Santa has both boy reindeer and girl reindeer. They all have talents and they all have a part to play during Christmas. Santa doesn’t know how many reindeer he actually has — thousands and thousands of the. But the question that comes up all the time about Santa’s team of reindeer is whether they are boys or girls….
Dasher is a boy. One of Santa’s oldest reindeer, Dasher is known for both blazing speed and stamina.
Dancer is a girl. She is very nimble and often when Santa get stuck in snow or mud it is Dancer who can help lead the team out of the mess.
Prancer is a girl. She is Dancer’s sister, in fact. Prancer, as her name might suggest, is an expert runner. She flies well but she does very, very well on the ground, too.
Vixen is a girl. She’s all girl. She loves to wear bows, even when she flies.
Comet is a boy and he is extremely fast. He has thick legs and muscles all over his body. He is so strong that sometimes Santa takes him on trips all by himself.
Cupid is a girl. She is a real sweetheart. She loves to sing when she flies.
Donner is a boy. He’s Rudolph’s father, as you know, and he is the leader among all the reindeer.
Blitzen is a boy. Known as the quiet one, Blitzen is the reindeer who never wants to stop working or take a rest. Santa just loves him.
Rudolph is a boy, of course. Famous for his nose, Santa wishes he was known more for his eagerness to serve. Rudolph never gives up.
Now the scientific and game rules tell us that male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their antlers until after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to every historical rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, every single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen . . . had to be a girl.
BUT if we’re really going to let science be our guide in this matter, the first thing we have to admit is that reindeer don’t fly, let alone haul a jolly fat elf around in an airborne sleigh. And if we start down that slippery slope, there’s only one conclusion we can possibly reach: Santa Claus doesn’t exist. That way lies madness.
Thankfully, there’s a loophole.
It is a fact, reindeer experts say, that both the male and female of the species have antlers. It is also a fact that while most cows retain their antlers until spring, most bulls drop their antlers by early December.
The experts go on to explain that some younger bulls, depending upon hereditary and environmental factors, may keep their antlers well into spring — even as late as April.
So it is plausible to suppose that if, for the sake of argument, there were a Santa Claus, and if, for the sake of argument, he did circumnavigate the globe in a reindeer-powered sleigh every December 25th, then at least some of those reindeer — including one in particular with a shiny, red nose — could be males.
Santa Claus’s reindeer form a team of flying reindeer traditionally held to pull the sleigh of Santa Claus and help him deliver Christmas gifts. The commonly cited names of the reindeer are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. They are based on those used in the 1823 poem “A visit from St Nicholas.” (commonly called “The Night Before Christmas”), which is arguably the basis of reindeer’s popularity.
Rudolph’s story was originally written in verse by
Robert L. May for the Montgomery Ward chain of department stores in 1939, and published as a book to be given to children in the store at Christmas time. According to this story, Rudolph’s glowing red nose made him a social outcast among the other reindeer. However, Santa Claus’ worldwide flight one year was imperiled by severe fog, but upon going to Rudolph’s house to deliver his presents, Santa observed his glowing red nose in the darkened bedroom and decided to use Rudolph as a makeshift lamp to guide his sleigh. Rudolph accepted Santa’s request to lead the sleigh for the rest of the night, and he returned home a hero for having helped Santa Claus.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer
Whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”