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Category Archives: Raymond the Reindeer

Raymond Around the World: Chicago


After visiting Brooklyn, New York; Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Michigan; a farm in Virginia; Lord’s Cricket Ground in England; and Venice, Italy, where else do you think Raymond travelled to this year? If you guessed Chicago, Illinois [or if you read the title of this post ;) ], you are correct!

In the spring I had to venture down to Chicago for a conference, and Raymond asked if he could tag along. Raymond is such a great travel companion that of course I said yes! The weather was sunny and mild, so we walked and walked and walked all around Chicago. We walked so much that my feet and Raymond’s hooves were aching by the end of the day—but we still had a fantastic time.

We started our day by walking quite a ways along Lakefront Trail, enjoying the breeze and the views of beautiful Lake Michigan.

Raymond with Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline
One happy reindeer, loving the sunshine and lake breeze

Then we wandered into the city, making our way to Millennium Park. On the way, we walked over some bridges, which always delights both Raymond and me.

Looking out over the Chicago River

Once we made it to Millennium Park, we strolled over to Cloud Gate, AKA “The Bean.” This amazing sculpture was constructed from 168 stainless steel plates that were welded together, and it has no visible seams. It measures 33 by 66 by 42 feet, and weighs over 100 tons—wow! Cloud Gate is extremely polished, so it reflects and distorts the people standing around it and the city’s skyline. Raymond and I thought the sculpture was really something special, as it’s so simple yet so stunning.

Raymond with Cloud Gate
Enjoying his reflection and the distorted skyline

After we left Millennium Park, we just happened upon the Chicago Stock Exchange arch. This large, embellished arch is more than 100 years old and is one of the very few pieces remaining of the original Chicago Stock Exchange building.

Checking out the detailed embellishments on the Chicago Stock Exchange arch

While we ambled around Chicago, Raymond and I kept commenting to each other how much great architecture there is in this city. One of our favourite structures in Chicago was the Wrigley Building, which is 90 years old and features a clock tower. It’s right on the river, which makes it even more lovely.

With the Wrigley Building in the background
What can I say—Raymond and I love rivers and bridges

At this point we had already done A LOT of walking, so Raymond and I decided that we needed a snack, and what better snack in Chicago than Garrett Popcorn? Naturally we had to try the Chicago mix, which is caramel popcorn combined with cheese popcorn. I know that sounds a little odd, but somehow it works and is rather tasty!

Waiting in line at Garrett Popcorn

Tummies satisfied, we walked down Navy Pier just in time to see the sunset, which was just gorgeous over Lake Michigan and with the skyline in the background.

Raymond enjoying the sunset from Navy Pier

When we were heading back down Navy Pier, Raymond saw the Ferris wheel, and he begged me to go for a ride. I’m a little scared of heights, but how can I say no to Raymond? I was a little nervous on the ride, but I held Raymond’s hoof. He’s such a good friend :)

Excited to ride the Ferris wheel on Navy Pier

Overall Raymond and I had a fabulous time in Chicago. Where should Raymond visit next year? Let us know in the comments!

Merry Christmas from Chi-Town!

Raymond Around the World: Venice


Raymond has gone on quite the variety of adventures this year, hasn’t he? So far we’ve told you about him posing for a photo op in Brooklyn, perusing aisles upon aisles of Christmas items at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, making some animals friends on a farm, and having a sporty afternoon at Lord’s Cricket Ground. Well, Raymond and I are both interested in history, and since we had such a fun and educational time in Rome last year, we decided to pop down to Venice, Italy!

Situated at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea, Venice is an ancient city comprised of 118 [!] small islands, which are separated by canals and connected by 409 [!!] bridges. There are actually no cars or roads in Venice, so people get around either on foot or by boat. It’s a very different and very beautiful city that Raymond and I both loved quite a bit.

Raymond in front of Saint Mark’s Basilica with loads of tourists
Dodging the hot sun in the shadow of St Mark’s Campanile [a bell tower]
Looking around Piazza San Marco, probably on the hunt for a gelato shop
One more look at the gorgeous Saint Mark’s Basilica

Unfortunately for us, I got a really bad cold while we were in Venice, so Raymond and I didn’t get to explore quite as much as we had wanted :( But we’ve already talked about going back sometime soon… perhaps in the autumn or winter when there are fewer tourists and it’s not quite so hot!

Where else do you think Raymond went this year? Stay tuned to find out! :D

Raymond Around the World: Lord’s Cricket Ground

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If you’ve been following the Elf Blog these past few years, you’ll know that Raymond really loves sports of all kinds. A couple of years ago Raymond had a great time at a baseball game, and the year before that he went to London during the Olympics.

This summer Raymond and I decided to check out a sport that neither of us knew much about—cricket! Since this was our first cricket match, we decided to go to the Home of Cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, England. There we saw Middlesex play Hampshire, and while both Raymond and I still don’t totally understand cricket [there are A LOT of rules!], we had a fantastic evening together.

Super excited to be learning about a new sport.

And not only did we have fun watching the match, Raymond and I also enjoyed the history at Lord’s, which was established at its current location in 1814. There is an interesting mix of new and old at Lord’s, such as the futuristic Media Centre from 1999 and the bas-relief from 1934. Raymond was particularly fond of the sculpture, as it features all kinds of sportspeople, including cricketers, footballers, golfers, and more.

Behind Raymond is the bas-relief that includes the inscription PLAY UP PLAY UP AND PLAY THE GAME.
In front of the bronze Batsman sculpture, depicting an anonymous batsman.
Paying close attention, trying to understand wickets, bowlers, and overs.

Where else do you think Raymond went this year? Stay tuned to find out! :D

Raymond Visits a Farm


Generally speaking, I don’t travel quite as often as Raymond and Becky do, but that’s because when Raymond’s home at the North Pole, he and I spend a great deal of time thinking of fun shenanigans like blowing bubbles, trying on outfits and posing in front of a camera, or baking cookies. ;) This year, however, I had the opportunity to visit some relatives in rural Virginia, so Raymond accompanied me there.

In this part of Virginia, there are a handful of farms that grow fresh fruits and veggies, as well as raise animals. We stopped at one dairy farm to get ice cream, and then we walked the grounds to visit all the animals.

First we saw a pig taking a break from the shade to soak up some sunshine.
Look what Raymond saw when we entered the stables—silly goat!
What are these chickens doing under a tractor?!
The cow didn’t want to look at Raymond. Maybe she’s shy?
Raymond saying “Hi” to a donkey, who’s munching on some hay.
Speaking of hay, check out these minion haystacks!
Look at the size of that silo! Wowser!
Raymond stopping to take one last photo before we left the farm.

Where else do you think Raymond went this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Raymond Around the World: Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland


Remember last year when Raymond and I travelled to Savannah, Georgia to visit a friend who was cycling around the Southeastern United States? Well, that friend got married earlier this year, so of course Raymond and I had to attend the nuptials! The wedding took place in rural Michigan, and Raymond and I were excited when we realized that we would pass Bronner’s on our way to the wedding.

Thrilled to find a merry roadside stop in MI

Based in Frankenmuth, Michigan, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is the world’s largest Christmas store, and it is a sight to behold, as it is simply HUGE! Situated on 27 acres, Bronner’s features festive landscaping, enormous decorations, a chapel, and 100,000 Christmas lights—and that’s all before you even walk into the store itself.

Ready to check out ornaments upon ornaments

The salesroom at Bronner’s covers 2.2 acres… that’s 1.7 American football fields of ornaments, nativity sets, Christmas lights, home decor, trees, and more—wow! And Bronner’s has an incredible variety of Christmas ornaments, from snowmen, Santas, and reindeer to ornaments based on occupations & hobbies to ornaments from around the world.

Raymond and I definitely had fun on our festive pit stop, being totally immersed in holiday cheer in the middle of the summer.

Since the store is so large, Raymond and I decided we would meet up here if we got separated.
Trying to memorize all of these for his other travels
Learning about Bronner’s history—it was founded 70 years ago!
Raymond with the founder of Bronner’s
Told you they had some large decorations! Can you spot Raymond?
Hey, I know that reindeer!
Viewing just a small sampling of the ornaments
Raymond’s favourite ornament section
Trying to select an ornament to purchase, but they had so many options!

If you want to visit Bronner’s yourself, they are open 361 days a year:

Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland
25 Christmas Lane, P.O. Box 176
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
United States

Raymond getting the 411

Where else do you think Raymond went this year? Stay tuned to find out! :D

Raymond Around the World: Brooklyn

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This year in our downtime, Raymond and I travelled a little bit again. In years past we’ve gone to India, San Francisco, London, Savannah, and South Korea, among other places. When we travel, both Raymond and I love to try out local foods. Well, earlier this year, Raymond said he really wanted to try some traditional bagels, so we popped down to Brooklyn, New York. While there, of course we had to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to check out the view… and because it’s a great spot for a photo!

With the East River and Manhattan in the background.
On the iconic 19th century bridge.

Where else do you think Raymond went this year? Stay tuned to find out! :D

Free Wallpaper: December is Here!


Happy December, everyone! We’ve been counting down the days until Christmas all year long, but now the big day is only 24 days away. Yippee! To celebrate our favorite month, here’s a heaping helping of holiday spirit—a cozy desktop calendar featuring Raymond the reindeer.

To download the free wallpaper, click on one of the sizes above and then right-click (Windows) or Control+click (Mac) the image and choose “Save Image As…”

Enjoy this delightful December wallpaper from!

Free Wallpaper: Pining for Christmas


Less than two months until Christmas is here! For many of you, the weather is steadily getting colder as the warm autumn colors make way for the evergreens to take center stage. Those colossal conifers have already dropped lots of pinecones, and Raymond the reindeer is eager to gather some. What do you think he’ll use the pinecones for: to make a fun craft or perhaps decorate the Reindeer Barn?

To download the free wallpaper, click on one of the sizes above and then right-click (Windows) or Control+click (Mac) the image and choose “Save Image As…”

Enjoy this month’s wallpaper from!

Free Wallpaper: Raymond the Furry Phantom


We’re sure that many of you are excited about one spooky holiday coming up on October 31st—Halloween! Get your costume ready so you can go door-knocking for some sweet treats on All Hallows’ Eve. Our own little reindeer, Raymond, is eager to join the fun. Here he is, dressed as a ghost and ready to go trick-or-treating!

To download the free wallpaper, click on one of the sizes above and then right-click (Windows) or Control+click (Mac) the image and choose “Save Image As…”

Enjoy this spooky wallpaper from!

Free Wallpaper: Apple-Picking Season

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As the leaves begin to change colors and fall to the ground, the shift in seasons reminds us that there is just one more season until the Christmas season! September is a special month as holds a few key dates: The 16th marks 100 days until Christmas, and the 23rd is the autumnal equinox. Not only that, but September is also the start of the apple harvest. Raymond the reindeer has rounded up lots of apples already and made this fall wallpaper for you! Download it now to your desktop computer, laptop or tablet.

To download the free wallpaper, click on one of the sizes above and then right-click (Windows) or Control+click (Mac) the image and choose “Save Image As…”

Enjoy this sweet wallpaper from!

Psst… If you’re looking for ways to cook with the abundance of apples this fall, check out the recipes in Mrs. Claus’ Cookbook!

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