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What good does Santa do on his Christmas Eve journey without his reindeer? After all, the eight tiny ones led by Rudolph guide the Big Guy’s sleigh through the night sky.

Reindeer play a big role in Christmas stories, holiday decor, treats, novelties and little gifts. I can vouch for the latter. Candy cane reindeer are this year’s official gift du jour that my children decided to give to group members, classmates and teachers.

In Schuylkill Ballet Theatre’s “Nutcracker,” the dancers usually exchange small gifts within their group levels. They can range from sample bubble baths and lip glosses to ornaments and goodies. Asked this year what she would like to give to fellow dancers, Amber suggested the candy cane reindeer.

We went to Michaels on Black Friday to buy tiny red noses, googly eyeballs and brown pipe cleaners to twist into antlers. An added touch, we bought peppermint Hershey Kisses to wrap into tissue paper and ribbon at the bottom of the candy cane deer. We attached gift tags to each candy saying, “Merry Christmas to a ‘deer’ dancer!” The tokens were a success — so much so that my son plans to hand them out on the last of classes before Christmas break. He also helped make the reindeer for the volunteers who headed up the “Good News Club” during the fall semester. A nondenominational program, youngsters stayed after school one day a week for a little more than an hour to do songs, scripture, snacks and more. One instructor told Jacob that she planned to hang her candy cane reindeer on her Christmas tree.

A simple sign of the season, pretty easy to make and cute to look at, I wonder if the candy cane reindeer will become a tradition to distribute for the kiddos. We’ve done the minty hot chocolate kit quite a few times — a baggie with hot chocolate packet, mini marshmallows and a small candy cane stick — but maybe these little critters will become a “deer” little tradition for Christmas treats.