ll drop by the house of my friends Larry and Abbey and leave bread under their barberry bushes, and peanuts on their front step.  Last year I told Larry I’d fed his mice and raccoons a Christmas dinner, and he asked why I’d not left any for him.  So today I’ll do it.

Once I’ve made my rounds, I’ll come home and get ready for my family and friends, who will be arriving in the afternoon.  As we sit around the red candles and pyracantha berries on my dining table, I’ll be extra happy because I’ll have served dinner to my wild-animal friends, too.  My special tradition with them is one of my favorite parts of the season.  Maybe next year, wherever you are, you might like to join me and also celebrate the holiday with hungry wildlife around you.

9 Responses to “My Christmas Celebration with Wildlife”

  1. 1 Kristin von Kreisler January 31, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    Denise, thank you so much for your kind message. I wish I were your next door neighbor, too. It makes me so happy to think of you with your resident mice, and I am glad that we’re both beaglers. Indeed, we are kindred spirits. I hope you’ll come back to visit my blog again.

  2. 2 Denise A Preuss January 31, 2011 at 12:09 PM


    I wish that you were my next door neighbor.

    Besides our particular love of rescued beagles (I have two..or two have me, however you want to look at it), I also have a very deep, religious-like love and empathy for animals. Being this type of person is very difficult sometimes; as you have alluded to, feelings like this make it impossible to sit through a Disney movie or Animal Planet and certainly National Geographic. If I see an animal dead on the side of the road or mistakenly read or hear about a sad story about an animal, it takes a very long time for me to stop reliving that animals pain during it’s ordeal or last moments.

    I also make sure that none of the local forest animals go hungry. On December 2 of this past year, we caught 3 mice at one time in our humane mouse trap. But the temperature outside dropped to freezing and releasing them was not an option. They have been guests of ours in our laundry room in a 10 gallon fish tank with an exercise wheel and fresh food every day. Of course they have now had 4 babies and we don’t know what we are going to do but will take it day by day.

    I finished “For Bea” last night and plan on passing it around the myBeagleWorld Forum to some of my friends. Every time I find another kindred spirit such as yourself or the people who read your blog, it makes me feel a little better about the world.


  3. 3 Lisa Di Nicola` January 26, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Oh Kristin!

    What a beautiful celebration. We here in the Northeast are experiencing one of the worst winters in years. It is bitter cold with mountains of snow.

    I worry about the wild creatures. After reading this, I plan to leave them all dinner from now on.

    Lisa and Addy
    Until there are none, please rescue one.

  4. 4 Louisa Donoghue January 4, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    What a beautiful tradition. It brings joy to think of your secret Christmas treats for your animal friends. I leave food at the regular feeders for the birds but will start thinking of a more feeding stations for Christmas morning. And, in honor of you, Kris, and St. Francis, I think October 4 there need to be more secret feeding places. May your New Year abound with blessings!

    • 5 Kristin January 5, 2011 at 11:53 AM

      Thank you! I’m so glad you feed the birds, too. I would be absolutely honored if you put out more feeding places for me there.

  5. 6 Kristin von Kreisler December 27, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    I can see you out there feeding your urban wildlife! I’m sure there are raccoons, mice, and maybe even coyotes wandering your streets at night. And, of course, there are always hungry birds, especially at this time of year.

  6. 7 Mike Bogart December 26, 2010 at 8:17 PM

    Thank you for letting us in on this secret. It’s fun for me to think of you feeding the creatures and helping them to enjoy an extra, unexpected bounty. I’m starting to think about how I can do the same, further south of where you are. I hope that the rest of your day was as much fun as the early hours of it were for you.

  7. 8 Linda Brandenburg December 26, 2010 at 1:41 AM

    Kristin, We feed the rabbits and wildbirds each morning and an extra feeding in the afternoon for the Stellar’s Jays and those sweet Chickadees! This Christmas morning was especially cold at only three degrees fahrenheit so the critters also got carrots and cereal on top of their black oiled sunflower seeds and unsalted and unshelled peanuts. I love cleaning out the veggies and breads and to have the wild critters right out our front door to feed. The animals keep our three dogs busy barking inside as they are entertained through that door.
    The dogs got an extra Christmas treat today. I’d put the turkey carcass outside to get it out of the kitchen and to keep it cold and then did a mental disconnect of totally forgetting that our dogs noses smell EVERYTHING including the turkey carcass that I was saving for stock. Oh well. The three of them devoured that entire carcass tonight and they are sleeping like the old dogs they are totally sated and perhaps a bit uncomfortable. I love that you share your love of the critters on Christmas morning. I’ll think of you tomorrow morning when we have our morning ritual again!

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