Christmas 2009

Christmas card

Christmas card investigating the name origins of the traditional Santa Claus’ Reindeer. The card folds out into a mini poster, with an illustration of a reindeer, using the negative space of its antlers to create a lightning bolt. Text reads:

Santa Claus’ Reindeer

The original eight flying reindeer who pulled Santa Claus’ sleigh were first named in the poem ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’ published in 1823 and known more commonly now as ‘The Night Before Christmas’.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
‘Now, Dasher!, now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
‘On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Dunder and Blixem!’

As the poem has been re-published over the decades, many small changes have been made by editors to improve rhyming, flow, and to keep the language up to date.

The name Dunder became Donder, and now Donner; similarly Blixem became Blixen, then Blitzen.

The original author of the poem is disputed but current theory puts it with Henry Livingston, Jr.; his Dutch heritage would certainly account for the names Dunder and Blixem, which translate from the Dutch as… Thunder and Lightning.

Fold out poster

Card inside