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Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Santa's famous reindeers are as much a part of Christmas as the plum pudding, turkey dinner and presents around the tree. Although Father Christmas has been delivering our gifts on Christmas Eve for centuries, it wasn't until the early 19th century that his magical reindeer first came to prominence in popular culture.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Credit: Uladzik Kryhin / Adobe Stock


Today, the image of the jolly man in red driving his sleigh full of toys through the night sky, pulled by eight majestic flying reindeer, is widely associated with Christmas and appears on many greeting cards. However, prior to 1823, children were pretty much in the dark about how Santa arrived at their home every year.


Legend of the reindeer

When his legendary sleigh arrived on the rooftop and the reindeer stopped for a breather while Santa squeezed down the chimney, there would be no carrots left out for his reindeer - until American writer Clement Clarke Moore spilt the beans about the flying deer in his poem, A Visit from St Nicholas, which became known as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Santa has nine reindeer - Moore named eight in his poem as Dancer, Dasher, Prancer, Comet, Vixen, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was described in the song written by Robert Lewis May in 1939.

The little reindeer, who was the subject of much ridicule because he had a bright red, shiny nose, became the hero of Christmas when he was chosen to pull Santa's sleigh, thanks to his glowing nose illuminating the path before them!


Shine bright like a...nose!

Originally, May wrote the story of Rudolph for the Chicago retailer Montgomery Ward, as part of the store's Christmas festive fun for kids. The writer had struggled to think of a suitable Christmas theme for children.

He was said to have been inspired as he looked out of his office window one day at the thick fog that had risen from Lake Michigan. Suddenly, he had a moment of clarity and came up with the idea of a reindeer's bright red nose that shone through the fog and darkness like a beacon!

Rudolph's fame went way beyond Montgomery Ward's Christmas campaign and the little reindeer became an international icon known the world over.


What species are the reindeer?

People have often wondered what kind of reindeer pull Santa's sleigh. The general consensus is that they are full-size reindeer, called caribou in North America, as the sleigh would be pretty heavy to pull.

As Moore's 1823 poem described "eight tiny reindeer”, there has been speculation that the poem referred to the smaller native reindeer of Norway, the Svalbard reindeer - an animal only half the height of its North American relatives.

Today, Rudolph is so famous that he has inspired comics, children's books, animated TV shows and a film that have become popular among children all over the planet. It's customary to leave out not only a mince pie for Father Christmas to eat when he drops off the presents, but also some carrots for his reindeer too.

Some people leave out a glass of sherry for Santa, although other households leave milk, as they don't want him to be drinking alcohol when he's in charge of a reindeer-drawn flying sleigh!

Keep your animals comfortable and warm this Christmas with the help of Coruba's range of animal rubber matting, which improves comfort in stables and kennels, and saves on bedding costs. Give us a call on +44(0)1702 560194 for further information.

The Coruba team would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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