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Christmas Book: The Story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Updated on September 7, 2014

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a beloved Christmas story

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a favorite Christmas story that is loved by children and adults. It even has an interesting backstory and has been around in its original form since 1939. It's had various adaptations and you can now find Rudolph in books, movies, TV shows, toys, Christmas decorations and more. Rudolph is a story of an outcast and that later triumphs. It teaches a good moral to children that what makes you different is also what makes you special.

The Original Story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

The original story is written in rhyming verses about a reindeer named Rudolph who lives in the woods in a place far off from the North Pole. He had kind and loving parents however was an outcast amount the deer community due to his shiny red nose. However one Christmas Eve heavy fog sets in as Santa Claus arrives in Rudolph's community. He doesn't know if he can continue on and asks Rudolph to join his team and lead the way with his bright nose. This makes Rudolph an instant hero as he saves Christmas.

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The Origins of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

In 1939 Rudolph was written by Robert L. May for Montgomery Ward to give away at their stores during Christmas time. It was an effort to save money since they had previously been buying coloring books for the children. It was an instant success and 2.4 million copies were given out that year.

May's wife had terminal cancer and he was facing large medical bills. In 1947 he asked Montgomery Ward if they would give him the rights to the story. They actually agree to do so and that same year the story of Rudolph was published for commercial sale for the first time. That was just the beginning, the story has since been told in one version or another in mass-marketed books, movies, Christmas songs, comics and TV specials.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Movie

There is the best known version of this classic Christmas story as well as different variations. Watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas movies will surely help the family get in the Christmas spirit and remind parents of Christmas as a child.

Rudolph was almost named Rollo or Reginald before his name was finally picked by the author with help from his 4 year old daughter.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Music

Robert L. May asked his brother-in-law and songwriter Johnny Marks to turn the his story of Rudolph into a song. They attempted to get a singer for the song and after several rejections in 1949 Gene Autry agreed. The song shot to the top of the charts. It is the second bestselling Christmas song of all time. Get in the Christmas spirit with this favorite Christmas song and others.

Rudolph Christmas Decorations

Rudolph has become an iconic part of Christmas and he makes a great addition to Christmas decorating. Kids particularly love the Rudolph decorations because he seems to be a character they particularly relate to.

Is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer part of your Christmas traditions?

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    • Melissa Miotke profile imageAUTHOR

      Melissa Miotke 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      @anonymous: Merry Christmas to you as well!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi, Melissamio! When I was in the second grade (in 1964), I was Rudolf in our school's Christmas play. My mother made me antlers out of pipe cleaners and used her lipstick to make my nose red. Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      5 years ago from Ljubljana

      No, we don't have Rudolph in our Christmas tradition. Yet:)He is too cute not to be included soon, I suppose...

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Yes, we watch it every year. It's right up there with A Charlie rown Christmas as one of my all time faorites.

    • Jo-Jackson profile image


      5 years ago

      We always have a reindeer ornament on the tree, so in a way I guess he is part of our Christmas tradition.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I had an autographed copy of the original Rudolph book when I was a little girl. I loved it. Then they got me a record to go with it. So it's definitely part of my history.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Every year, I still set that book out on display.

    • Tennyhawk profile image


      5 years ago

      I have an ornament of him that goes on my tree every year. And I'm a Rankin-Bass addict, so I watch the special a couple times before Christmas. Thanks for this beautiful lens, melissamio.


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