Santa’s Reindeer Names

Bernice

Bernice

Published: 16 Nov 2021

Modified: 17 Nov 2021

santa and his reindeers

Here we have the complete list of Santa’s reindeer names. This list includes the meaning and characterizations of each of Santa Claus’ reindeer. Names, personalities, origin stories are also included. After all, how could we not be curious about the names of these creatures that help Santa deliver presents? Everybody, regardless of their religion or place in this world, has heard of Christmas. It’s one of those major holidays that the entire human population celebrates, or at least hears about. Kids, who live in tropical weathered countries, even ask their parents “are reindeer real?” because of the famous Christmas deers that pull Santa and his sleigh up above the sky.

Of course, real reindeer don’t fly up in the sky and can travel all around the world in one night. If you’ve seen pictures of reindeers, you would know that they look docile. Reindeer merchandise, such as reindeer slippers, sweaters, and even TV shows, are always shown during the holidays. But what is the name of Santa’s reindeer that lights up his way? Or better yet, what are all their names?

List of Santa's Reindeer Names in Order
Image source: Flickr
Table of Contents

The Origin of Santa’s Reindeer

Before we go to the list of Santa’s reindeer names, we should first know the origins of Santa’s reindeer. The relationship with the famous “Santa sleigh” and reindeer began with “A visit from St. Nicholas” poem from 1823. Santa’s reindeer (and reindeer alone) symbolize safe travels and endurance because of their ability to keep people safe during their winter travels.

How many reindeer are there? The rangifer tarandus was split into two subspecies: caribou and the reindeer, with their difference being the other one was domesticated.

List of Santa’s Reindeer Names in Order

santa reindeer names

So what are Santa’s reindeer’s names? Here we have all the names of all the famous Christmas reindeer that pull Santa with their magical flying powers, their personality, the meaning of their names, and reindeer pictures in between.

Dasher

Dasher the reindeer is the fastest of Santa’s reindeer. Santa originally placed Dasher as the last in the line, a high honor, as he was the one leading the crew on their mission to send presents. The problem with Dasher was that he moved too quickly, not noticing that the rest of the group was struggling or too tired to continue. He is said to brag often about his speed, and confidently skips training.

Dasher is a term used to describe a flamboyant or loud person. At the same time, to dash is to travel haphazardly. Both these definitions fit Dasher well with his overconfident personality and gift of speed.

Dancer

Out of all on the list of Santa’s reindeer names, Dancer is the most graceful. She is said to be very talented in dancing and loves to perform for her fellow reindeers and other audiences. She was even invited to form a contract in a broadway but chose the job to be with Santa, as it was her dream.

Her twin is Prancer, and despite her gentle movements, Dancer is strong enough to pull the sled on her own. In order to work for Santa, she graduated from the Reindeer Aviation Academy.

Prancer

Just like Dancer, Prancer was originally thought to be a boy. Both Prancer’s male and female counterparts are incredibly vain. Santa has had to pry her away from the mirror as she constantly preens herself and polishes her horns. Prancer is often seen beside Dancer, who is tasked by Santa to watch over her during their travels.

To prance is to move in an exaggerated or energetic way. A prancer, by definition, is a passionate horse. The word prancing is also a synonym for frolicking. Prancer’s personality fits her name well, as she is often distracted by her own image.

Vixen

Vixen is a rather strange reindeer name, but fits this deer quite nicely. She is described as one of the most beautiful looking reindeers and was even on the cover of a fictional magazine called Reindeer Monthly as “the most beautiful reindeer of all time.” Vixen is also called the Pioneer. Before scientists concluded the real gender of all of Santa’s reindeer, Vixen was thought to be the only female. This made her work harder than any of the other reindeer.

Cupid, a fellow reindeer of Santa, is head over heels for Vixen. He finds her personality and elegance alluring when flying. Vixen is aware of Cupid’s feelings and enjoys the attention. The name Vixen suits her because it means a spirited woman, particularly a voluptuous one.

Comet

Comet enjoys staring at the stars and always has her head above the clouds. She’s considered the ditz of the group but in truth, is more of a starry-eyed dreamer. Despite being teased, Comet is actually a very intelligent reindeer.

What’s so special about Comet is that her male counterpart’s personality is completely different. Before it was discovered that she was a female, the male Comet was described as noble and loyal. Unlike the female Comet, the male version is considered the strongest, and named after a flying comet during his birth.

Cupid

Among the list of Santa’s reindeer names, Cupid is the most unlikely fit of the group. Deer names are not usually so human-like (take Bambi, for example.) All the reindeer names remain special, though. And Cupid is no different. Cupid is the name of the god of erotic love. The Roman god Cupid was in love with Psyche and was sometimes depicted as an evil god who made people suffer from unrequited feelings.

This is the same for Cupid who suffers from being in love with Vixen, the beautiful reindeer of the group. Santa himself had to separate them because Cupid kept getting distracted, causing Santa to crash often. Cupid was born on Valentine’s Day and loves matchmaking. He’s also eager to talk about his talents often.

Donner

There are only two reindeer names that changed over time in this list of Santa’s Reindeer names. Donner was also known as Dunder during her younger years. Both names mean thunder in German and Dutch, respectively. She is sometimes portrayed as the wife of the male, Blitzen. As the mother of the group, she often cooks for the crew to make sure they are well fed before the journey. At the same time, Donner constantly strives to change herself for the better. She’s never content with just one version of herself. This helps her improve every day.

Blitzen

Just like Donner, Blitzen was once called Blixem. Both names mean lightning in German and Dutch, respectively. Before the gender reveal, Blitzen was a male reindeer who was married to Donner. The two acted as the parental figures of the crew. They say that Blitzen was often struck with lightning so many times but remained tough and supportive of the crew through the harshest of storms.

Both Blitzen’s female and male counterparts are confident, courageous, and always take care of the crew. Blitzen makes sure that all the reindeer are clean and proper. His confidence is shown as being unbothered despite being the last in line.

Rudolph

All the reindeer names here are special, but the most famous one of them all is Rudolph. Reindeers that pulled Santa across the sky needed light to see through the darkness. With the help of Rudolph’s glowing red nose, it was not that difficult to navigate across the starry sky.

Rudolph was originally ostracized by the reindeer crew. They excluded him from the fun games and made fun of his bright red nose. Rudolph was introduced in Christmas 1939 as a celebrated hero for guiding Santa through the snowstorm. There was a bit of jealousy on the part of Dasher who was the last reindeer before Rudolph, but eventually enjoyed being second-in-command to the skilled Rudolph. The song “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” tells this story.

Rudolph the rest nose reindeer,List of Santa's Reindeer Names
Image source: Publicdomainpictures.net

How many reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh?

How many reindeer does Santa have? Sometimes they say only eight reindeer pull Santa Claus’ sleigh, while others clearly remember Santa’s 12 reindeers. So how many reindeer does Santa have? The genuine answer is 8 or 9 (if you count Rudolph.) In the original poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas (which is commonly known as The Night Before Christmas), there were only eight reindeer.

The reason why some people believe there are more than nine reindeer is because of the 1902 short story by Frank Baum. In “The Life and Adventure of Santa Claus” the reindeers are given completely different names such as Ready, Steady, Flossie, Glossie, Fearless, Peerless, Feckless, Speckless, Racer, and Pacer.

Are Santa’s reindeer female?

Do female reindeers have antlers? Yes, and this is also the reason we can answer this question. The female reindeer actually grow antlers compared to other deers. This is one indicator that Rudolph and his buddies are actually all females. Female reindeer antlers are used to battle, protect, and scavenge for food during their pregnancy. It’s pretty ironic, given some names of the reindeer are masculine compared to the other ones.

According to scientists, male reindeers shed their antlers during the Winter season. Meanwhile, the females grow thinner antlers in replace of their thicker ones. Depictions of Santa’s reindeer always show them to have antlers during Christmas. Therefore, if we go by the behavior and their development in our world, Rudolph and the gang are all females.

List of Santa's Reindeer Names
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Conclusion

So did you enjoy learning what are the names of reindeer and their background? We hope you did. Whether it’s learning more about Santa, reindeer names, or even just the general knowledge of both, we can’t argue the importance of these beloved deers regarding most children’s childhood holidays. In the spirit of Christmas, let’s also be aware that reindeer are actually endangered and are at a risk because of climate change. If we hope to save these beautiful creatures, we would need to find a solution and pass on the knowledge regarding how to save them.