One of Santa Claus‘s reindeer is notably named after another animal: Vixen. The word “vixen” is an Old English term that specifically refers to a female fox. While the other reindeer have names that pertain to various characteristics or bright, festive imagery, Vixen’s name stands out due to its direct association with another creature.
Foxes, and especially vixens, have been featured in folklore, myths, and stories from various cultures for centuries. They are often portrayed as cunning, intelligent, and sometimes even magical creatures. In some tales, they are tricksters; in others, they possess the ability to transform into humans or other beings. The use of the name Vixen for one of Santa’s reindeer might subtly invoke these attributes of cleverness and enchantment, qualities that might be quite useful for a reindeer entrusted with the important task of pulling Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve.
The story of Santa’s reindeer can be traced back to the 1820s, with the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore, more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas.” This poem was instrumental in defining and popularizing many of the contemporary characteristics associated with Santa Claus, including his team of flying reindeer. Moore’s poem lists the names of all eight original reindeer, with Rudolph being a later addition stemming from a different story in the 20th century.
Despite their various names and the attributes they might suggest, each of Santa’s reindeer, including Vixen, plays a crucial role in the magic of Christmas. Their collective mission is to traverse the globe in a single night, bringing joy and presents to children everywhere, a task that would indeed require a combination of strength, endurance, and perhaps a touch of fox-like cunning.