Christmas Reindeer: Everything You Need To Know About The History of Santa’s Reindeer

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Christmas reindeer, then check out these fun facts. Don’t miss our wonderful reindeer ideas at the end.

RELATED: 30 Breathtakingly Rustic Homemade Christmas Decorations

In this article:

  1. Learn More About Your Favorite Christmas Reindeer
  2. The First Reindeer Sighting
  3. The Eight Tiny Reindeer
  4. Rudolph, the Red Nose Reindeer
  5. 5 Reindeer Christmas Holiday Ideas

Christmas Reindeer: Everything You Need to Know About the History of Santa’s Reindeer

Learn More About Your Favorite Christmas Reindeer

You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen; Comet, and Cupid, and Donner, and Blitzen… But do you recall the history of Santa’s reindeer, and how they came to be?

Have you ever wondered what was the name of the reindeer in jingle bells songs? Ever wonder how or why a reindeer is even a significant part of the modern Christmas tale?

I’ve always been fascinated by the reindeer, especially the Christmas reindeer that helps Santa deliver gifts to good girls and boys. I grew up hearing the reindeer names song and watching the films, but I never really knew how it happened.

How, did you think, the humble reindeer find its way into the holiday history?

The First Reindeer Sighting

First, let’s take a quick tour of the “modern Christmas” history lesson. Santa Claus wasn’t an original idea, he’s been developed over the centuries from different cultures and stories coming together.

In fact, did you know that Santa didn’t have any reindeer before the 1800s? It wasn’t until A Visit from St. Nicholas or more commonly known now as The Night Before Christmas that Santa was given his magic sleigh with reindeer.

Read it here:

Twas The Night Before Christmas was originally written in 1823. Its author was unknown, but it was most likely written by Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston, Jr. (Read the argument here.)

This poem gave birth to the reindeer that carried Santa’s sleigh across the rooftops and through the skies. It also painted the first 19th-century version of Santa, which has remained consistent ever since.

The Eight Tiny Reindeer

Caribou Photo by Wikipedia

So what kind of reindeer carry Santa’s sleigh? Most depictions of Santa and his reindeer are of ordinary full-sized reindeer, also known as Caribou in North America.

However, the original poem mentioned that Santa had “eight tiny reindeer” which led us to believe that the original poem was referring to the Svalbard reindeer, a Norwegian native that is only half the size of its brethren. Notice how there were only eight reindeer introduced in the original poem.

The original Christmas reindeer names:

  • Dasher
  • Dancer
  • Prancer
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • Donder
  • Blitzen

But do you recall? The most famous reindeer of all…

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Rudolph, the Red Nose Reindeer


The most famous reindeer of all didn’t come to be until 1939. His first appearance was in a promotional coloring book published by Montgomery Ward for the holidays.

Department stores passed these coloring books out via Santa to all the children shopping.

This promotional material was written by a copywriter Robert L. May. He drew inspiration for the story from his own tale of growing up shy.

In this famous short story, Rudolph is the odd one out. But what made him “different” also made him useful because, in the story, he saves Christmas!

It’s a classic ugly-duckling tale that immediately hits home with millions.

What started as a small coloring book became published piece, and then became a song and a movie. Read the detailed history here.

5 Reindeer Christmas Holiday Ideas

Want some Reindeer ideas for your own homestead this Christmas? You’ll love these:

1. Make Reindeer Christmas Cards

Have your kids stamp some reindeer heads with their thumb, and fill in the faces with markers.

2. Make Backyard Branch Reindeer Decor


This idea is available for purchase here on Amazon. But why not try it yourself?

All you need is birch branches, a saw, some nails, and your creativity!

3. Make Reindeer Chow


This delightful treat is a holiday spin on “puppy chow” or “muddy buddies.” This sugar-coated trail mix is made by mixing Chex mix with lots of peanut butter, powdered sugar, and some holiday goodness.

4. Make Reindeer Cookies

These cookies are so cute and so simple. Bake your favorite sugar cookie recipe, then add on eyes and ears with frosting, and a little red candy nose.

Rudolph never tasted this good!

5. Try Some Venison

And of course, if you’re a homesteader like me you should try some real deer meat. Did you know venison is one of the healthiest meats out there?

Now when you think of Santa’s Reindeer, you’ll know there’s a lot more to the story! Which reindeer is your favorite?

Watch the Classic Cartoon of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer By All Classic Video:

Indeed, Rudolph has out-shined his fellow reindeer with his red nose. And that’s how the story of Rudolph, and Christmas reindeer will go down in history!

Which reindeer is your favorite? Share your Christmas Reindeer memories in the comment section below!



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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 9, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

The post Christmas Reindeer: Everything You Need To Know About The History of Santa’s Reindeer appeared first on Homesteading Simple Self Sufficient Off-The-Grid |

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