Every year in mid December 700 children descend upon the Seneca Park Zoo to see the many wonderful animals that live there and to enjoy breakfast with Santa.

This year each child received a beautiful hand painted elephant Christmas ornament thanks to the artists at Smidgens, Inc. in Lima, NY. In fact, Smidgens has been designing, producing and donating the Christmas ornaments for the zoo for the last decade.

It all begins in early September when the director of the zoo and Rita from Smidgens talk about what animal they will be making into the ornament for that season. Sometimes they’re inspired by an animal visiting from another zoo, like the year they did the white rhinoceros. Or the year they created a lion to launch the zoos expansion project.  This year they decided to honor long time zoo residents Lilac and Genesee, a pair of elephants.

Once that’s decided, Rita gets started drawing until the shape is just right. Samples are cut on Smidgens lasers from 1/8” Baltic birch plywood, painted, and engraved with the zoos name and the year. A string is added for hanging and the prototype is sent to the zoo for approval.

After the approval is granted they get into full production. Cutting, painting, engraving and packaging 700 ornaments is a very big job. The artists at Smidgens will work on the project most of October and November until that big day when they are all boxed up and delivered to the zoo.

As Smidgens part comes to an end, the real life for the newly created elephants is just beginning. Christmas trees all over Rochester will be adorned with Smidgens’ ornaments for the holidays. Cheers to you and to all a good night…