Rudolph with his red nose may be the most famous reindeer of them all but legend has it that Santa Claus has many more to help him pull his sleigh all around the world at Christmas time.
The idea of Father Christmas being aided by multiple reindeer to deliver presents to children comes from the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, which was written in 1823. Written by Clement Clarke Moore the poem, which is more commonly known as The Night Before Christmas because of its first line, describes the reindeer landing on the lawn outside a house ‘with a clatter’ and the ‘prancing and pawing of each little hoof’. It is also one of the first times that the reindeer are named…
In A Visit from St. Nicholas, Santa Claus has eight reindeer who are named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen.
Santa addresses them by name in the poem saying: ‘Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blixen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!’ Rudolph, Santa’s famous ninth reindeer, wasn’t introduced to the sleigh pulling team until 1939, when Chicago-based copywriter Robert L. May wrote the well-known song Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and it became a popular festive tune.
Now the names are set to the ones we are know and love!