Christmas Feast for the Horses
December 5, 2013

As a family with two rescued cats, we’re fans of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), but not everyone knows that the organizations helps more than kittens and puppies, and has done so for a very long time.

I recently learned that in 1916, when horses were still the main mode of transportation in Boston, the MSPCA began the lovely tradition of serving what it called “The Horses’ Christmas” in Post Office Square right before the holiday. A Christmas tree was decorated with carrots, apples, oats, sugar and corn and placed near the Angell Memorial Monument. All drivers in Boston were encouraged to bring their horses there and let them eat. This event continued as an annual tradition until the 1950s when horses no longer worked pulling carriages.

To this day, the nonprofit organization cares for horses and other animals at Nevins Farm in Methuen. The 55-acre animal care complex provides shelter and adoption services for both farm and companion animals. There’s an unusual equine program, including rehabilitation, adoption services, and an equine ambulance program, as well as community outreach and education programs.

This year the MSPCA is reviving the special event, with its 2013 Christmas Feast for the Horses on Saturday, December 7 at Nevins Farm at 4:30 p.m. followed by a holiday tree lighting and a visit from Santa. Visitors are invited to bring fresh carrots, apples, oats, and peppermints to share with the horses. Immediately following the tree lighting, Santa will be available for photos with your family, including with your canine members (on a leash). You need to bring your own camera. There’s no photo fee, although donations are suggested to help care for the animals. 

For an opportunity to have other kinds of pets photographed with Santa, visit the MSPCA’s Boston Adoption Center's Santa Days to make a reservation at MSPCA Angell in Jamaica Plain. For a $25 donation you will receive a framed photo and an email with a digital image of the photo. This runs on December 7 and 8 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Though reservations are preferred, they aren’t required.


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