Reindeer first became with the Santa Claus in 1821 in an illustration depicting an elfin-sized
Santa, dressed in red, having his sled pulled by ONE REINDEER.
In 1823, reindeer became inseparable from the Santa
Legend when Clement Clarke Moore first published "The Night Before Christmas" for an upstate New York newspaper.
In Moore's classic poem Santa now had EIGHT REINDEER which he named" "Santa whistled
and shouted and called them by name: Now Dasher!.. Now Dancer!.. Now Prancer and Vixen!... On Comet, On Cupid! On Donder and
Blitzen!" ( Note the female names, Vixen, and some hold Dancer. )The original reindeer were not mean to fly, per
se, but leap into the air to reach roofs.
Reindeer and Santa remained elfin-sized until 1860 when for Harper's Magazine Thomas Nash illustrated
Santa as fat, bearded gentliving at the North Pole. By the way, it was also Nash who also created Santa's "Naughty or
Today, elves remain the only elfin-like characters associated with the Santa Legend
Rudolph, the NINTH REINDEER, didn't join the Santa until almost 80 years later in
1939 when Dartmouth's own& Phi Beta Kappa graduate, Robert May created the character for a Montgomery Ward coloring book
to be given to children that year.
Judge and Jury...
Recorded literary history is clear!
Reindeer had no part in the manger scene.
At the time of Christ's birth, they weren't there.
In addition to literature, there are no manger icons.
Their legend, which was crafted by mortal men,
1821 YEARS AFTER THE NATIVITY.