Donner vs Donder: The Great Reindeer Debate

One of the great things about the internet is the chance that you might stumble down a rabbit hole at any moment, only to emerge hours later as an expert on that given subject. This very phenomenon happened to me just the other day. I was reading Drew Magary’s weekly mailbag article on Deadspin when he was discussing a hypothetical question of whether Santa Claus could defeat Godzilla in battle. It was a funny read, but what stuck out to me most was when he mentioned one of Santa’s reindeer. Here’s a screenshot of the post:

Donder 2

Notice the part where he called out “Donder” for having no heart. Donder? Who the hell is Donder? Other people apparently were thinking the same thing, and here’s what I found in the comment section.

Donder 1

Evidently, the reindeer I always thought was called Donner, like from the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, is called Donder by some people.

You know Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen;
Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen . . .

The good people at Snopes take a deep dicve intot the subject and explain the story behind the name change.

Essentially, when the poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” better know as “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was originally published in 1823, it said:

“Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen,
On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;

Eventually, after the poem was published at varying points over the next few years, Dunder and Blixem turned into Donder and Blitzen.

Get this Donder B.S. out of my face. Lets just bury the past and move on. Donner sounds better, and donner and blitzen are the German words for Thunder and Lightning, which makes those names totally badass. GIPHY



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