Skip to main content

Reindeer Games

Reindeer in Harness

You know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet, and Cupid, Donder and Blixem.

Ho, ho, ho…Or do you?

We bet you thought it was Donner, and Blitzen. And while you aren’t wrong, you aren’t entirely right either.

We are all familiar with the iconic reindeer that lead Santa’s sleigh every December 24th. This year, we are going to get to know them a little bit better. Who are they? What are their career goals? What qualifications do they possess that make them suited for this elite team Santa relies on?

Santa’s reindeer made their first debut nearly 2 centuries ago in an 1823 poem titled “A Visit from Saint Nicholas”. It was later, and better, known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.  It was in that poem that were officially introduced to 8 of the 9 most famous reindeer.

They were, as previously mentioned, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blixem.  (Now adays, the latter two are known as Donner and Blitzen. We’ll cover why in a minute.)

But first, we bet yule be surprised to learn that contrary to pop culture, all of Santa’s reindeer…. are female!

How do I know? Well, according to two scientists from Edinburgh University, the fact that the reindeer are depicted donning full-grown antlers late into December (male reindeer lose theirs during the winter months) indicates that Santa’s Christmas Eve crew are all sleighin’ it as leading ladies. However, we are a bit of a traditionalist and like to think that despite the antler status, Santa’s flight crew is co-ed.   

Now it’s time to get to snow them a little better.

Dasher – The fastest of the reindeer (unless you ask Blitzen), Dasher is the athletic one of the bunch – the jock so to speak.  She excels at sports, specifically track and field.  She has a keen eye for fashion, a happy disposition, and tends to be a social butterfly.

Dancer – Dancer has got rhythm in her soul, and music in her heart. She has incredible hoof-eye coordination and is known to breakout into song and dance at the most unusual times.  Loud and out there, Dancer loves to flaunt bright, colorful clothes. With a huge heart, she is ever popular with the elves.  

Prancer – A little vain, but just as full of good intentions as he is full of himself. He is enthusiastic, high-energy and loves a good prank (though sometimes they can go a little too far). Prancer is always dressed to the nines, complete with accessories. In fact, Mrs. Claus made him a unique, one-of-a-kind harness to store his comb, brush, and mirror so he can look good on the fly.

Vixen – Vixen is pure magic, and always has a trick up her sleeve. She can make things disappear, and then reappear. (How else do you think Santa gets his bag of toys down a chimney?) As you can imagine, just like any other performer type, Vixen loves to be the center of attention. She is calm, cool, collected, and very smart. The other reindeer tend to confide in her. Her downside? She is late to everything.

Comet – Comet pulls people into her orbit. She enjoys making people laugh. She is laid-back, easy going, and incredibly smart. You can always count on Comet being there to lend a hoof to a friend in need. She is flexible and tends to go with the flow, but when she sets her mind to something, she gets it done.

Cupid – Not to be mistaken for the little winged baby that makes people inexplicably lovesick, Cupid is the fifth reindeer to join the team. True to his name, he is extremely loving and has a heart of gold. He can’t stand to see a friend feeling sad and will go to any length to cheer them up.  His favorite colors are red (of course) and green.

Donner (Donder) – Donner was formerly known as Donder (meaning ‘thunder’). Why the name change? Well, his official witness protection cover story is that, due to his father’s job, he, Blixem, and his family took on aliases and were relocated to the North Pole for protection. Due to this sudden life change, Donner is a bit of a mystery and keeps things close to the harness. He is only close to a select few.  As a creative type, he is loud and full of ideas, and he loves to take charge.

Blitzen (Blixem) – Donner’s twin, and closest confidante. Blitzen is adventurous and a thrill seeker. Never one to sit still, he began learning to fly at a very early age. He is arguably the fastest of the reindeer (check with Dasher to get her opinion on the matter.) When Santa yells ‘faster!’, Blitzen has a supernatural ability to inject an electrical current into the other reindeer. He is always on time, and even when not on the job, he moves at lightning speed (Blixem does mean ‘lightning’ in German), getting things done in a flash.

Rudolph – You know him, you love him, he’s arguably the MVP of the team. Growing up, he saw many doctors who tried to figure out what was the cause of the bright, glowing nose he is so well known for. Experts thought it was simply the overuse of blood flowing to the capillaries in his nose due to high altitude and extreme cold. But that only accounts for the redness, the glowing is still a medical mystery. Due to his rough childhood (you know, being laughed at, and called names), Rudolph is fairly shy and self-conscious, though extremely playful with those he is comfortable with.

These nine reindeer are, truthfully, the heroes of the holiday. Without them, Santa would simply be stranded. Santa chose his reindeer wisely. While they each have their unique qualities they bring to the team, they all demonstrate similar personality traits that are crucial to carrying on the Christmas spirit.

Make sure you keep your eyes to the sky this December 24th. A little elf told me Santa will be looking out to say hello to all of our friends.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!