I like to be seasonal with my collections on Pictureboxblue. It will be Christmas soon, so I thought I’d add a collection of vintage reindeer drawings to the site.
In the past, I have curated collections of illustrations of animals also associated with Christmas, penguins, and polar bears. I even have a collection of maps of the North Pole , where many of the reindeer inhabit.
This time of year I love to craft with some Norwegian slow TV on in the background. My favorite slow TV program is the reindeer migration. This is a real-time show which is over 168 hours long. It follows Norway’s Sami reindeer herds as they migrate across the mountainous region of Finnmark. Mind you I haven’t watched it all!
Reindeers And Christmas
We all know about Rudolph and Santa’s reindeer’s but they were a late addition to the reindeer Christmas story. The eight reindeers that pulled Santas sleigh, first appeared in a Christmas story in 1823: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen.
Rudolph didn’t appear until 1939. He was created for a department store’s Christmas promotion. The song “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” was first recorded in 1948.
In Scandinavia and across Eastern Europe, long before all this, reindeer have been associated with Christmas and winter festivities. When pagans converted to Christianity, they kept lots of their traditions. Many of which became part of Christmas customs. Pagan mythology loves reindeer.
Facts about Reindeer
- Caribou and reindeer are basically the same animal species (Rangifer tarandus). Reindeer tend to be domesticated, herded, and used to pull sleds. They inhabit Northern Europe and Northern Asia.
- The wild reindeers that inhabit North America (Canada and Alaska) are called Caribou. Their differences are due to domestication and not evolution. Caribou are larger than reindeer, more active, and faster.
- The only domesticated deer in the world are reindeer.
- Both males and females grow antlers and reindeer grow new antlers every year.
- Reindeer live for up to 15 years in the wild. Domesticated reindeer can live for as long as 20 years.
- Reindeer are good fast swimmers. This is because when migrating they have to cross wide rushing rivers and even the frozen ice water of the Arctic Ocean.
- Due to their association with migration across harsh environments, reindeer, symbolically are said to represent safe travels, strength, and endurance.
- Reindeer have a vegetable-based diet. They eat mosses, herbs, ferns, grasses, and the shoots and leaves of shrubs and trees. In winter, they eat lichen (reindeer moss) and fungi, scraping the snow away with their hooves to get it.
The Vintage Reindeer Drawings
All of these reindeer drawings are in the Public Domain. To download the drawing you want, click on the title above that illustration. The picture will open as a new window in your browser.
You can then save this image to your device or send it to your printer for printing.
Le Renne is the French for Reindeer. I don’t know much about this reindeer drawing, except that it is from the Iconographia Zoologica collection at the University of Amsterdam.
The female version of the reindeer above from the same Dutch collection.
Again from the collection at the University of Amsterdam.
A lovely print of a reindeer in its winter setting. The illustration is from 1842 approximately.
This reindeer illustration is from the book “The deer of all lands; a history of the family Cervidæ living and extinct” published in 1898.
1852 painting of Sami people in winter garments in Karasjok, Norway with reindeer.
Sami people come from a region that stretches over four countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. On the north, it is bounded by the Barents Sea, on the west by the Norwegian Sea, and on the east by the White Sea. The area is historically referred to as Lapland.
A man in fur clothes is riding his deer-drawn sleigh through a snowy landscape. His tent, tribe, and a herd of reindeer can be seen in the background. From the Welcome Collection.
The Aurora Borealis, with a reindeer-drawn sleigh in the foreground. A Coloured wood engraving by C. Whymper, from the Welcome Collection.
The Aurora Borealis, also known as the northern lights are a natural light display in the Earth’s sky. They are mainly seen in high-latitude regions (around the Arctic and Antarctic).
Reindeer are pulling children in sledges across the snowy hills by John Augustus Atkinson. From the Welcome Collection.
A drawing of a group of reindeer searching for food in a snowy forest. From the Welcome Collection.
If you liked these vintage reindeer drawings, don’t forget to check out the vast collection of other zoological drawings on Pictureboxblue. You might also like these antique Scandinavian Christmas cards.