December QUIZ: Answer!

Published: 06/01/2024 By Allan Fuller

December's Quiz Question was:  
Three of Santa's reindeer's names begin with the letter "D".  What are those names?
The number of reindeer characters, and the names given to them (if any) vary in different versions, but those frequently cited in the United States and Canada are the eight listed in Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, the work that is largely responsible for the reindeer becoming popularly known.  In the original poem, the names of the reindeer are given as Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem.
The popularity of Robert L. May's 1939 storybook Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Gene Autry's 1949 Christmas song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", resulted in Rudolph often being included as the ninth character.

The first reference to Santa's sleigh being pulled by a reindeer appears in "Old Santeclaus with Much Delight", an 1821 illustrated children's poem published in New York. The names of the author and the illustrator are not known. The poem, with eight coloured lithographic illustrations, was published by William B. Gilley as a small paperback book entitled The Children's Friend: A New-Year's Present, to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve. The illustration to the first verse features a sleigh with a sign saying "REWARDS" being pulled by an unnamed single reindeer.

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 modern Christmas lore that includes eight named reindeer as they appeared in the first publication of Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas in 1823.

The poem was first published in the Sentinel of Troy, New York, on 23 December 1823. All eight reindeer were named, the first six being Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and the final two "Dunder" and "Blixem" (meaning "thunder" and "lightning" in colloquial New York Dutch). 

The relevant part of the poem reads:

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!"

Quiz winner 
Congratulations to Sophie Mazzier, whose name was picked out of the hat to win December's Quiz - please email to arrange to collection/delivery of your bottle of champagne.