The majority of the population no longer wish to see wild animals paraded around a circus ring, and yet reindeer parades, visiting reindeer at garden centres and seeing reindeer in small paddocks in town centres at Christmas is now becoming commonplace.

Thankfully, we saw some fantastic successes in the campaign to end these events in 2018. And we saw some fantastic Christmas markets, lights switch-ons, festivals and other events taking place around the country this year, without exploiting any live animals.

We understand that it is not always easy for events organisers to find new, refreshing, entertaining and even educational ideas to keep bringing crowds to their events. This is why we have put together a Top 5 Alternatives Events list!

1. Reindeer Run or Bad Christmas Sweater Crawl!

A five or ten km run with runners dressed up in Christmas attire. This could even raise money for charity or for the town hosting it. Or why not put on a Naff Christmas Sweater competition? That would be fun to judge!

2. Reindeer puppetry, inflatable or model reindeer, or dressing up as reindeer.

The world of animatronics is really taking off! And, if we can dress up as elves, why not as reindeer too? You could even host a children’s theatre group (which can include pretend reindeer!) or host a puppet making workshop - This one was hosted by Vicar Lane Shopping centre who made the compassionate choice to not use live reindeer back in 2016!

3. Reindeer ‘Booth’ and screening of life in the wild.

Instead of a barren paddock with reindeer next to santa’s grotto (which shows nothing of how reindeer really live) create a booth filled with educational facts and pictures of reindeer, examples of what they eat, with a screening of a film and maybe even with reindeer puppets inside (see 2. above!)

4. A carnival float parade or music festival.

Rotheram City Council replaced their reindeer parade planned for 2018 with a ‘day of musical mirth’ with local bands and choirs. They also hosted the Tent of Mystery (close-up magic) and offered free craft sessions.

5. A reindeer trail.

A magical trail through a wintry landscape with hidden reindeer toys or puppets. This gets the kids outside and moving, so is a win-win! It could either be a magical trail through a wintry landscape with hidden reindeer toys or puppets as at Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds or Crockford Bridge Farm, or even involve local businesses and have reindeer hiding in shop windows! 

reindeer puppet

We hope that this will provide inspiration to events organisers to ensure cruelty-free (and often more cost effective) Christmas entertainment!