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All About Santa's Reindeer: Names and Personalities
There are Santa’s reindeer, and then there are Santa’s reindeer. What are they like? Are they mischievous? Are they funny?
Clement C. Moore used secretive means to reveal the names of eight reindeer in his poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas." But once the world found out, people began to make songs about them, and Santa started using their names every time he took off in the sled.
How Many Reindeer Does Santa Have?
Traditionally, there are eight reindeer (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen). Rudolph is the ninth addition (made famous by the song about his red nose). And then there's Olive, the other reindeer.
What are these reindeer like, and what do they do during their time off? Find out more about their histories and personalities below.
Are Santa's Reindeer Female or Male?
Santa's reindeer are typically portrayed as male in pop culture (Rudolph is referred to as a "him" in the song), but according to two professors at the University of Edinburgh, Santa's reindeer are actually all female because male reindeer shed their antlers during the winter, while female reindeer retain their antlers, and Santa's reindeer are always depicted with antlers. Male reindeer also lose nourishment and vitality during the winter months, so only the females are strong and healthy enough to pull a sleigh full of toys and a 260-lb. man.
Quick Look at All the Reindeer
He loves to go fast!
All kinds of dance
A bit vain, though affectionate
Handsome and easy-going
Good with kids
Bringing people together
Fast as a bolt!
Can electrify others
A little down on himself
Admits when she's wrong
Good at hide-and-go-seek
Dasher: The Speed Demon
Who hasn't heard of Dasher?
He’s one of the fastest reindeer in Santa’s herd. He’s always ready to dash out the door. For that reason, he excels at track and field during the off-season.
After his yearly tenure at the North Pole, he might find himself at a high school track and field meet, trying to run the 800-yard dash. You can bet he’s usually the first to finish.
“Dasher” originally came from a German name, Dascher, meaning "purse-maker." Whoa! He can sew! One has to wonder if he is the Father of the Modern Handbag.
Are You Like Dasher?
- loves to be social
- good at sports; prefers track and field
- doesn't mind the cold
- aware of fashion
- loves to party
- has a big heart
Dancer: The Salsa Phenom
Dancer is a reindeer with a unique personality. He’s completely extroverted. When he’s not helping Santa, he’s having dance parties.
His favorite genre is Latin music due to its strong rhythm. He would be happy to dance with Enrique Iglesias.
Since dancing is his passion, he knows the tango, salsa, and merengue and even has ventured into contra- and square-dancing. Do-si-do-ing can be a little difficult, but he likes it.
Plus, you’ll never find him without a bell around his neck, as he never hesitates to indulge in pomp and circumstance.
Are You Like Dancer?
- has good hand-eye-foot coordination
- great at dance moves
- loves wearing colorful clothes
- popular among the elves
- loves eating popcorn
- loves a celebration
- loves to go to the movies with friends
Prancer: The Fairest of Them All
Prancer loves the other reindeer and would do anything for them.
But he also loves to carry a mirror to gaze at himself on the sleigh every now and then. He has to look his best all the time because he never quite knows who he’s going to meet.
Mrs. Claus made him a special reindeer harness that is red and green with extra attachments for his mirror, comb, and brush.
He often is found in the elves’ factory, prancing around gracefully with all the other reindeer, elves, and helpers cheering him on.
Are You Like Prancer?
- always is sure to look great
- loves his accessories
- great at baking (especially mint-flavored cookies)
- absolutely loyal
- has high energy
- totally thinks out loud
- favorite song: "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town"
Vixen: The Most Enchanting Reindeer
Vixen is the comedic reindeer known for lots of magic tricks. The other reindeer often get slightly annoyed with his ability to make things disappear and reappear.
He’s great at tricking the other reindeer out of their candy canes. He also has a weakness for yummy Santa-shaped chocolates.
Santa loves Vixen’s tricks because they really come in handy on Christmas Eve. That bag of toys is quite large, and that chimney is quite small . . .
Are You Like Vixen?
- very smart
- loves to be the center of attention
- cool, calm, and collected
- everyone likes to confide in him
- gifted at magic tricks
- loves to help others, especially Santa
- often runs late
Comet: An All-Around Wonderful Reindeer
Comet is out of this world—as his name implies. He’s quite handsome and is always smiling. He’s easy-going and loves to play ball with all the young fawns.
All the children of the world seem to look up to him. Santa, of course, loves this about Comet.
In the days before Christmas, Santa will head out with Comet to check his list and see how children all around the world are doing. When they see Comet, they flock to pet him because he’s quite adorable and so laid-back.
He just loves the attention the children shower upon him. Plus, he inspires little children to be on their best behavior.
Are You Like Comet?
- loves to make people laugh
- incredibly smart
- laid back
- likes flexibility
- once he makes up his mind to do something, he'll get it done
- always willing to lend a helping hand
- loves honesty and playing fair
Cupid: Loves Sharing Love
Cupid is an affectionate reindeer. She has Christmas reins decorated with red and green little heart-shaped bells. Her motto is “Spread the Love.”
She often carries mistletoe sprigs and mysteriously places them all around peoples’ entryways at Christmastime. That way, people don’t forget to hug and kiss during the season.
She’s always singing, too. The other reindeer roll their eyes when she begins singing “Joy to the World” for the thousandth time.
She also makes appearances on Valentine’s Day, showering people with red hearts.
Are You Like Cupid?
- favorite colors are red and green
- loves jazzy Christmas music
- really good at finding mistletoe
- really good with bows and arrows
- cannot stand it when a friend is sad and will do anything to help
- loves helping Santa eat his cookies and milk
- has a sweet tooth but also likes a good, crunchy carrot
Donner: Always a Party
Donner’s name comes from “thunder” in German. This is for good reason. He’s always noticed when entering a room because he’s got a deep, booming, baritone voice.
He loves to sing those low notes. His joyous renditions of “Santa Baby” makes all the reindeerettes swoon. “Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” always receive high marks and rowdy applause from his fellow reindeer.
He loves hanging out with Blitzen, too. Together, they can really belt out some dynamic duets.
Are You Like Donner?
- loves to take charge
- loves to sing and loves jazz music
- very creative
- very close to a couple of reindeer friends, like Blitzen
- loves a good debate
- hums Christmas songs a lot, even while flying
- prefers dark chocolate