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Who's more popular? Santa or his Reindeer?

Sants's 8 Tiny Reindeer

Santa’s 8 tiny reindeer live at the North Pole along with Santa Claus, Mrs. Santa Claus, and the elves. They have a very important job each Christmas, for without the reindeer, Santa Claus isn’t coming to town. However, Santa didn’t always have these helpful creatures to help him bring toys to boys and girls each Christmas.

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Vintage illustration of reindeer.

The Reindeers’ Origin

When St. Nicholas first began to appear in old European lore, he traveled with a goat like creature that not only helped deliver toys, but also punished naughty kids. Over the years, customs changed as a more puritan way of life was accepted. A poem by William Gentry mentioned Santa being pulled by flying reindeer. However the actual names of the reindeer were first printed in a poem in 1823 in the Troy Sentinel called “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Controversy surrounds who exactly wrote the poem, but the poem and the names of the 8 tiny reindeer remain a favorite poem that is read each Christmas.


The Reindeer and the North Pole

People over time began to wonder just where the reindeer would graze, given that the North Pole is ice. In 1925, newspapers revealed that the flying reindeer in fact lived in Finnish Lapland. However, popular legend still tells of the reindeer living with Santa Claus and Mrs. Santa Claus at the North Pole. The movie “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” further showed how the reindeer lived with Santa.


The 8 Reindeer and The Others

The order of the 8 tiny reindeer from the front to the back is: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. Each reindeer has his or her own personality and function in the group. In 1939, Robert L. May, a clerk for Montgomery Ward, created a poem about a reindeer named Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph quickly became a loved symbol of Christmas. Other reindeer were talked about over the years in poems, songs, and movies.

Even though other reindeer have been added to the 8 tiny reindeer over the years, the original 8 are never forgotten. Their story is told and re-printed every year. As legend says, without those 8 tiny reindeer, boys and girls around the world would not get their gifts from Santa Claus.