2012-12-12 / Front Page

Santa’s Reindeer: Rudolph And The Other Eight

Did you know, the reindeer that lead Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve are the only known flying reindeer?

Reindeer were first sighted in Finland in the mid-1800s and they were discovered in the North Pole in 1923 – years after Clement Moore penned his Christmas classic, “The Night Before Christmas,” as a gift for his children.

Moore told the tale of “eight tiny reindeer,” Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen, who each obtain the ability to fly by eating magic corn that was given to Santa by a “great and wonderful wizard.”

According to Christmas legend, the magic corn strengthens the reindeer’s hooves threefold - allowing them to fly through the air as though they were racing on solid ground!

Rudolph was actually known as “Rollo,” before the 1939 song, “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer,” introduced him. The first Rudolph sighting came in the form of a 1939 Montgomery Ward Company ad, when a graphic artist unveiled Rudolph’s shiny nose.

The tale has thrilled generations of children since singer cowboy Roy Rogers recorded the most famous rendition of the holiday classic.

The second most famous rendition of the song was recorded in 1970 by folk singer Burl Ives, for the TV holiday classic, “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.”

Legend has it, Santa’s reindeer (along with Rudolph) are able to pull a sleigh carrying 13,500 pounds of toys for an unlimited amount of time. Which explains how they manage to travel to each and every corner of the world on one magic night.

Poor Donder. Over time, authors of various holiday tales have “reinvented” his name, changed it to “Donner,” without his approval.

Legend says the other reindeer are not pleased with this turn of events, and have, in fact, come to refer to “Donner” as “the imposter.”

The reindeer hope the tale of the imposter will someday be written into history, so Donder can reclaim his former glory as the true member of Santa’s team.

Did you know that Santa’s “team” are he only male reindeer that keep their antlers in the winter? Only female reindeer keep their antlers during winter months as their bodies adapt to seasonal, not climate changes.

Legend tells that Santa’s reindeer keep their antlers and use them to steer his sleigh, another sign of the magic of Christmas!

–Liz Goff


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