Now we wind down from the festivities of the holiday season, the time filled with decorating, gift-giving, spending time with loved ones and eating much more than you should!
There were so many things to do and prepare, so many things we need remember but the question I ask of you today is…
“Do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?”
There’s Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but it’s Rudolph who is arguably the most famous reindeer of all, with his bright red nose, illuminating the way for Santa’s sleigh in even the worst of all snowstorms.
Last Christmas season, I wrote a post on the story behind “The Night Before Christmas” poem and the origin of the names of Santa’s reindeer. Upon reflecting on that piece I became intrigued as to the origins of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and decided to do a little research.
Now, according to Wikipedia, Rudolph, in all his red-nosed glory, was created by writer Robert L. May in 1939. You see, May was commissioned by the Chicago-based retailer, Montgomery Ward, who had been giving away colouring books every Christmas season, in 1939 they decided it might be cheaper to create their own colouring book, this is where Robert L. May came in.
He came upon the idea when looking out his office window as the fog from Lake Michigan blocked his view, it suddenly hit him, a bright red nose that shone like a spotlight through the fog.
However, the story of the little red-nosed reindeer was initially rejected by publishers, as a red nose was seen as a sign of chronic alcoholism and therefore socially unacceptable as a children’s book character. However Robert L. May persisted with the idea, asking his friend Denver Gillen, an illustrator, to draw a cute reindeer using zoo deer as inspiration.
In it’s first year of publication, 2.4 million copies of Robert L. May’s charming Christmas story were distributed by the retailer. 2.4 Million!
This charming story has then evolved into many forms; including the famous song that was adapted from May’s original story in 1949 by his brother-in-law, Johnny Marks! Rudolph has since appeared in film, television, other story books, comic books, games and so on and is one most of the most recognised Christmas characters around the world.
So, whilst you might recall the most famous reindeer of all, can you name Santa’s other reindeer?
© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2018). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.