What About Dunder and Blixem?
The Strange History of Santa’s Reindeer
What’s in a name?
We all know reindeer visit our rooftops every Christmas Eve, but what brings them there? Follow the unique and complicated history of Santa’s reindeer to find out.
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, and Cupid were all brought to life by Moore, but have you ever heard of Dunder and Blixem? Though we now know the duo as Donner and Blitzen, Moore originally named them Dunder and Blixem — the Dutch words for thunder and lightning — but publishing companies wanted names that would rhyme better with the rest of the poem. Still, it was a few decades before Donner and Blitzen made their appearances in the version of the poem we know today.
A visit fromwho on what night?
In the 1820s, Clement Clarke Moore penned a holiday poem that became the foundation for a phenomenon still alive today. Commonly known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “A Visit From St. Nicholas” is a beloved story shared by every generation. It is in this poem that reindeer were first credited with powering Santa’s sleigh around the globe. Many popular songs, movies, and plays have preserved Moore’s vision of St. Nick, and his reindeer and their names are no exception. (Well, kind of.) Rudolph wouldn’t join the squad until a department store added him as part of their promotions in the 1930s.
who were longtime reindeer herders, made their passage from Norway to the U.S. with a herd of reindeer to invigorate the Alaskan landscape and help their native neighbors. Lomen saw the reindeer as an opportunity and partnered with the Macy’s department store company to create a promotional Christmas parade in which Santa, led by his reindeer, a sleigh, and Sami herders, were prominently featured. Lomen’s goal was to promote his massive reindeer conglomerate for the production and sale of reindeer meat. Instead, a holiday story was born.
Reindeer burgers, anyone?
Moore’s poem paved the way for Santa’s most famous form of transportation, but it was actually Carl Lomen, an Alaskan businessman, who mass- marketed reindeer as Santa’s companions. In the late 1890s, the Sami natives of Northern Europe,
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