Reindeer the Ultimate Icons for a Merry Christmas
By: Tippy & Alfred
Reindeer, the domesticated variety of the Caribou in
Northern America and Russia are large deer usually found in
the very far north and in the Arctic. They have been
domesticated for centuries and provide meat, milk, hide,
antlers and bone for tools and decoration, and
transportation for the native peoples who herd them.
Reindeer are just as capable of pulling a sleigh as a horse.
They are very large deer that can survive the harsh
conditions of a very cold climate, and can run on very
little food during the winter months.
Because they are the common mode of transportation in the
far north in winter, of course Santa's sleigh was pulled by
reindeer. Reindeer were first made well-known to the public
through a poem written in 1823 called "A Visit from Saint
Nicholas," by Dr Clement Moore.
Since then Rudolph, who is the "Most famous reindeer of all"
was added to Santa's team in 1939 when one of department
store Montgomery Ward's copywriters, 34-year-old Robert L.
May, was asked to come up with a coloring book to hand out
to children during the Christmas season. This coloring book,
entitled "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," was the first
time Rudolph, now an international icon, was ever heard of
in popular culture.
Because male reindeer shed their antlers in the winter it
has been proposed that all of Santa's reindeer may in fact
be female. There are of course exceptions to every rule
though, and since they are magical, Santa's reindeer may be
both male and female.
The line-up in the sleigh team has also been under debate
and been depicted in several movies. But there still has
been no real consensus as to where which reindeer belongs in
the sleigh team.
In a "Christmas Story," a popular holiday movie, it was
proposed by "Santa" that the reindeer only fly on Christmas
Whether reindeer fly on Christmas Eve or not, they are very
real and essential to the people with whom they share their
lives. And, reindeer have a firm place in Christmas
tradition and will for as long as there is a Santa.
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