The Tales of Santa's Reindeer (Notes)

The Tales of Santa's Reindeer (Notes)

A Story by R-Gii
"

Rather than an actual writing, this is more of a series of notes on an idea I'm brainstorming for a series about Santa's Reindeer.

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We know Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen, but do we ACTUALLY know any of these reindeer at all?
Sure we know them by name, but do we know them as actual individuals, or do we just know them as the 8 other reindeer that have fallen behind in Rudolph's shadow.
Now that's not to say Rudolph is not an excellent reindeer, we all love him, and for good reason, but each of the other reindeer are also excellent in their own right, and have their own stories to tell. And since Rudolph still has around twelve years until he enters Public Domain, this gives us plenty of time to explore the lives and stories of the other reindeer as we await his arrival.
So, what I'm proposing is a series of some sort exploring the origins of each of Santa's reindeer, and how they came to join his team, also exploring the origin of Santa Claus and how Christmas has evolved through the ages as seen through the eyes of his trusty reindeer.
Because this is a collection of notes, and the ideas are still developing, this work may not be complete at the moment, and I may frequently come back here to make changes. In a way I'm hoping this can serve as a decent pitch for what I think has the potential to be an amazing series about the reindeer that have been so commonly overlooked.

Dasher
Dasher was Saint Nicholas' original reindeer and friend. But before he was a reindeer, he was just an ordinary horse living with Nicholas on the Mediterranean in the third century AD. He is fiercely loyal, and very levelheaded, often resolving disputes, and serving Saint Nicholas well as he brings gifts to those less fortunate than himself.
According to historical records, it seems that Saint Nicholas may have faced heavy persecution in his life due to Christianity. During this time, Dasher never gives up on Saint Nicholas, and may have even helped him escape from prison.
As they escape to the North, they wind up in the frozen wastelands, the weather there is too intense for Dasher, and he ends up dying wrapped in Santa's coat.
But all is not over, for in his death, a mysterious figure meets with him and sends him back, reincarnated as a reindeer, a species better suited for this far northern weather, to once again serve Saint Nicholas on his journey to become who he's destined to become.

Dancer
Dancer is a reindeer who grew up in the cold north of Northern Norway, and is a lifelong friend of Dasher. She has dreams of dancing, as her name suggests, and has very high hopes for the future. But she is also practical. She tries to be helpful to others in anyway she can, but she also has hesitations taking leaps of faith in directions that may not lead anywhere.
When Dasher feels the call of his past life to return to Saint Nicholas, she reluctantly follows, not sure whether to trust his feelings, but also unwilling to let him go off into the unknown on his own.
Once reunited with Saint Nicholas, Dancer decides to follow them further into the North, despite her reservations, putting faith in the hope that there is something out there for them.
It is in the furthest reaches of the North where they encounter Beaivi, the Sami Goddess of the Sun, the Deer Mother, who every year on the Winter Solstice leads a team of reindeer to carry the power of the Sun in their antlers to once again return light to the world.
Seeing the kindness in Saint Nicholas' heart, she has chosen him to be her successor in the changing world. With this, she grants his reindeer a part of her power, allowing them to fly, speak with humans, and to Dasher the ability to retain their antlers through the winter months, something that usually only pertains to the female of the species (This causes Dasher a slight panic to say the least).
With their new gifts, they are tasked to travel even further North to the furthest reaches of the world, and the North Pole.

Prancer
Prancer is and enthusiast, a Christmas enthusiast, a life enthusiast. Everywhere she goes, she brings with her the joy of the season, and the true spirit of Christmas. But her enthusiasm can also lead her to be impractical at times, putting faith in things that maybe she shouldn't, and trusting those that may betray her. But it is also this faith that can carry her on even when the others have no hope.
Joining the team on their way to the North Pole, it is Prancer who never gives up even when the others no longer have the strength to continue.
It is at the end of their journey that they finally uncover the North Pole and all the magic it has to give; it is here Saint Nicholas builds his workshop and meets the elves who make the gifts for the children of the world. Through all the mythology and the transformation of Christmas through the ages, it is here with Prancer that we begin to see Santa become the person we know him as today.

Norsen
Before Vixen, there was another reindeer you may not know about, Norsen. Norsen was a reindeer who was very close to Prancer's heart, but he did not see Christmas in the same way the other reindeer did. While the other reindeer believe Christmas is a time for hope and inspiration, to encourage kids to become the best they can be, Norsen believes that only through proper discipline can children grow to turn their back on their darker natures.
But Santa and the other reindeer reject Norsen's way of thinking, while not all children will turn out to be good, it's not their place to bring punishment to the children, they are out to inspire them without judgement.
It is sometimes around the 5th century, Santa uses his reindeer to travel from place to place giving out presents to children in small towns and villages across Northern Europe. It is in Germany where Norsen encounters another dark figure, Krampus, a dark parallel to Santa, who punishes children who do bad on Christmas rather than reward them. Believing that one must use the dark to bring out the light, Norsen sacrifices himself to Krampus as a loyal subject, shedding his magical antlers, and losing who he is in the process.
With Norsen at his side, Krampus finally has the power to become Santa's true rival, and out of all the reindeer, none of them is more broken by this betrayal than Prancer.
Defeated by this loss, Santa finally steps back to reevaluate his methods.

Vixen
Vixen can be described as a bit rambunctious. Having been raised by foxes, she shares many fox traits, but also those of reindeer as well. She is very outspoken about the way she thinks things should be and can sometimes be impatient when things don't go fast enough. While her attitude may sometimes be a bit much for the other reindeer, she is usually well meaning and finds acceptance among the other reindeer.
Even so, she can get into a bit of trouble. While trying to help Prancer recover from the betrayal of Norsen, Vixen does something that winds her up on Krampus' Naughty List. As Krampus tries to terrorize Vixen, the other reindeer come to her aid and defend her. Through this, Vixen has a true change of heart, and Krampus realizes that Santa has been effective, giving good kids something to look forward to. He now sees this as a challenge.
KRAMPUS: Who would've ever guessed that their entitlement to the gifts you bring would keep them in line, that even the absence of something they feel they deserve can be seen as a punishment when they want it bad enough. For now you have accomplished what even I could not. But you need to maintain your place young Saint Nicholas, for if you don't, I will come back.
It is through this Santa creates the Naughty and Nice list. While he can never support hurting children as Krampus would, he comes to realize that not all children will always be good, and that not all children can always be rewarded regardless of circumstances, and that for better or for worse, it's best to let the children decide who they are going to be, and sometimes the only thing Santa can do is to step away.
In hopes of countering Krampus' dark power over the world, Santa expands his operation, giving gifts to kids all throughout the known world in one night, bringing good kids hope and joy even in the darkest of winter's nights.

Comet
Comet's story though goes all the way back, before any of the other reindeer, to the very first Christmas of all.
Before Comet was a reindeer, he was first, as his name suggests, a comet, or otherwise, a star. Back in the ancient days of the Roman Empire, it was Comet who lit up the sky, lighting the way to Bethlehem where a young Messiah had been born.
But showing the way wasn't enough for Comet, he wanted to see this child for himself. But in order to do so, he had to come down and forfeit his place in the sky forever. Still, it was a worthy sacrifice to see who he knew would be the savior to the world.
Centuries later, Comet has become just a regular reindeer, part of a sled team carrying goods through the snows of the North. He is easy going, and never regrets his choice; he is quiet, but enjoys the company of others. Still, having spent most his existence as a star, even after all these centuries, he's still not naturally attuned to the social interactions of his fellow Earthlings, and sometimes lacks the mannerisms that some may consider proper, but still, he's happy.
Santa Claus, having heard tales of this reindeer who gave up his place in the sky to see the young Messiah, is inspired, and sets out to find Comet. We he does, he invites Comet onto the team, knowing that his spirit would go on to inspire the kids of the world as Comet's story inspired him.

Cupid
Cupid is a ladies man, he'd rather do nothing all day than live his life and flirt with all the lady reindeer he can find. Unfortunately, this does not go well with Vixen when he finds himself on part of Santa's team. While Prancer is flattered by Cupid's personality, Vixen indicates she wants nothing to do with it.
That's okay, Cupid is up for a challenge when it comes to impressing the ladies.
But as he travels with them, with some helpful, but nonjudgemental advice from Dancer, Cupid begins to see her for her individual qualities, and not just a hot doe to flirt with.
Ultimately, Cupid and Vixen get split off from the group in some way, and it becomes up to them to save the day (Some Christmas legend should probably be involved that is TBD), and they both gain a new respect for each other in the process.
In the end, they both win, Cupid has managed to win over the doe, but it is through coming to appreciate Vixen as the individual she has been all along.

Donner
Donner's story takes place sometime in Medieval Germany. Unlike the other Reindeer, Donner is more quiet and thoughtful. While she appreciates the other reindeer, oftentimes she'd rather be left to her own thoughts. She also struggles a bit with self-consciousness, because her name is more masculine, she's often worried she'll be perceived as a buck rather than the doe that she is. While she can get a bit irritable when things go wrong, instead of making a major fuss like Vixen might, she'd rather go to a quiet place to rethink things in her own way.
Her story is still TBD, but it will likely take her through 18th Century Russia.

Blitzen
Blitzen begins his story around the year 1822 as a North American Reindeer, better known as a Caribou. He is a bit hardheaded and temperamental, but this is usually a cover for a lack of self-confidence and a fear of not fitting in.
When given a chance to join Santa's reindeer, with the exception of Prancer, who takes an immediate liking to him, his temperament clashes heavily with the other reindeer, and it is finally decided he is not a good fit for the team.
From there, Blitzen sets out to prove himself. But after failing again and again, he only finds himself getting more and more frustrated, losing more and more confidence in himself. Given another chance to join Santa's team, he once again is unable to prove himself good enough.
It is here he is approached by Norsen, who tells him that by joining Krampus, he can find the strength and validation he's been seeking. No hope left, Blitzen follows Norsen to meet with Krampus.
When Prancer hears of this, unable to lose another friend to Krampus, she sets out to stop him. On the threshold between light and dark, Prancer confronts Blitzen. She reminds Blitzen of all the good she's seen in him, and begs him not to make that step into darkness.
BLITZEN: If I join Krampus, what do I have to lose?
PRANCER: You lose me. Please don’t make me lose you too?
Prancer then tells Blitzen that even if he never becomes one of Santa's reindeer, he will always be special to her. Seeing the love in Prancer's eyes, Blitzen breaks free of Krampus' hold.
In the aftermath, Blitzen speaks to Santa and tells him he understands if he'll never be one of his reindeer. But Santa tells him they'll just have to wait and see.

One year later...
T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
not a creature was snoring, not even a mouse.
When upon a snowy rooftop does appear...
A miniature sleigh led by eight tiny reindeer,
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen,
Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen.


END CREDIT SCENE
Santa is out preparing the sleigh with the Reindeer and the Elves.
SANTA: Are you all getting ready to fly.
Suddenly, Donner steps in with her husband, her stomach looking full. The other reindeer turn to look at her.
DONNER: I’m sorry, I’m not sure I can fly tonight, Mr. Donner will have to fill in for me; I think I’m pregnant.
The other reindeers’ eyes light up.
PRANCER: Really!?
DANCER: Congratulations!
DANCER: What are you going to name it?
Donner pauses, thinking.
DONNER: Well, I don’t want to name them anything that the other calves will make fun of them for.
She winces in personal memory.
DONNER: I was thinking if it’s a girl, something like Rue.
VIXEN: And if it’s a boy.
Donner thinks.
DONNER: I don’t know, something like Rueson, Rupert… No?
DANCER: Well, you think about it, we’ll see you after tonight.
Santa finishes hitching up Mr. Donner and the sleigh, then climbs in.
SANTA: Take care, and Merry Christmas!
He pulls the reins, and the reindeer take off, running into the sky.
SANTA: Ho! Ho! Ho!
Donner watches them go peacefully.
Suddenly she gasps as there is a kick in her stomach.
Then her eyes light up with an idea, a motherly smile comes to her face.
Screen goes black.
DONNER: Rudolph.

© 2023 R-Gii


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Added on December 4, 2023
Last Updated on December 21, 2023
Tags: Christmas, Santa, Reindeer, Series Idea, Notes, Pitch