VIDEO: Free wonky carrots for trusty reindeer Rudolph

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Morrisons supermarkets across the UK will be giving away 200,000 wonky carrots in an effort to support the Christmas tradition of leaving out refreshments for Father Christmas and his trusty reindeers on Christmas Eve.

The move aims to introduce kids to wonky veg, encourage families to buy large or misshapen carrots, and help out busy parents who might otherwise forget a gift for Father Christmas.

It follows new research amongst UK parents which reveals that leaving food and drink out for Father Christmas and his reindeer is still a popular tradition for engaging kids with Father Christmas with 6.2 million UK families participating this Christmas Eve.

The humble carrot is the most popular item left beside the fireplace, with a mince pie (56 per cent) a close second and a glass of milk (41 per cent) topping a glass of sherry (32 per cent) as Santa’s preferred tipple.

The study also shows nearly three quarters of those in today’s family households (74 per cent) would leave food and drink for Santa and his reindeers when they were children and that it’s still considered an important part of a family Christmas for 70 per cent.

However well over a third (35 per cent) believe that their parents generation followed it much more than we do nowadays indicating that they may not be aware that the tradition is still as popular as ever.

A typical spread of carrots, mince pies and a glass of sherry sets the average family back £2.10 putting the total cost to UK households at a whopping £13million.

‘Carrots for Rudolph’ which look misshapen but still taste delicious will be handed out from the entrances of the 492 Morrisons stores across the UK to help families take part in this annual tradition. They can be enjoyed by the whole family, Father Christmas himself as well as Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.

Morrisons has a carrot washing and packing plant in North Yorkshire where carrots are sorted into perfect and ‘wonky’ bags. Although customers are buying more misshapen and over-sized carrots there are still more that could be sold to be eaten by customers.

Jessica Lawson, Head of Morrisons carrot plant in Yorkshire, said: “We want to make it easy for our customers to enjoy this magical tradition and highlight that wonky carrots are just as tasty as perfect-looking carrots, they are often cheaper, and there are plenty more available to buy.”

The tradition of leaving food and drink out for Father Christmas and his reindeer can be traced all the way back to ancient Norse mythology when children would leave out food for Sleipner the eight-legged horse ridden by Norse God Odin in the hope that he would stop by on his travels and leave gifts in return.

Over the years, different countries have developed their own versions with American children leaving out cookies and milk and Swedish kids leaving rice porridge.