Rudolph And Santa's Other Reindeers
Maybe it's the undeniable alliterative appeal of Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer
that makes him the most known or popular of all Santa's nine flying reindeers.
It certainly doesn't seem as easy to come up with a similar catchy description
for the others - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and
Blitzen - as named in the song.
The story of Rudolph
whose glowing red nose made him a standout, first
appeared in 1939 when Montgomery Ward department
stores distributed about 2.4 million booklets with
the poem in the form of a story about "Rudolph
the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
It was written by Robert L. May, who worked in the
store's advertisement or marketing department, to be
used to attract more people into the store. When the
booklet was reissued in 1939, sales soared to more
than 3.5 million copies. But it wasn't until a decade
later, in 1949, that the story really gained immense
popularity when Gene Autry sang a musical version of
the fable. As a Christmas song, it is second only in
popularity to 'White Christmas.'
Rudolph, the nineth reindeer, whose lighted nose
guides Santa's sleigh through the night, is now known
worldwide as the song has been translated into more
than 20 different languages and an animated
television movie has also been based on the story.
Rudolph and his noticeable nose have also become the
subject of jokes and sparked more interest in
reindeers which has led to much research into Santa
and the flying reindeers who pull his sleigh through
Along with the catchy rhythm of the lyrics, Rudolph's
story is also appealing because of the moral lessons
it contains. As the story goes, Rudolph was
ostracized by the other reindeers, which laughed and
teased him about his shiny red nose. But on a foggy
night, when Santa must have been concerned that he
may not be able to deliver his Christmas gifts around
the world, Santa spotted him and kindly asked if he
would step to the front as the leader to 'guide my
sleigh tonight.' His shiny red nose would after all
be very useful in lighting the way,
Santa thought. From then on 'all of the other
reindeers loved him," and rightly predicted that
he 'would go down in history.'
Among the moral lessons the story can impart is, that
an attribute that is perceived as negative or as a
liability, can be used for a positive purpose or,
become an asset. It also makes the point, that an
individual should not let the negative behavior of
others define him or her and limit expectations of
what can be achieved. And it also illustrates how
quickly opinions and attitudes about a person can
The question still lingers however, of where Rudolph
came from. He is commonly regarded as the son of
Donner (or Donder), one of the original eight
reindeers. But the Snopes.com site rejects this
however, saying that he dwelled in a reindeer village
elsewhere and it was there that he was seen by Santa,
who had already started on his Christmas Eve journey
to deliver gifts. And in a more modern evolution of
the story according to Wikipedia.com, an animation by
the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) introduced
a son, named Robbie, of Rudolph. That son has now
become the tenth reindeer.
It's also interesting to note, that the idea of
Santa's sleigh being pulled by reindeers, was
originated in the poem, 'Twas The Night Before
Christmas.' That poem tells the story of St.
Nicholas, who is Santa, calling his eight tiny
reindeers by their names, as previously mentioned,
just before he came down the chimney of a house to
start filling the stockings from a sack full of toys
he carried on his back.