Can reindeer poop be considered a Gem for holiday ornaments?

Yup, that’s Sorenne, attempting to pet a deer at Amy’s dad’s place in Missouri on Saturday (he raises deer). Amy says she made sure Sorenne didn’t touch her hands to her mouth and washed them thoroughly. I was in bed, bemoaning the state of my insides, but that’s another story.

There’s a lot of poop on a deer farm.

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, Illinois, is once again recycling their reindeer poop into ornaments and necklaces. Or, as the zoo says,

“… elves have been busy making Magical Reindeer Gem Ornaments and Necklaces for this year’s holiday season, with the hope that the tradition of this magical story will continue. Each piece is handmade and includes one “Gem.” “Gems” are actual reindeer dung droppings from Miller Park Zoo’s reindeer. Before production begins, each “Gem” is dehydrated, sanitized in an autoclave machine, painted and drilled. These Gem pieces developed with a story from retired Miller Park Zoo Superintendent, John Tobias. Here is how the story goes…

John’s grandmother use to gather her grandchildren and take them outside on Christmas Eve to scatter home­made chocolate chips. She would tell the children that the chips would attract Santa and his reindeer to their home, because the reindeer would know that other reindeer had already visited and left droppings…

In order to continue this wonderful tradition, Miller Park Zoo has designed ornaments and necklaces using actual reindeer droppings. If you adorn your tree or wear this necklace on Christmas Eve, it will help Santa and his reindeer find their way to your home. Because each ornament is handmade, they vary in size, shape and color. Gem pieces are hand made by volunteers with all proceeds benefiting Miller Park Zoo.

Sounds fine, as long as there are no failures in the production process. There is a Huh? factor involved. The one ornament reminds me of Mr. Hankey, the Christmas poo, from TV’s South Park.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time