Two of the reindeer were originally given Dutch names, “Donder and Blixen” (Bliksem), meaning thunder and lightning. It is only modern publishers who have rechristened them with the German “Donner and Blitzen.”
The 1823 poem by Clement C. Moore “A Visit from St. Nicholas” also known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” is largely credited for the contemporary Christmas lore that includes eight named reindeer.
The relevant segment of the poem reads:
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
with a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen!
“On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Dunder and Blixem!
“To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
“Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew.
As For Santa Coca Cola Their Red Santa happened in 1931. Archie Lee, the ad agency creative director for the Coca-Cola account, was inspired to show a wholesome, kind Santa. He turned to artist Haddon Sundblom to create the image.