Santa Claus has a team of 8 reindeer that pull his sleigh through the night on Christmas Eve to deliver toys and stocking stufferes to children all over the world.
In the very famous poem by Clement Moore, The Night Before Christmas, Santa calls to his reindeer:
“Now Dasher, now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet, On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall,
now, dash away, dash away, dash away all!”
This is when we first learned that reindeer can fly. Although the poem doesn’t tell us the order of the reindeer, assuming they are named from front to back, with the reindeer on the left being male, and the reindeer on the right being female, their order on the sleigh would be as follows:
We know about each reindeer according to their names:
Dasher– The first reindeer and the right-hand leader of the sleigh before Rudolph was included. He is the speediest reindeer.
Dancer – The second reindeer and the left leader before Rudolph was included. She is the graceful reindeer.
Prancer – The third reindeer and on the right in the second row. He is the most powerful reindeer.
Vixen– The fourth reindeer and on the left-hand side in the second row. She is beautiful, and also powerful like her companion Prancer.
Comet– The fifth reindeer and on the right-hand side in the third row. He brings wonder and happiness to children when Santa flies over everyone’s houses.
Cupid – The sixth reindeer and on the left-hand side in the third row. She brings love and joy to children when Santa flies over everyone’s houses.
Donder – The seventh reindeer and on the right-hand side in the fourth row. His original name was Dunder, a variant of donder, meaning “thunder” in Dutch.
Blitzen– The eight reindeer on the left-hand side in the fourth row. Though female, she is sometimes portrayed as a male in American culture. Her original name is Blixem. She is know as the lightening reindeer because the word “Blitz” is German for lightening, as is “Blixem”, her original name, in Dutch.
According to legend, Rudolph, the son of Donder and the most famous reindeer of all, was born with a very shiny red nose that lit up and caused the other reindeer to laugh and call him names. Poor Rudolph couldn’t participate in reindeer games because of his funny looking and distracting nose.
On One foggy Christmas Eve, when Christmas was about to be cancelled, Santa turned to Rudolph with his shiny and beaming nose and asked him to guide his sleigh through the night. From that point on the reindeer shouted with glee and loved Rudolph, and well, the rest is history!
How Reindeer Fly
Reindeer play special jumping and flying games when they start school, this helps them learn to fly. They also eat lichen (reindeer moss) and enjoy an enhanced diet of magic oats and corn around Christmastime. This is said to enhance their flight abilities. Additionally, reindeer are sprinkled with magical dust on Christmas Eve by elves which enables them to jump high and dash into the night.
When you’re leaving milk and cookies for Santa, don’t forget to leave magic oats and corn for his team of reindeer.