Two Michigan entrepreneurs started ReindeerCam.com, a 24/7 online livestream that gives kids a chance to keep tabs on St. Nick. Viewers can log on and watch Santa feed a pair of his reindeer live, every day until Christmas. This is the second year for ReindeerCam, and it's attracted more than a million viewers from around the world.
You don't typically expect to see reindeer outside of the North Pole, but two of them have found a home in West Michigan at Drew Born's deer farm in Caledonia.
"I've always raised white tail deer, and we put a video camera up back there," said Born. "So a friend of mine was like, 'Hey, you should put livestream video up of Santa's reindeer.' I thought about it for awhile and thought it was a great idea."
But Born's pal Adam Loveless needed some convincing.
"I was a little bit skeptical, but I thought, 'Hey, let's go for it and see where it takes us,'" Loveless said.
And just like that, ReindeerCam.com was born. The pair launched the website in November of 2011, and hit 1.2 million page views in the 10 days before Christmas.
"Now it's amazing because here we are a year later," said Loveless. "It's early December, and we're already over 1.2 million page views."
People can watch the 24/7 livestream to see Santa feed the ReindeerCam stars - Mr. and Mrs. Stix, two reindeer not mentioned in St. Nick's famous line-up.
"This year Santa had way too many kids on the nice list," said Born. "So Santa needs a couple extra reindeer to haul presents around the world."
Mr. and Mrs. Stix love eating apples and hay.
"They have interesting temperaments because one day they're the nicest, friendliest things in the world, and the next day they want nothing to do with you," said Born. "Mr. Stix is a lot friendler than Mrs. Stix."
But both have attracted attention from around the world. Santa feeds the reindeer at 11 a.m., 6 p.m., and 9 p.m. every day. Typically, about 10,000 people tune in to watch live at each of those times.
The website, along with the iPad and iPhone app, has attracted viewers in more than 100 countries and territories. The pair sell about 1,000 apps a day at $1.99. Android and Windows 8 apps are currently in the works.
"When I tell people what we do, they assume it's a regional success or something that's only working in West Michigan," Loveless explained. "But when I tell them we sold 100 apps in the UK today, 60 in Ireland, and another 30 in Australia, they're like you guys are reaching out a little further."
And it's all in an effort to help make those viewers' holidays just a little bit brighter.
"Thousands of kids love watching it," said Born. "And if we can put an extra smile on their face, all the better."
To watch Mr. and Mrs. Stix, visit Reindeer Cam