Why are Reindeer Associated with Christmas? Chainsaw Carving of Santa’s Rudolph & More

Reindeer are often associated with winter and especially Christmas. Though not everyone celebrates Christmas, many appreciate the majestic creatures of the Arctic. It seems now that reindeer have always been associated with Christmas traditions, but in actuality that hasn’t been the case. Today, we at Carve Me A Bear! Chainsaw Carvings would like to relate how reindeer become associated with Christmas and Santa’s sleigh.

Reindeer Symbolism of Christmas

Of all creatures there are, reindeer are the ones that got associated with Christmas. Reindeer have become a modern Christmas symbol just as images such as mistletoe, snowmen, and snowflakes are now used in Christmas decorations and holiday greeting cards. Unlike some of the Christmas symbols, reindeer are a real-life animal that are a type of deer species that inhabit the Arctic regions and are quite accustomed to living in cold and under rugged conditions, which is why they are so easily incorporated in the winter season, particularly Christmas.

Where Did the Idea of Santa’s Reindeer Come From?

A poem written by Clement Moor called “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, helped the reindeer popularity and then soon after the song “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” only strengthened the symbol. Talks of Santa Claus and his little sleigh, driven by eight flying reindeer written in the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, also known as “The Night Before Christmas.” Establishing the reindeer as a beloved symbol of the holidays because Moore’s poem was published annually during Christmas.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Created by Robert May in 1939 was Rudolph. Wanting a story they could use to promote the department store chain, May’s employer, Montgomery Ward, asked him to write a story. The Rudolph story was a booklet used specifically in a giveaway. The short tale became a hit among children. As a result, the Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer in tandem with the poem evolved reindeers into one of the most modern of Christmas symbols.

Reindeer Herding & Husbandry

Before the reindeer become a part of Santa’s family, reindeer were tied to the oldest indigenous culture in Northern Europe. Reindeer have been a symbol and a way of life for the Sami for thousands of years in the snowy Arctic of northern Norway. The Sami, Northern Europe’s oldest surviving indigenous people, live throughout Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. With the bulk of the reindeer population found in Kautokeino and Karasjok, Norway, about 10% of Samis still herd. The reindeer are herded up into the mountains for the long winter and brought down again in spring, even now. Through the work of an Alaskan missionary named Sheldon Jackson, reindeer first came to Alaska, via Siberia. Due to the commercial overfishing of whales for whale oil, in the mid-1800s, many Inuit were starving, as the whales were a source of their primary diet. Jackson turned to the idea of reindeer herding and husbandry as he become consumed with the idea finding an alternative food source for this culture.

Wood Animal Chainsaw Carvings & More in Las Vegas, Nevada, Helena, Montana & Nampa, Idaho

With Thanksgiving just passed, and Christmas soon to follow, many loved ones find themselves looking for an intriguing gift for a loved one. If your special someone has a soft spot for reindeer, gift them with an early present of a uniquely carved reindeer from Carve Me A Bear! Chainsaw Carvings so they have a great Christmas symbol to enjoy for the holiday season and beyond.