Santa's eight regular reindeer are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Rudolph also worked for Santa during a particularly foggy Christmas Eve. Donner and Blitzen were originally called Dunder and Blixem.
The first reference to Santa's flying reindeer was in an 1823 poem by Clement C. Moore entitled "A Visit from St. Nicholas." The poem is also known as "The Night Before Christmas."
Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 poem by Robert L. May that was published in a Montgomery Ward Christmas book. In the book, Rudolph was originally an outcast because of his bright, red nose. However, Santa enlisted his services to guide his sleigh on an exceptionally foggy night. The story of Rudolph was made into a television show and feature film. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is also a popular Christmas song.
The reindeer have become popular Christmas symbols and are frequently depicted flying through the air while towing a sleigh piloted by Santa Claus and loaded with Christmas presents. Also, many Christmas-oriented attractions employ reindeer during the Christmas season. Other books and stories list additional reindeer, including parents, siblings, children and rivals. However, none of these have achieved the longevity or popularity of the eight original flying reindeer.