Llama Drama? Why The Unicorn Is Out and the Llama is In!


The latest trend for little ones is now none other than… the llama. So does this mean our cultural unicorn obsession is over or, at least, the ‘sparkle’ is dying down?

I’ve always had a strange obsession with llamas. When I used to eat animal crackers, I was always thrilled when I picked out the cracker in the shape of a llama. Okay, even though it may have been a donkey or a camel, let’s not kill my love for llamas, so I’m going to stick with the belief that there were llama-shaped animal crackers.

Then, a couple summers ago, my daughter came home from overnight camp with a cute hand game, along with words about ‘happy llama,’ ‘sad llama,’ ‘upside down llama,’ as her fingers formed into different versions of what looked like llamas. She still makes her baby brother laugh when she does this.

Then, just a few weeks ago, I was in San Fransisco. While walking around, I saw two tank tops in the store front window of a funky shop that I knew my daughter would love. I immediately took a photo of the tank tops, texted them to her asking, ‘Do you want these?’ She responded immediately with a, ‘YES!’

One of the tops had a photo of a goofy llama wearing glasses, with the words , ‘Save the Drama For Your Llama.’ The second tank top featured a llama in a yoga pose with the word, ‘Llamaste,’ playing off the yogi word Namaste. Clearly, you can have a lot of fun rhyming with the word llama. (Pyjama… Obama…)

Just last month, model and mother of two, Chrissy Teigen, admitted she became obsessed with llamas after becoming a mom. Talking to refinery29.com, Teigen said, ‘Before I was a mom, I would have never known the fascination with llamas and giraffes and anything with floppy ears or anything with a squishy nose. There are just certain things that they take to and really love.’

She says her daughter, Luna, adores llamas too. So, llamas are definitely having their moment, and may even, as refinery29 points out, ‘Finally dethrone unicorns as the trendiest cutesy creature around.’

Yogi Llama!

Both parents and young children seem to be getting on the llama trend bandwagon, with llamas on home décor, birthday cakes, wine glasses, coffee mugs and even at weddings.

According to Elisabeth Sherman, who writes for foodandwine.com, ‘Yes, more and more couples these days want to include these fluffy bundles of farm animal in their celebrations of eternal love. Sure, the llama is unexpectedly charming and adds a dose of playfulness to the otherwise serious occasion, but it’s not exactly what I would call an elegant animal.’

The llama is a goofy animal, let’s be honest, and perhaps that’s its attraction. Even Sherman had a change of heart as she writes, ‘Although I wasn’t convinced at first, there is something oddly magnetizing about the llama which might look a little silly with its protruding teeth and frizzy coat but is actually quite sweet and loveable-looking upon second glance. The llama is all of us—cute, but a little weird.’

Also, unlike the glittery and flashy unicorns, llamas are understated and awkward and humble…just like us humans.

Thanks to The llama trend, parents can actually take our kids to see one, at the zoo, and can explain what it is, in real terms, without having to make up stories about how unicorns spend their day. We can actually have a (somewhat) smart answer for our kids like, ‘The llama is a South American relative of the camel, though the llama does not have a hump.’ (Thank you National Geographic!)

And llamas actually do good. This video of a nursing home in Massachusetts shows how llamas are brought in to cheer up residents. And, you may not want to mention THIS to your llama-loving children, but in Sonoma California, you can actually rent a llama. Greg Harford runs the ‘rent a Llama business,’ for city peeps, and, yes, they are in high demand.

‘Easy handling, easy to load up and durable,’ says Harford. ‘They evolved in the high Andes. The mountains.’ The llama rental comes complete with a trailer, pack supplies, and a crash course in llama handling. ‘The training is mainly for the people,’ Hartford says in the article. ‘The llamas are very smart. They do most of the work.’

Llama rentals cost about 95 bucks a day. I may just have to make this trip for my llama-loving family. Could you imagine that as a vacation? Harford says his main clients are aging hikers or families camping with small children. (Llamas can carry 65 pounds of camping gear. Another plus? You don’t have to bring any llama food. Llamas are great at foraging for their own food.)

So if you’re child suddenly starts talking about llamas, you’ll know why. Plus, how nice is it to be able to teach our kids about ‘no drama’ llamas?

And the best part is, llama’s don’t leave a trail of messy sparkles everywhere…


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