Our Blowmold Santa And His Sleigh and Reindeer - Flying for 2019
For the first time , our blowmold1 Santa Claus - sitting in his sleigh - has his three blowmold reindeer up and flying up, up and away. He's in our front yard and all lit up with a brand new set of reins that are made of 30' of rope light from Menards.
I have been trying to think about how to get the reindeer to 'fly' for a number of years. We didn't even put this set out last Christmas because I was caught in 'planning mode' too long and never got around to getting them to fly. My initial design called for them to be 'wired up' between the ground and the large Maple tree in our front yard. I went so far as to install two large metal eyelets directly in the trunk of the tree about 12 feet up in the air. I was contemplating running some wire (kind of like the wire I used on the espalier system in the back) from the eyelets down to some sort of grounding mechanism. My initial thought was to buy one of those spiral metal things that they sell for dog runs. The espalier system uses a couple of turnbuckles to keep the wire taught, but it isn't enough.
But, then I was trying to figure out how to connect the reindeer to the wire. It seemed like I was going to have to have two wires - to try to attain some stability - and perhaps the best way was to drill some holes in the nose and tail and run the wires through the actual blow mold (or blowmold) reindeer. Seemed tricky. The hole on the bottom of these reindeer is quite small. Like the size of a silver dollar. You can't get your hand inside these things. So, in order to 'guide' the wire from the nose to the tail, I'd have to try to just kind of 'fish it' through. In order to make the reindeer 'sit' on the wire in the right spot, I'd want those holes to be as small as possible.
So, I kind of ruled that out. And went looking around the web for other solutions.
The one that I thought was most promising was this one - mounting blow mold reindeer on tomato cages that are inverted. I found this photo on Pinterest of DIY flying blowmold reindeer. I'm pretty sure that the original photo of the nine blow mold reindeer on tomato cages is from a guy who posts on the PlanetChristmas Forum who talked about using tomato cages. Here's the post:
|Forum post on PlanetChristmas Forum about using staggered tomato cages for flying reindeer.|
Seemed like an interesting idea. And one that I could pull off, right?
I went on HomeDepot.com and found the largest tomato cages they carried locally was 54" tall. They have them in normal galvanized metal, but the also carry them in Emerald Green.
Using a trick from Imagineering, I figured green was the way to go. Not black. Why? Because of "Go Away Green".
To get them to mount, drilled four holes into the bottom of the reindeer. It was a little trial-and-error and the first (tallest) reindeer ended up having four extra holes drilled into it because of where I drilled the holes ended up making the reindeer a little to 'level'. I wanted them to be 'aiming upwards' with their noses higher than their tails.
A little bit of light-weight garden metal wire wrapped around the whole reindeer - over the saddles and under the first right of the cage - secure the reindeer to the cages. I think used a couple of Automower boundary wire stakes to secure the cage to the ground. With our yard being inclined, I stuck a tree stick under the front side of the cage to try to level it out.
We've had these blowmold guys in our yard for close to a decade. The first post that I have that shows off this set is in this post from our 2011 "Front Yard Tree" post. You can't see Santa, but you can see the nose of one of the reindeer. By 2013, Santa had two reindeer. And in 2014, he had his full complement of three reindeer. In those photos, blowmold afficianados will pick up on one of the main issues with these reindeer: their mounting metal sticks kind of, ummm, stink. They're terrible to mount. Terrible to use. And terrible at keeping the reindeer upright.
The tomato cage solves that problem. And also gets them to do what we've always wanted them to do: fly.
1. [Is blowmold one word? Or is it "blow mold"? I see it both ways.]↩