It is fascinating to see the evolution of Santa Claus over time. In a previous edition of Sloto Magazine we reviewed the history behind Santa Claus. Many of our readers got intrigued and some wanted to know more. On this article, we will explore how Santa ended up having reindeer as the muscle power for his sleigh.

The character of Santa Claus has been inspired by St. Nicholas of Myra. As a 4th century bishop living in present-day Turkey, it is more than unlikely that he traveled with a sleigh pulled by reindeer. The more likely truth is that St. Nicholas traveled by horse. In fact, the Dutch version of St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, does travel by horse to this date.  

So where do the reindeer come from? Their association with Santa Claus has a very precise origin… a poem! Yes, the 1823 poem titled ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’ or commonly known as ‘The Night Before Christmas’ introduces the idea that Santa drives his sleigh with 8 reindeer. The poem mentions the names of the reindeer as we know them today, except for two.  

Here’s an excerpt from the poem:

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,

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 called 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!

Dunder and Blixem are Dutch words that mean ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightning’.  Later variations of the poem changed the name to Donner and Blitzen as we know them today!   

On the opposite page we will review one of our most popular slots based on Santa’s most famous reindeer!

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