Coffee with…Rudolph (the red-nosed reindeer)

Kevin
Kevin Higgins
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He’s certainly the most famous reindeer of them all.

After all, of the nine reindeer, there’s no other with a book and song written about his life. There’s also no other who has starred in television specials and feature films.

If it weren’t for his boss, Santa Claus, he would be the top-rated personality at the North Pole.

However, don’t think for a single minute the fame has gone to his head, or, in this case, his antlers. He is a superstar still in touch with where he came from, and thankful for his lucky break to be asked to lead Santa’s sleigh because of his unusual luminous red nose.

He goes about his business once a year, spending his downtime grazing the hills of the North Pole with his friends and family, and putting time into a very strict fitness regime to keep in tiptop shape to zip around the world in a matter of minutes.

During a short break in his final preparations for Dec. 24’s takeoff, he took some time (using one of Santa’s elves as an interpreter) to chat with The Beacon.

What his your full name? Were you named after anyone?

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. No, it’s a name that is unique to me only because of my nose — no other reindeer has the bright red nose like I do.

When you’re not working for Santa, which reindeer is your best friend?

Everyone believes that all the other reindeer made fun of me because of my red nose, but that’s not true. Dancer was the only who didn’t call me any names…he was my friend way back then, and is still my very best friend even though I like all of the other reindeers now.

What is your favourite holiday treat?

I have to say I really appreciate all the carrots the children leave for us, and they are a good treat, but nothing like the special hay we get when we return to the North Pole Christmas morning. Mrs. Claus makes the best shortbread cookies ever, and she sneaks some into our pile of hay to thank us for a job well done and returning Santa back to her safe and sound. It’s definitely the best tasting hay we get.

Do you have a special someone?

(Blushing) There is. Her name is Clarice, and she’s really, really nice. I think she is the best reindeer in the world.

Do you enjoy leading Santa’s sleigh?

Of course, I do. How many people have jobs where they work a few hours a year, get to be the leader, and know they are partly responsible for putting smiles on children’s faces all over the world.

What don’t you like about be the lead reindeer?

The pressure. There’s a lot of it to make sure you don’t miss any children, getting Santa around the world safely at break-neck speed, and you don’t crash into anything or get lost. Sometimes I wish I had one of those fancy GPS things I see Santa bringing to some of the older children on his list.

Do you ever trash talk the other reindeer because you are Santa’s lead reindeer, and have become almost as famous as the jolly old man himself?

Oh no, I would never do that. Remember I was the one being made fun of once and I really, really didn’t like it. I would never want anyone to feel the way I did back then. I’m just so happy I’m able to be a part of Santa’s sleigh team, and have eight really close friends now.

Do you have any family?

Yes, of course, but don’t ask me who they all are because that’s probably the toughest question in the world…there are so many out there, I don’t know them all. Of course, my Mom and Dad are here at the North Pole, and I do have three brothers and four sisters that live close by. They are training really hard to get an opportunity to join Santa’s sleigh team if there is ever an opening.

What type of weather do you prefer to travel in?

I actually prefer it being a little snowy and having some reduced visibility. That’s when my nose works the best and it brightens the route we must take. If it’s a clear, moonlit night, my nose isn’t so bright.

What is life like at the North Pole?

This time of year everyone’s running around mad, nerves are rubbed a little raw…everyone is definitely on pins-and-needles. The rest of the year, it’s pretty relaxed as we spend our time out grazing the fields and hills…eating and exercising. 

Does Mrs. Claus help Santa prepare for Christmas Eve?

It’s non-stop for her all year round helping Santa, but on Christmas Eve, she’s making sure he has all his Santa suit stuff properly fitted to, not only travel through various temperatures and climates, but also to magically go down chimneys.

How do you know when Santa is ready to leave the North Pole to start his delivery of gifts?

The elves come get us and hook us up to his sleigh, and we just wait for him to come out with his magic sack filled with gifts. When he comes, we’re usually pretty anxious to get going, but we know we can’t move until he says our names. Even though I’m the first reindeer, I’m usually the last name he shouts out…everyone knows when they hear my name it’s time for takeoff. The order he usually yells them out in is Dasher and Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and, of course, Rudolph.

Are you tired after delivering all those gifts?

For sure, it’s not only the amount of travel; it’s the weight we have to pull. Starting out it there’s a lot of gifts, but as we start dropping them off you would think the sleigh would get lighter, but it doesn’t. What you have to remember is for every gift Santa drops off, there’s always a snack waiting for him. It’s usually milk and cookies, so he’s usually a little heavier when he gets back home than when we left. It would be good if people left us (reindeer) cookies sometimes and had the carrots for Santa. HaHa.

Do you really need snow to fly on Christmas Eve?

Of course not. We have magic flying powers that allow us to travel around the world delivering presents. Just think about it, gifts get delivered everywhere, including places like Florida, California, South America and Africa, and there’s no snow in these places. We don’t need it, but it sure makes things look nice.

Any inside information on whether or not I made the nice list this year?

Santa doesn’t usually share that information with anyone but probably Mrs. Claus. Even though we overhear some names sometimes when we’re not supposed to. And would you believe it, they were talking about you one day and about the volunteer time you put it. If I had to guess, I’d say you’re safe for some good gifts this year.        

Any final thoughts?

I just wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season, and health and happiness throughout the entire year. Maybe we can also get everyone in the world to live in peace and get along with each other. Merry Christmas everyone.

khiggins@ganderbeacon.ca

Geographic location: North Pole, California, Blitzen Florida South America Africa

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