After Thanksgiving celebrations ended, a surprise guest arrived on our doorstep, direct from the North Pole. It was Eggnog, the Ranch elf. We suspect he traveled all this way to make sure the many families who celebrate at The Ranch are well taken care of, and we were happy to show him the ropes of our country Christmas. While he’s been here, he’s crossed a few things off his bucket list. In true Rancher spirit, he also pitched in to help out when possible.
As he looks to depart on Christmas Eve to head back to Santa’s workshop, we’re sharing his travelogue with our Blog at Rock Creek readers.
An Elven Itinerary
Each Ranch guest, young or old, receives their own customized itinerary. Eggnog was no exception. Ranch Ambassador Kendra Foster worked diligently on an itinerary that would be worthy of one of Santa’s helpers. First she noted down the things that were important to Eggnog, next to her own to-do list. (See below). Then, she incorporated included Ranch activities, Little Grizzlies Kids Club outings and special Christmas events into Eggnog’s elven itinerary.
Decking the Halls
Come December, our Activities team forages for Christmas trees across The Ranch’s forestland. The hunt required lots of strong arms, and even a Ranger UTV or two. One of Eggnog’s twice-daily included activities was a Montana Master Naturalist trek in the snow with Ranch Naturalist and Beekeeper Kelsey Bruns. Eggnog scouted his own tree while learning about our eco-system. When the time came, he chopped it down and carried it back to his accommodation.
Western Mercantile Style
In order to feel like a real rancher, he visited Mercantile Manager Cat Johnson. He requested a new Western outfit worthy of his next adventures. He also looked around to see if our Western Mercantile was supplying goods that were up to Santa’s standards. The smile on his face says it all. With mostly locally sourced goods, and some even made by our Ranchers themselves, Eggnog was happy to see that quality gifts were available for any last-minute holiday shoppers.
Life Between the (Pointy) Ears
Dressed in his new bandana, vest and boots, Eggnog was keen to see The Ranch from the saddle. He hopped on a horse and ascended Mary Beth’s Peak. Eggnog’s considerable expertise with sleighs was also invaluable as our wranglers trained our draft horse teams for their Christmas Day sleigh rides.
After his trail ride, he inspected the barnyard to make sure the goats, the sheep, cattle herd and 80-strong horse herd were ready for the holidays. He even had time to work up an appetite for Executive Chef Josh Drage’s farm-to-table cuisine while visiting the chuck wagon.
The Fire is So Delightful
Eggnog attended Yule Night, a local celebration in our hometown, Philipsburg, and he was a welcome guest at our holiday party. That night, he warmed his hands by the bonfire and sipped on s’mores hot chocolate. If you’re searching for a hot cocoa recipe this Christmas, we highly recommend this festive one from our “Eat, Drink & Be Merry” blog—tested and approved by Eggnog himself.
Later that weekend, he enjoyed Mixology Hour with Bar Manager Ned Derosier, and enjoyed a frosty Yule Mule mocktail in a copper mug. Adults can visit the blog to get this tasty recipe, or try Silver Dollar Saloon cocktails, the Resolution or Grand-Fashioned—recipes fit for your rustic-luxe New Year’s plans.
He enjoyed a fireside yoga session with Granite Spa Manager Karen Piacuqadio. The Ranch offers a number of styles of mind & body classes, including yoga, natural movement training and forest bathing, but Elf Yoga was entirely new to us. All spa services are customized, so Karen made sure Eggnog’s practice was to his liking.
Eggnog’s Little Workshop
Before he left, Eggnog had time to make a bespoke birthday bouquet for Lead Wrangler Mindy Avila. Our own Groups & Events Team Members Christina Wernikowski, Kate DeMello, Lauren Messmore, Ashley Atkinson and Chris Lane were impressed by his work. These professionals value perfection and lead the holiday decorating effort at The Ranch. This season they even designed their own Festival of Trees Nordic Christmas Tree, which made over $8,000 for local healthcare projects.
Eggnog was a wonderful addition to The Ranch’s family this year. We hope you have as much fun relishing the holidays as we do. Stay tuned on Instagram to see how our White Christmas unfolds. Happy Holidays from our Ranch family to yours!
Ranch sign designed by Groups & Events Team Member Kate DeMello.