Long raised as livestock and occasionally used for milk and transportation in their native lands, reindeer became associated with Christmas and Santa Claus through Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit From Saint Nicholas".
Tradition has it that Santa's sleigh was originally pulled by 8 reindeer. Rudolph was added in 1939, after publication of the Robert L. May story.
Vintage reindeer figures have been made of paper mache, metal, mercury glass, wood, felt, flocked stuffed toys, celluloid and other plastics. Some were advertising giveaways and bear promotional information.