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Christmas in July Chat About Reindeer


Elf Victor, head elf of the Reindeer Operations Department, joined Elf Ernest in North Pole Chat today to update us on Santa’s reindeer. They covered a wide range of topics, including how reindeer come to the North Pole, why they only stay through Christmas and how Santa works with them when they arrive. This was their conversation:

Elf Ernest Our chat will begin at the top of the hour.
Elf Victor Elf Victor is here, I’m Elf Trixie helping today.
Elf Ernest Outstanding! Good to see you both!
Elf Victor Are we the only ones on?
Elf Victor I don’t see anyone else.
Elf Ernest I’m seeing 92 others online, but none logged in under a name.
Elf Victor Oh, okay. Thought we’d be chatting alone.
Elf Ernest Nope, they are out there. More than I was expecting for a Sunday morning on a holiday weekend in July.
Elf Victor Ok, good to know.
Elf Ernest Four minutes.
Elf Ernest Welcome to North Pole Chat today as part of Christmas in July!
Elf Ernest Today we talk with Elf Victor, head of reindeer operations at the North Pole. It’s early in the season, so we’re curious to hear what is new with Santa’s reindeer
Elf Ernest Elf Victor, how are you?
Elf Victor I’m doing quite well, thank you.
Elf Ernest What’s new in the reindeer business?
Elf Victor Well, it’s been kind of a busy start to our season. We had a lot of reindeer at the North Pole staring in May with those funny sleighs that Santa and Mrs. Claus were running for a while. And, of course, the test flight reindeer have started their season.
Elf Ernest Yes, it’s not often that we hear news of Donner and Blitzen and other’s of Santa’s A team. Are they still around?
Elf Victor No, they have returned home.
Elf Ernest That actually leads in to one of the big questions we get a lot of the time. Why do the reindeer have to leave the North Pole?
Elf Victor They go home after Christmas every year because that is what is best for them. They see their families. They eat their natural foods. The always come back in the fall in better shape as a result.
Elf Ernest Why is that? I was under the understanding that the North Pole takes really good care of them?
Elf Victor We do. We do the very best we can. But, the North Pole is not a friendly environment, for reindeer or people. We feed them a lot of oats and berries and other good things. But it doesn’t match what they can eat themselves in their natural homes.
Elf Ernest Does it hurt the reindeer to be at the North Pole then?
Elf Victor No. They love Santa and wouldn’t dream of being anywhere else. But Santa loves them and after a lot of study and testing Santa felt that sending them home for most of the year was the most healthy course. And he was right. Once we started doing that we had fewer problems.
Elf Ernest Problems? Why kind of problems?
Elf Victor Reindeer are just like people. We need a balance of good nutrition, exercise and other things. We get the best when we stay where we are born.
Elf Ernest So the reindeer had “problems” when they were at the North Pole full time?
Elf Victor Yeah, when we are away from home we are more prone to injury and illness. Stomach issues, colds, skin irritations – small stuff. And foods, my goodness, unnatural foods are not going to be good for anything.
Elf Ernest When the reindeer come back, in say, October, are they checked to see if they are healthy?
Elf Victor Oh yes, they see the doctor first thing. We run them through a number of checks and start an exercising program right away. Although, most come back already exercised on their own program. Usually within a week nearly all are reviewed by Santa himself.
Elf Ernest Thousands of reindeer come back every year. Santa sees every one of them?
Elf Victor Oh yes. Of course. Santa is not only checking on them for several weeks each fall he also will assign them to different teams. He likes to talk to each reindeer individually.
Elf Ernest I had no idea!
Elf Victor That’s part of the reason thousands of reindeer show up! They get to talk to Santa. They love that.
Elf Ernest Do new reindeer ever show up – reindeer that Santa doesn’t know?
Elf Victor Oh sure, every year that happens.
Elf Ernest So can any reindeer come and work at the North Pole?
Elf Victor Well, no. They have to be able to fly and not all reindeer fly you know.
Elf Ernest Well, how else would they get here? It would be impossible for a reindeer to get here without flying.
Elf Victor Not totally. There are some northern species in both Canada and Russia that have migrated on foot to the North Pole. It’s quite dangerous but many from those areas still come.
Elf Ernest So…there have been reindeer who cannot fly come with others who can?
Elf Victor Oh yes, that happens every year.
Elf Ernest What happens to them? Does Santa turn them away and send them back home?
Elf Victor The first thing every reindeer gets evaluated for when they get here is flight certification. It’s a very basic thing. If they fail that certification, they get sent to flight school.
Elf Ernest Oh really? That’s pretty cool. So if a reindeer doesn’t know how to fly the North Pole teaches him?
Elf Victor No, we don’t teach them because we don’t know how reindeer fly. Other reindeer teach them. We have several reindeer who all they do is work with other reindeer on how to fly.
Elf Ernest Wow. So if a reindeer from Northern Canada, like you said, doesn’t know how to naturally fly there are reindeer here to help them?
Elf Victor Yes.
Elf Ernest And they learn to fly?
Elf Victor Some of them do, some of them don’t.
Elf Ernest Well, those that don’t….what happens to them? Do they get sent home?
Elf Victor No, but that does limit where we can involve them in Operation Merry Christmas. Santa never stops someone who wants to be an elf and he never turns away a reindeer. He makes a place for them somewhere.
Elf Ernest Good golly. What does a reindeer do that would be helpful if they can’t pull a sleigh in flight?
Elf Victor They work on the ground. They pull sleighs on the ground. They work in other reindeer type jobs, like helping or working with other reindeer. Some are assigned to the ranch. Some are assigned to farms in other areas. Some work with support departments.
Elf Ernest So…you work with ALL reindeer, no matter what job they do?
Elf Victor Of course. If they work for Santa it doesn’t matter what their job is to us. We take care of them. We house them, feed them, keep them healthy. That’s our job in the reindeer department.
Elf Ernest Victor, Santa’s A team seems to get all the attention of the world. They’re famous. Does that make the other reindeer feed bad?
Elf Victor No. They are aware of all the notoriety Santa’s team gets. But reindeer don’t get jealous because they don’t like attention. In fact, Santa’s A team is jealous of other reindeer who AREN’T famous.
Elf Ernest Oh my goodness! Really?
Elf Victor Oh yes. I think if Santa’s A team had their way they would fly with paper bags over their heads. They don’t like people knowing who they are.
Elf Ernest Really?
Elf Victor Yes, especially Dancer.
Elf Ernest I didn’t know that!
Elf Victor Yes, Dancer is very shy.
Elf Victor Dancer does not like being watched or even talked to.
Elf Ernest Even by Santa?
Elf Victor No, no, I don’t mean that. Dancer loves Santa.
Elf Victor She’s just a very quiet girl. She doesn’t like to be noticed. Santa every once in a while will take a reindeer out in public when he visits people. Dancer does not like doing that job.
Elf Ernest Is there a reindeer that DOES like doing that?
Elf Victor I’d say Vixen, Rudolph and Cupid are the most people-friendly of Santa’s reindeer. They do really well in crowds. But most don’t like to get that close to people.
Elf Ernest What about the big boys like Donner and Blitzen?
Elf Victor They do okay. They don’t necessarily like crowds because of their physical size, but their dispositions are fine. Blitzen especially is very congenial. But when some little children see Blitzen sometimes they get scared because he’s HUGE
Elf Ernest Yes, I was scared the first time I saw Donner and Blitzen. I never expected to see reindeer so big.
Elf Victor I think most say that. They are the best of the best, Donner and Blitzen.
Elf Ernest Does that make other reindeer upset when you say things like that?
Elf Victor No. In the reindeer world there are no two reindeer who are more well known or respected than Donner and Blitzen. They are reindeer superstars. Everyone knows they are special.
Elf Ernest Where did Santa find them?
Elf Victor On a walkabout many, many decades ago Santa found them. Donner and Blitzen do not like to let their stories be known, because, they are still reindeer and they don’t like the extra attention.
Elf Ernest If they are the biggest, who are the smallest of the reindeer?
Elf Victor Vixen and Prancer. Santa calls them his “little princesses”.
Elf Ernest He does? Why?
Elf Victor They are small but mighty. Because of their size people underestimate them. People look at Blitzen and know he’s incredible. But they look at Vixen and do not think she can do all she does. She loves to compete against Blitzen and when she wins – and sometimes she does! – she gets so very excited. Santa says she’s the feisty one!
Elf Ernest Victor, I cannot believe it but we’re out of time. Will you come back again for another chat?
Elf Victor I’d be happy to
Elf Ernest These chats with you seem to go by so fast!
Elf Victor They do for me too. But let’s not schedule my next chat in November or December, ok?
Elf Ernest Deal…maybe, October some time?
Elf Victor That would be good. Thanks for having me.
Elf Ernest Thank you, Elf Victor and thanks to everyone who submitted questions!
Elf Ernest Bye everyone!

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Thank you so much for holding this chat! I always love learning more about the reindeer. Sounds like it’s a very good thing that the reindeer are home right now- but I look forward to their return to the North Pole!

Thank you, Winslow! I came, but the chat room didn’t open then. Thank you, Elf Victor and Elf Ernest! It’s so amazing. I’m so delighted to learn more about the reindeer! I’d be happy to help you, Elf Victor, in the future. And Elf Ernest, please arrange to chat with him again in October!! I hope I can join it! XD