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Santa’s Reindeer: Ranked From Best to Worst

Santa’s Reindeer: Ranked From Best to Worst

Reindeer that run on a snowy tundra winter day

We all know Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen, but have you ever theorized about their personalities, like which reindeer is guilty of murder and which one is under-compensated? It takes a special reindeer to pull Santa’s sleigh, but being special and being a reinderp aren’t mutually exclusive. I’ve put together the definitive reindeer ranking from best to worst.

And no, Rudolph isn’t number one.

1. Blitzen

A Visit from St. Nicholas,” the origin poem for Santa’s reindeer, saves Blitzen for last, and that’s because he’s the best. Mighty, true, and resilient, Blitzen is a king among reindeer, the one true leader. Blitzen is the one Santa truly depends upon, and he doesn’t need to guide anyone’s sleigh to prove he’s the boss. His name is derived from “lightning,” so he’s basically the Thor of reindeer. Without question, Blitzen is far and away the MVR: Most Valuable Reindeer.

2. Vixen

It’s hard being the only female reindeer on the team, earning 30% less reindeer feed than everyone else. Vixen is so much more than just “the girl reindeer,” but she struggles to get credit for her efforts in a buck-dominated field. Despite showing the same endurance and strength as her sleigh-pulling peers, Vixen most often gets compliments on her eyelashes rather than her power. You still sleigh, queen.

3. Donner

Donner is a skilled reindeer, but he’s a bit like Diddy (P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, Sean Combs, etc.) in that no one’s sure what they’re supposed to call him. Is it Donner? Dunder? Donder? No one knows, including Donner. He takes his reindeer duties very seriously and thinks the younger generation of reindeer have been spoiled by all those participation ribbons Santa awards at the reindeer games nowadays. As a result, Donner’s a bit of a curmudgeon, but he can still pull a helluva sleigh, mostly by the power of his indignation.

4. Comet

The smartest member of Santa’s sleigh team, Comet can be a bit pretentious. After years of working together, the other reindeer have grown accustomed to Comet’s incessant astrology talk when their travels take them to clear skies, but he has a surprisingly arrogant attitude for a blue collar caribou. He’s made it known on many occasions that he’s too good to pull a sleigh with the likes of Dasher. Comet isn’t the fastest or the strongest, but the others ignore his snobbery because he’s the best problem-solver on the team (and a talented mixologist).

5. Prancer

Prancer loves to have a good time, but he’s a little selfish. He’s been known to trot off to see the sights during Santa’s travels, delaying departure times. He’s also the most stubborn of all the reindeer, refusing to adjust his stride to match other reindeer’s and insisting instead on an exaggerated strut that often slows the team down.  He’s a valuable part of the team, but he’d be more efficient if he was more willing to compromise and less concerned about himself. He’s the kind of reindeer who would post a bad picture of you on Instagram if he looked good in it.

6. Dancer

Though generally upbeat and friendly, Dancer desperately wants to leave the North Pole. When he interviewed for the role of Santa’s reindeer, he came prepared for an audition. He would wow Father Christmas with his arabesque and fouetté and become his next principal reindeer! Instead, poor, ambitious Dancer was harnessed to a sleigh and ran a simple obstacle course, and that’s what he’s been doing ever since. He’s a fine reindeer, but his heart isn’t in his work, and it shows.

7. Rudolph

The rookie reindeer with the famous nose has a big heart and is arguably the cutest of all the reindeer, but his insecurity makes him pretty manipulative. It’s one of the best kept secrets of the North Pole–thanks to a song and television special in his honor. You never hear about how Rudolph is always playing the red nose card whenever he doesn’t get his way. He does a great job of guiding the sleigh, but he frequently plays the victim – citing that same reindeer games incident from ages ago – because he fears being replaced by an LED flashlight.

8. Dasher

Dasher is the reason Santa had to slap at “26.2” sticker on the back of the sleigh. Dasher is the fastest of all the reindeer, but like someone on Facebook using a Groupon for CrossFit, he never shuts up about it. He’s always challenging the other reindeer to race him and bragging about his new best mile time. No on calls him on it though, because they know showboating is how Dasher lives with the second-degree manslaughter charge he got back in 1979. It was Dasher who ran over that poor grandma, and ever since then he’s used fitness to numb the pain that lingers from that snowy night. He’s a skilled but reckless reindeer.

9. Cupid

He might have a chip on his shoulder because he shares his name with a much more prominent holiday legend, but Cupid never pulls his weight. Always last to line up for sleigh drills, Cupid is an angry drunk that routinely harasses the elves. It’s rumored that Santa claimed he’d have better luck with an Uber driver navigating his sleigh rather than Cupid, who has a reputation for being messy and trampling satellite dishes.

Katie Hoffman

Katie Hoffman is a writer living in the suburbs of Chicago. She enjoys leftovers, lunges, and laughs.


  1. bensbitterblog December 15, 2015

    You still sleigh, Vixen. Nice. You still sleight, Katie.

  2. The General December 17, 2015

    Donner’s also a bit of an alcoholic and a misogynist (Just ask Vixen.) He’s the Donner Draper of the reindeer world.

  3. The General December 17, 2015

    And I would watch what you say about Cupid in today’s climate. She actually USED to be a man, and the fastest of the reindeer. She’s the Kaitlyn Jenner of the reindeer world (Only without the insane ‘faking it’ for publicity)

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