On Christmas morning, some residents of Pawling may have been awakened by the sound of sleigh bells and the clopping of hooves outside. In a scene resembling holiday stories of old, two horse-drawn wagons made their way through the area, delivering presents to everyone they encountered. This surprise act of generosity was not performed by Santa Claus, but rather a small group of holiday well-wishers who deliver gifts to the people of Pawling each year simply to spread the spirit of the season.
The annual Christmas present delivery ride began four years ago and has become a tradition in Pawling. The Blumberg family, owners of Rock Hill Farm located on River Road, often bring their animals to community celebrations and charity events. Eventually, Danny Blumberg decided that the animals from the farm could be used to spread Christmas cheer. “We created this event as a way that someone outside our community could donate a gift and improve Christmas for a stranger,” explains Danny Blumberg, who gathers presents from friends, clients, coworkers, and family members for the yuletide celebration. “The event has grown over the years, and not only are we receiving two or three hundred gifts from people outside of our community, we have started to receive donations from Pawling residents as well,” he adds.
The Blumbergs and their friends received an outpouring of support and eventually gathered a wagon-full of presents for all ages. DeeAnn Blumberg expressed her appreciation for her son’s efforts, as well as the incredible response from the community. “A parent’s greatest joy in life is to watch how their children grow, and to see where their hearts take them,” she explains. “As a mother, I couldn’t be any more proud of Danny for creating this annual Christmas wagon ride. People from all over the community have also come together, helping to donate wrapped gifts each year for this event.”
With the wagons loaded with gifts, the Blumbergs and their team of “elves” were ready to take to the streets of Pawling on Christmas morning. The final members of the group were two teams of Belgian Draft Horses, each animal standing six feet high and weighing 2,000 pounds. The team of Bob and Bill were driven by Danny, while his father, John, drove the team of Mike and Tony.
The team spent the next few hours riding throughout Pawling, distributing gifts to anyone they encountered. Residents came out of their homes to greet the horses and receive their gifts, with some children even excitedly running outside barefoot as their parents chased after them with their coats. “When you mix together my own family, some good friends, four big ‘draftees’ hooked to wagons, and a purposeful endeavor, it’s the recipe for the most fun I could ever have,” says John Blumberg. “If someone would pay me to do it, I’d do it every day.” Family friend Justin Albertson took great joy in helping to distribute the presents, adding, “There is just so much joy in seeing a stranger’s face light up when you run up to them with a gift on Christmas day!”
With another successful Christmas present run behind them, the Santas of Rock Hill Farm expressed their appreciation to all who helped the magical morning become a reality. “I am so thrilled that this event has turned into such a tradition in Pawling,” says Danny Blumberg. “Thank you to everyone who donated gifts and to everyone on our team who helped to give those gifts out on Christmas morning. We’re already looking forward to next year.”