May all your Christmases be stereotypes

Why Santa’s reindeer must be female.

Santa Claus may be white or not, according to taste, prejudice or marketing strategy. But here’s bad news for Megyn Kelly. The exploited reindeer that have drawn Santa’s sleigh through the busy Christmas night are necessarily reinhind, that is if they have proper antlers.
From an unnamed correspondent of Victor Mair at Language Log:

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female deer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.

Female reindeer retain their antlers until after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.

We should have known … ONLY women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost!

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web

11 thoughts on “May all your Christmases be stereotypes”

  1. “ONLY women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost!”

    …because women are both physically stronger than men and have a better sense of navigation! It’s funny because it’s stupid!

    1. Given the wages inherent to Santa’s no-charge business model I think we can assume that the reindeer are badly underpaid.

      1. … providing more support for the idea that they’re female. Elvettes in Santa’s workshop earn only 62% of what male elves earn, and are discriminated against in promotion to Chief Elf in Charge.

    2. Not strength but stamina. Women have won the Iditarod dog-sledding race several times, the closest sporting fit to Santa’s ultramarathon. It’s not clear however whether female reindeer are more prepared to ask for directions.

      1. I’m pretty sure that the winners of the Iditarod are not the ones pulling the sled. Or are you saying that a fat old man with a long white beard is the epitome of endurance fitness?

        1. Are you claiming that there’s nothing really to doing the Iditarod, you just loll back in the sleigh covered with furs, crack your whip and shout “Ho! Ho! Ho!!” from time to time?

  2. It’s an oldie, but a good one. Here’s another:

    What would have happened if it had been three Wise Women instead of three Wise Men?
    They would have gotten directions first, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable,
    made a casserole, and brought practical gifts that Mary could actually use.

    1. According to the Biblical account (Matthew 2:1-2), the wise men (the number is not given) did ask for directions:

      Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

      1. and since all the Gospels are written to justify the Old Testament predictions of the Messiah, not by any actual eye-witnesses, the gifts of the magi are symbolic, not ‘useful’. Read or listen carefully to ‘We Three Kings of Orient Are’: gold to crown the king (earthly role); incense to celebrate the deity (heavenly role); myrrh to bury the dead (redemptive role: Christ’s sacrifice for mankind’s sins). As the final verse says, ‘king, and god, and sacrifice’. (My annual carolling evening reminds me how much theology is in many of the carols.)

        Good point about asking directions, though. Perhaps an unwise reliance on the state for the information,though. ;-(

  3. Sorry to be a party-pooper, but according to Wikipedia, only old male reindeer lose their antlers before Christmas. Younger males keep them well into the new year. And certainly Disney’s reindeer at least look pretty adolescent.

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