The reindeer that give their beautiful hides aren’t the same reindeer who pull Santa’s sleigh. However, in the northern climates where they are herded, reindeer function very much the way cattle do. They are beasts of burden and pull not sleighs, but sledges. They can attain speeds of about 15 miles per hour and can pull their own weight for hours at a time. Reindeer are also grown for their meat, their milk, leather and hides, which are becoming more and more sought after as part of home decor. Hides are especially popular as furniture throws and wall hangings.

A reindeer is unusual in respect to other types of deer, as both the male and female have broad antlers. They’re related to the caribou, which is found in North America. Reindeer stand about three and half feet high and weigh about 300 pounds. When the antlers drop off, as they do every year, they’re used to make knives and household implements.

Many reindeer are raised in Finland by the Sami people. The hides become available after the reindeer are slaughtered for their meat. Some hides are made water repellent with silicone and can be use outdoors. They can even be used as an extra insulative layer inside tents and sleeping bags. But some hides aren’t treated to make them water repellent. The owner should make sure that they know whether the hide they buy has been treated or not.

Caring for a reindeer skin is easy. Reindeer have hides that are perfect for the cold climates where they live. They are very good insulators and remain so even after they’re tanned and made into hides. That’s why it’s a good idea for the owner to turn a non-treated hide over now and then, to keep condensation from forming beneath the hide and marring it.

Reindeer hides shouldn’t be put on the floor, or if they’re used as floor rugs the owner should make sure that they’re not walked on or slept on by pets. The fur of reindeer is fragile, as the individual hairs are hollow and can be broken if the hide is roughly handled. They also shed. Keeping a reindeer rug near a fireplace or in a very hot, dry room will cause the hide to shed even more. A reindeer hide should be kept in a relatively cool room with good humidity levels.  If you are looking for an alternative use for your reindeer rug why not use it as a furniture throw over your favourite chair or sofa? They are a greatway of adding style, colour and texture to any room.