For those people who celebrate Christmas it is true what the song by Eddie Money says, “Everybody loves Christmas, everybody has fun. That time of the year, that holiday cheer, a good time for everyone!”
Here at CHCI we try to celebrate every major holiday with the chimpanzees. This year, like every other, Deborah and Roger Fouts, Mary Lee Jensvold, and several CHCI graduate students and volunteers celebrated Christmas with the chimpanzees on December 24th. The song is also appropriate for the chimpanzees as well.
Right after Thanksgiving we put up the tree for the chimpanzees to see and covered it with decorations and sweet treats (strings of various cereal and candies). From this moment on, the requests for sweet treats did not stop, and the excitement of Christmas day, when they finally get to have the sweet treats, began.
Their Christmas started out early in the morning with friends and family greeting them with a cornucopia of food and gifts. Their enclosures were decorated with streamers, gift bags filled with meat and cheese, presents, and a picnic set up with plates filled with cookies and cups filled with apple-grape cider. Breakfast was put on hold that morning in anticipation of the goodies to fill the enclosures. Besides meat, cheese, and cookies, they also had lunchables, nuts, pomegranates, pineapple, Clementine oranges, cranberries, and sweet treats. Their Christmas forage was enough to keep them satisfied through lunch and dinner until the following morning.
There were many gifts from Dr. R. Allen Gardner of which included a train whistle, a Christmas wine bag (of which we filled with treats and Tatu gladly ripped into, literally), and a fancy feather duster. They don’t sound very exciting but indeed all gifts were much appreciated.
Rather than an overly excited day of crazily ripping open gifts and stuffing faces full of food, Christmas this year was more of a mellow get together to enjoy what was given. Loulis was excited to see the yearly gingerbread house and quietly took it into a corner where he slowly had at it, first eating the hard candies followed by the icing and then some cookie.
The mellowness was broken for just a moment though when Tatu decided she wanted some of the gingerbread house and politely stole it from Loulis. Dar was happy to have some lunchables, complete with juice and a candy bar. He also went around the enclosures finding all the cups filled with cider and drinking them in a very sophisticated manner, pinky finger up! Tatu was a bit more active, searching out all the bags (even the ones taped up high on the walls and in the climbing structure) filled with meat, cheese, fruit, and nuts. It seemed like a never-ending party, until the next morning that is.