What Are The Names of Santa’s 12 Reindeers? (List and Personalities)

What Are The Names of Santa's 12 Reindeers

Have you ever wondered what are the names of Santa´s 12 reinders?

Santa Claus is a timeless Christmas tradition that spans generations, borders, and cultures. In many classic versions of the tale of Santa Claus, he rides in a magical flying sleigh that is pulled by reindeer that can fly.

Each of those reindeer has a specific name, and in many versions of the story, Santa calls them all by name before flying off into the winter twillight.

What Are the Names of Santa’s 12 Reindeers?

Santa has eight or nine reindeer (depending on if you count Rudolph or not). Their names are:

  • Dasher
  • Dancer
  • Prancer
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • Donner
  • Blitzen
  • Rudolph.

In no commonly recognized version of the story does Santa Claus have 12 reindeer pulling his sleigh. The names we use for the reindeer come from poetry and songs that have become part of the “Christmas canon.”

How Many Reindeer Does Santa Have

So, how many reindeer does Santa have? In recent years, it has been pointed out that Santa has a total of nine reindeers and also that all of the reindeer must be female as the males lose their antlers in the winter.

Where Do We Get the Names for Santa’s Reindeer?

Most of the names for Santa’s Reindeer come from the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clark Moore. The poem is also commonly recognized, and sometimes even published, by its first line, “’Twas the night before Christmas….”

The names for Santa’s Reindeer that we use from this poem come from the lines that read:

“And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

‘Now, Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!”

That poem is read around the world commonly on Christmas Eve. Its popularity has solidified the names of Santa’s first eight reindeer.

The other reindeer usually included in modern times is Rudolph. Johnny Marks wrote the song “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and Gene Autry released it in 1949. It is now one of the most beloved classic Christmas songs.

The song paraphrases “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and lists Santa’s original eight reindeer. Then it asks, “But do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all?” and proceeds to tell the story of a red-nosed reindeer who saves Christmas by guiding Santa Claus’s sleigh through a foggy night.

There have been numerous films about Rudolph, and many people have written parody songs in a similar style. This acceptance in popular culture solidified Rudolph as one of Santa’s Reindeer.

All Santa’s Reindeer! Names of all the Reindeer! >> Check out the video below:

The Meaning of the Names of the Reindeer

Many of the reindeer have meanings associated with their names. Comet is likely reminiscent of a comet shooting across the sky, just as the reindeer does when pulling Santa’s sleigh. Cupid is named after the winged God of Love.

Donner and Blitzen’s names have actually changed from the original poem. In the original poem, Donner and Blitzen were known as “Dunder” and “Blixem.” Those are the Dutch words for “thunder” and “lightning.”

Because a publisher spoke German rather than Dutch, the names evolved into “Donner” and “Blitzen,” which are the German words for “thunder” and “lightning.”

Dasher originally comes from the German word “Dascher,” which means “purse-maker.” Dasher also suggests this reindeer is fast, as “to dash” in English means to run quickly.

Other Names for the Reindeer

We have grown to accept the names of Santa’s reindeer from “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”

However, over time other storytellers have added their own names for Santa’s famous reindeer.

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

L. Frank Baum is most famous for writing “The Wizard of Oz,” which has sparked countless other musical and film adaptations.

Did you know that he also wrote a novel about Santa Claus? In 1902, L. Frank Baum published “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus,” which has subsequently been adapted to a television movie, anime, and graphic novel.

The book explains another look at the origin of Santa Claus and how he became the myth that he is today. It also offers a different name for Santa’s reindeer.

In L. Frank Baum’s novel, Santa’s reindeer follow the paired, rhyming scheme that we see in the more common names. The names are Flossie, Glossie, Racer, Pacer, Fearless, Pearless, Ready, Steady, Speckless, and Feckless.

Baum’s version, as you can see, has ten reindeer rather than the traditional eight (nine, including Rudolph).

In the novel, Glossie and Flossie are the main reindeer responsible for pulling the sleigh.

Olive the Other Reindeer

Another reindeer that is sometimes included with Santa’s nine is Olive. Olive also draws her inspiration from the famous song about Rudolph.

The line “All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names” can also be heard as “Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names.”

Some parodies have developed and counted Olive as a tenth reindeer, who would be paired with Rudolph when pulling the sleigh.

Old Santleclaus’s Single Reindeer

In 1821, in New York, William B. Gilley published a children’s book by an unknown author that told several Christmas stories.

In this version, there is a drawing of “Old Santleclaus” riding in a sleigh. A single, unnamed reindeer tows the sleigh.

Leroy the Redneck Reindeer

In 1995, country artist Joe Diffie released a parody to “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” called “Leroy the Redneck Reindeer.

It tells the story of when Rudolph was too sick to pull Santa’s sleigh, so he called his cousin Leroy who helped guide it with his pickup truck and overalls.

Leroy is not usually counted in the “Christmas canon” when people are naming Santa’s reindeer, but he shows that the names of Santa’s reindeer are flexible and commonly drawn upon for popular culture.

Annabelle’s Wish

“Annabelle’s Wish,” tells the story of a beloved calf that befriends a boy who cannot speak. The cow is given the ability to speak on Christmas each year, and she becomes close with the boy.

She helps him gain confidence and uses Santa’s magic to give him back his voice.

At the end of the film, Annabelle wants to be one of Santa’s reindeer, and he finally grants her wish, giving her the ability to fly and speak.

Santa Claus is Watching You

The 1993 song “Santa Claus is Watching You” by Ray Stevens offers additional names for Santa’s reindeer. In the third portion of the song, he lists all of Santa’s classic reindeer, and then he adds fifteen of his own.

The reindeer that Ray Stevens adds are Bruce, Marvin, Cletus, George, Bill, Slick, Do-Right, Clyde, Ace, Blackie, Queenie, Prince, Spot, and Rover.

The Movie

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: the movie expands on the North Pole, and the reindeer found there.

When diving into this movie universe, you will find many other reindeer who are involved in the plots and stories and directly involved with Santa Claus, even if they don’t pull the sleigh.

Some of these additional reindeer include Arrow, Zoey, and Mrs. Prancer.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus >> Check out the video below:


Santa does not have 12 reindeer in most versions of the story. Generally, we accept that Santa Claus has eight or nine reindeer.

The reindeer’s names are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph.

The origin of those names comes from the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas) and the song “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Throughout popular culture, many parodies and alternate versions of the Santa Claus story have been shared. Those alternate versions may add to the nine reindeer or change the names entirely.




Jessica Gilmour

Jessica is co-founder of RV and Playa and loves sharing her enthusiasm for the Beach- and RVing lifestyle. As a full-time RVer since December 2017, Jessica playful writing style helps make learning about RV a bit more interesting. Nothing is as freeing as being on the beach (Playa), lacing your feet with the sand, having the water lap your legs and becoming one with nature.

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