2021 58¢ A Visit From St. Nick – Santa Claus, Sleigh, and Reindeer in Flight
Value: 58¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: October 7, 2021
First Day City: Santa Claus, IN
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Double-sided Booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 400,000,000
Everyone knows that St. Nicholas's sleigh is pulled by a team of eight (sometimes nine) reindeer. But did you know that it was Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" that first introduced them? The poem's narrator describes them in the following lines: "More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; 'Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!'"
The names Moore chose are interesting in that they all have a connection to flight or speed. Dashers are fast runners, dancers can move quickly and almost appear to fly when they perform certain jumps. Prancing indicates high steps that make an animal appear light on their feet. A vixen is a female fox, an animal that can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour – an impressive feat given its small size. A comet is an incredibly fast-moving space object that flies across the sky. Cupid is the Roman god of love and is most often depicted as having wings. Finally, Donder and Blitzen come from the Dutch words for thunder and lightning – both powerful natural forces that occur in the sky.
Considering all of their names, and assuming each reindeer shares similar qualities, it's no surprise that St. Nicholas is able to travel around the world in one night!