Santa's Omniscience in "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"

This question was closed by the community within 1.5 hours of being posted, and currently has no votes to reopen. However, as one user put it in a comment:

not only is "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" a literary work, it is fantasy.

The upvotes on this comment and the comment from the OP suggest a certain level of support for the question being on-topic, so I thought it was worth a meta discussion.

My immediate thought upon seeing this question was that it should be closed, either as "too broad" since there are many different versions of Santa, or as "off-topic" since Santa is more of a mythological or legendary figure than a character from a work of science fiction or fantasy. However, this particular question is about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - a fictional work which has appeared as a book, a song, a film, comics, TV specials, and more - which makes it seem more on-topic.

Should this question be reopened?

  • The question was initially tagged 'christian', so I may have pulled the trigger a little fast given past discussion on religious stuff. I also didn't realize there were already Santa questions on the site, it's not something I would immediately consider on-topic. shrug Mea culpa.
    – Radhil
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 21:26
  • I'm still dubious on this one. The OP hasn't specified which source they're asking about. In my opinion "the song" relates to the the general theme of Santa Claus, which is religious in nature, therefore off-topic. Think of it this way: would a religious person like to chance upon this site and think that we're treating their belief as a work of fiction?
    – Möoz
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 21:30
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Are questions about Santa Claus on topic?
    – Möoz
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 21:31
  • @Mooz - "Does this song take place in a universe where Santa is not omniscient" - It seems firmly rooted in the song, not the Santa mythos in general
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 21:39
  • @Valorum But is the song supposed to be considered fictional?
    – Möoz
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 21:49
  • @Mooz - It was written as an advertising jingle. How could it be anything but fictional? media.npr.org/assets/img/2013/12/24/…
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 21:58
  • @Valorum I think the song might have been made to accompany the original story, and intended to be set within the same universe; no? (Not arguing, I genuinely want to understand).
    – Möoz
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 22:03
  • @Mooz - It was adapted for song from the poem; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolph_the_Red-Nosed_Reindeer_(song). It's definitely set in the same fictional universe and follows the same plotline, albeit greatly simplified.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 22:04
  • 3
    @Radhil: As per my comment, I suspect they meant to type in "Christmas" as a tag and didn't notice that it got "autocorrected".
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 16:01

2 Answers 2


Yes. in this instance the song (and its source-poem) are thoroughly on-topic given that they're a fantasy that merely happens to have a christmassy setting.

Robert L. May created Rudolph in 1939, as an assignment for Chicago-based Montgomery Ward. The retailer had been buying and giving away coloring books for Christmas every year and it was decided that creating their own book would save money. Rudolph was supposed to be a moose but that was changed because a reindeer seemed friendly. May considered naming the reindeer "Rollo" or "Reginald" before deciding upon using the name "Rudolph"

For the record, the last time we discussed this, the consensus of opinion that questions about Santa (the mythical figure) are generally off-topic because Santa is undoubtedly real. That obviously doesn't mean that fantasy stories that happen to star Santa aren't fair game.

  • 5
    If you're downvoting, I'd be interested to know why.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 22:05
  • You're right, the song and its source poem were written as a work of fiction.
    – Möoz
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 22:08

My personal feeling is that, if you're going to ask the question, you need to state which continuities you will accept. Is it just the classic songs? Can we include more offbeat ones like "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"? Is the Rankin-Bass film on-topic? The 1948 cartoon? Olive, the Other Reindeer?

Without indicating scope, the question becomes unanswerable because the scope is so large.


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