Clement Clarke Moore's poem "The Night Before Christmas," was written in New York in 1822 and believed to describe Santa's mode of transportation, a reindeer-driven sleigh, for the first time.
Moore claimed to have been the author of "A Visit from St. Nicholas," asserting that he wrote the poem for his own children and recited it to them on Christmas Eve 1822.
Santa's reindeer have a story and a history all of their own, one tied to the oldest indigenous culture in Northern Europe and accelerated by an American entrepreneur whose principal intention was, not delighting children around the world, but creating an appetite for what he hoped would become a mealtime staple beside the one of beef.
Santa’s reindeer originally came from the snowy arctic of northern Norway. Reindeer are a symbol of the way of life for the people there, the “Sami”. Sami are the oldest surviving indigenous people covering Norway, Finald, Sweden, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. They are very in tune with the tundra and move and guide huge herds of animals during the brutal winters. Maybe the best herders in the world.
Reindeer arrived in Alaska around the late 1800’s since many Inuit were starving due to commercial whale hunting. Reverand Sheldon Jackson, an Alaskan missionary was instrumental in bringing around 100 Sami and their reindeer over into Alaska for a source of food.
When the reindeer began to flourish, the Lomen Company (an American meatpacking industry founded in 1914 operating then in the "Territory of Alaska") entered the scene and saw the commercial benefits of selling reindeer meat.
The Thanksgiving Macy’s parade began in 1924 and in 1926 Lomen Company conceived of the idea of adding to the parade, Santa's sleigh being pulled by his reindeer along many Sami herders walking alongside in their vibrant traditional dress.
That's when the reindeer idea took off and similar parades were held in cities around the USA. Lomen Company even had fake children’s letters put in local newspapers with the children asking Santa and his reindeer to visit their towns. Unfortunately for Loman, the idea of eating reindeer meat never succeeded and they were forced out of the reindeer business.
However, Lomen's great marketing efforts
unleashed a worldwide love for Santa and his reindeer.
Ninth reindeer, Rudolph, The Red Nose Reindeer.
The most famous reindeer of all didn’t come to be until 1939.
Rudolph's first appearance was in a promotional coloring book published by
Montgomery Ward (USA chain department store) for the holidays. The Department store passed
these coloring books out via Santa to all the children shopping.
material was written by a copywriter Robert L. May. He drew inspiration for
the story from his own tale of growing up shy. In this famous short story, Rudolph is the odd one out, but what made
him “different” also made him useful and he saves Christmas!
It’s a classic ugly-duckling tale that immediately hit home with millions