Christmas Challenge 2: A Log Reindeer Present

Good morning!  Even though the August Year Round Christmas project is a few days late, I am so excited for it!  The grandbaby and I were able to make and complete a Christmas present: A Log Reindeer with a Decorated Denim Storage Bag!  It is sooo cute!

I’m glad it was the August Christmas project; the youngest was able to help since school had not yet started.  I love doing projects together. Holding logs, drilling and assembling the reindeer with grandbaby help would have been difficult by myself.

Even though the log reindeer looks funky and has wonky legs , it is very sentimental.  The wood is trimmings from the oldest’s tree.  My father-in-law saved a seedling from the year our oldest was born.  Later, it was moved to our house.  Unfortunately, it is an ash tree.  I worry about the ash borer beetle hurting the tree, so I’m glad to have a few projects from it. 

Thankfully, the husband cut the tree trimmings to the correct size when he trimmed the tree. The poor reindeer parts stayed stacked under the deck for a year before I finished them. Ever once in a while, I had to reassure the husband that ‘Yes, I was going to finish them and Noo- it was not a pile of kindling!’

The reindeer body is about 12 inches long and the head is 3 inches. The face was also cut at a slight angle when he trimmed the tree. Later, when I finally finished the reindeer, the husband didn’t need to get the saw out again.

I laid out the reindeer to make sure the size worked. The finished legs are about 12 inches long. He left the twig legs long, so I could cut them to the needed size when I made the reindeer. Garden shears worked great to cut the legs, neck and antlers to the right length.

My reindeer was partially finished last winter. He didn’t get antlers until spring, and his eyes were just added in August. He did get a name- Kindling, since the husband thinks he looks like a pile of sticks. The grandbaby’s eyes got very big when I told him what kindling means, though I reassured grandbaby that grandpa was just silly.

Kindling was watching as we (the youngest) trim the 4 legs to be the same size. He is sitting so nice with only 2 legs.

The log reindeer was easy to make, except for the legs.  My twig legs were bent and angled, making it difficult for the reindeer to stand.  Even though I like that the legs came from the ash tree, next time I will use dowels. 

Our holes were almost at 90 degrees from each other and slightly angled. I thought the bent twigs would be like knees, but I spent a lot of time trying to get just the right twig so the legs would work-definitely dowels next time!

The youngest used an 1/2 inch drill bit for the legs. A slightly smaller bit was used for the neck, tail and two antler holes. A few of the twigs were whittled to make a snug fit, but on some of them we re-drilled bigger holes.

I did put tape on a few legs, so they would be snug. It is not fun to pick up the reindeer to shovel snow and have all the legs (and the tail) fall out!

Once the legs were done, they could not be used in a different spot. Poor Kindling kept falling down. So, I used numbers to mark where each leg went.

I might have been a little frustrated about the legs, because I also drew a line to exactly how they were.

Grandbaby had fun adding a red painted nose with a thumbprint. The googly eyes were also easy, I used the hot glue gun and grandbaby used the tweezers to set on the eyes.

The storage bag was so easy to make. I cut old jeans above the knee and sewed one seam across to make a bag. I did have the bag inside out to sew.

The ribbon to tie the bag closed (and not let Kindling escape) was sewn on in one spot about 1 inch long. In the middle of the ribbon, the grandbaby had fun practicing pushing the reverse button on the sewing machine- many times!

I had wanted painted hand-print reindeer to decorate the denim bags, but I remembered last year’s footprint wrapping paper fiasco. This year, I asked grandbaby about paint- we chose to trace hands for reindeer, as long as the marker did not get on any skin. I made sure to write the names and year on the back of the bag.

I’m so excited to have a Christmas present done early- and done together! It was fun working with the youngest and the grandbaby- even if the reindeer legs are a bit wonky!

Drilling the holes and fitting the tail, neck and antlers was so easy. Since the bent twig legs were not easy (Kindling kept falling over), I would use dowels next time and drill the leg holes less angled. But it was a fun project from our tree trimmings, and I can’t wait to give it at Christmas!

Happy Camping ( or recycling tree trimmings!)

Frugal Campasaurus

About the Author: Cathi

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