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Reindeer Names

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What are the names of Santa's Reindeer? What is the origin of the Reindeer names? Is there any meaning behind the names of Santa's Reindeer? These are the kinds of questions that might pass through your mind on a snowy winter evening as you pass the time, anxiously awaiting the clip-clop of Reindeer hooves on your rooftop.

Santa Claus has nine Reindeer: eight that were named by Clement Clarke Moore in his famous poem The Night Before Christmas, and one who got his Reindeer name after playing Reindeer games the Robert L. May story that later became a song.

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So what are the Reindeer names, and where do they come from? Here's the list.


The name Dasher can mean either "a dashing person,"[1] meaning well-dressed and well-mannered, or it can mean "one who dashes," meaning one who moves with sudden speed.[1] Since Santa seems to be very concerned with speed in the poem, it's safe to say that Dasher fits the quick-moving definition.

Dasher is also an alternate spelling of the German surname Dascher, which means "purse-maker."[1] Are we sure that it's just elves working in that North Pole factory?


A Dancer is simply, "one who dances." The name was probably chosen to convey a sense of grace and nimbleness on the part of Santa's flying Reindeer.[1]


To prance means to "spring from the hind legs," or to "move in a spirited manner."[1] Both good qualities in a flying Reindeer. Again, this name conveys quickness and grace.


According to Merriam-Webster, a Vixen may be 1) an ill-tempered woman, 2) a female fox, or 3) an attractive woman.[1] While it's possible that Vixen was the hot young thing of the Reindeer troupe, the name probably comes from definition #2, a fox. Foxes are known for their quickness and grace, which makes the name fit right in with Dancer and Prancer.[1]


A comet is a small celestial object that orbits through the solar system, displaying a nice beautiful long tail. They travel through space at more than 100,000 kilometers per second.[1] This name has several things going for it. First of all, it's a flying object. Second, it's beautiful, as of course a flying Reindeer should be. Third, it's fast. Real fast. A perfect Reindeer name.


Cupid was the Roman god of romantic love and beauty.[1] Is Cupid hooking up with Vixen on the off-season? Sounds like Reindeer games to me...

The god Cupid has wings. He flies, and he's beautiful. He fits in fine with the other Reindeer.


The name Donner means "thunder" in German.[1] In the original text, this Reindeer's name was Dunder, the Dutch form of "thunder." The variation Donder also shows up, but they all mean the same thing.[1] The spelling may have been changed to fit with American pronunciation of the name.[1]


The name Blitzen is German for "lightning."[1] Donner and Blitzen? Thunder and lightning. Quick, beautiful and powerful. Blitzen was originally spelled Blixem, and sometimes appears as Blixen or Bliksem.[1] The spelling Blixen may have come about to make the name rhyme better with Vixen.[1]

"Dunder en Blixem" was also a common Dutch phrase at the time, which literally meant "thunder and lightning" but idiomatically meant "hurry up!" There has been speculation that originally there were in fact only 6 Reindeer, and that the line of the poem that said "Dunder and Blixem" was an order from Santa for the 6 Reindeer to move faster.[1]


The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer came into being in 1939 when writer Robert L. May created the story for the Montgomery Ward store. He knew he needed an R-name to go with Reindeer, and he almost picked the names Rollo and Reginald before settling on Rudolph.[1] Rudolph was popularized by Johnny Marks who turned it into the song we all know and love.

The name Rudolph is of German origin and means "famous wolf." A great name for the most famous Reindeer of all.


We can't forget Olive, the other Reindeer. The line in "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" that says "all of the other Reindeer..." is sometimes misheard as "Olive, the other Reindeer."[1] In 1997, author Vivian Walsh wrote a children's book featuring a Jack Russell Terrier as Olive, the other Reindeer.[1] The book was made into a film in 1999.[1] Maybe someday, Olive will be just as much a part of the Reindeer story as Rudolph and Blitzen.


I bet the last thing you're wondering about Reindeer names is how exactly we're going to fit in a reference to, domain names, or our phenomenal web hosting? Well, we just did!

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