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Why does Santa Claus use reindeer?

Updated: January 24, 2012 8:09AM



In order to traverse the entire world in a single night, Santa Claus needs some pretty fast transportation.

And although the sight of Santa tearing down your street in a Ferrari would be amusing, it’s just not his style. He prefers the company of reindeer. But why?

Well, much like most things we associate with Santa, this one probably comes from Clement C. Moore’s classic poem, “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” and, more specifically, the line “When, what to my wondering eye should appear/But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.”

But although Moore’s poem brought Santa’s reindeer worldwide fame, it probably wasn’t the first time Mr. Kringle had been associated with them.

“Before Moore published his poem, a number of less successful books had portrayed Santa flying around in a sleigh pulled by one reindeer,” said Meera Lester in the book “Why Does Santa Wear Red?: And 100 Other Christmas Curiosities Unwrapped.”

“This concept had long been popular in Russia, where Father Frost arrived in the villages in a reindeer-drawn sleigh.”

In his book “Were They Wise Men Or Kings?: The Book of Christmas Questions,” Joseph J. Walsh said using reindeers to travel just makes sense in snowy weather.

“Considering that Christmas is a winter holiday, it’s easy to imagine substituting a sleigh for a wagon (which Santa drove in other versions) and reindeer for horses, since polar bears and penguins are unsuited to pull a sleigh,” Walsh said.



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