Did you know
Do you stay up late on Christmas Eve hoping to hear sleigh bells in the sky coming closer and closer to your house? Will you hear the pitter-patter of hooves on your roof? Did you leave a glass of milk, a plate of cookies and a few carrots out for Santa’s reindeer? They have a lot of territory to cover in a short time and it takes a lot of energy!
Reindeer are domesticated animals, known as caribou when they are wild. Native to cold climates like Alaska, Northern Canada, Scandinavia, Russia and Iceland, reindeer have long since adapted to the cold. They are always on the move, covering up to 3,000 miles a year with those long, powerful legs. Antlers are found on both males and females and they have a strong sense of smell which helps them find their food under the snow. Thick, double layered coats keep them warm all year. Their noses are especially designed to warm the air before it gets to their lungs … a rosy glow is visible on many noses! Vegetarians, they live on lichen, leaves, mosses and fungi … 9-plus pounds a day! They are tremendous swimmers, crossing the wide Yukon River when they have to! Traveling and living in herds ranging from 10 to 500, they are the only deer to be widely domesticated … used as beasts of burden and farmed for their rich milk, meat and hides.
But Santa’s reindeer are special! They have been chosen by Santa himself and are treasured members of his staff, first mentioned in a small booklet written in 1821. Dependable, strong and filled with a sense of duty, they live at the North Pole and an amazing mythology has grown up around them. Santa’s reindeer have personality in abundance! Rudolph is a relatively new member of the team but he’s better than the GPS in your car!
Dasher is the oldest member of the team, Santa’s favorite and the acknowledged leader of the team. (He is also the official mascot of the United States Air Force Academy!) Dasher sets the route and the pace and there’s no arguing with him. Prancer leads morning exercise classes and is trying to introduce yoga. Comet is the fastest runner and once ran in a horse race wearing a hat to disguise her antlers … she was disqualified! Donner is a little forgetful and doesn’t always remember where he’s going. Dancer wears earphones, loves the Merengue and is learning the Samba. Vixen is very young but is a terrific Monopoly player. Blitzen plays pranks whenever he can and Cupid is the life of the party! So on Christmas Eve, dim the lights and snuggle down and let this frisky team get to work!
Linda Z. Lynch
WE WISH YOU A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON AND A
WONDERFUL NEW YEAR!