Santa and his bevy of ... ruminant beauties?

There's a growing movement by some feminists to alter what has been a traditional Christmas theme for many decades. It has even been circulating on the Internet, but in a good-natured way. It has to do with Santa's reindeer. You know, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, et al. Even Rudolph, that cherry-nosed ruminant that Claus uses on foggy Christmas Eves, has come into question. And technically, though I hate to admit it, the questioning women are right.

You see, reindeer are a member of the deer family, all of which see the males grow a set of antlers, starting in the spring, and normally shedding them in early winter. But unlike other deer, reindeer and their kissin' cousins, caribou, see both males and females grow antlers. However - and here's the problem - the females retain their antlers until the following summer, presumably to protect their newborn calves from predators. So the feminists' claim is that all those eight reindeer (we assume Vixen is female) hauling Santa's heavy sled must be females, since males would have shed their antlers by Christmas.

Now when Clement Clarke Moore penned that famous poem "Twas The Night Before Christmas" (some historians believe the poem was actually first written by Major Henry Livingston, Jr), and it was first published in the Sentinel, a New York newspaper on December 23, 1823, I seriously doubt that Clement (or the Major) had ever actually seen a reindeer or knew much about them. Fact is, even today, few people know much about reindeer, so here's a bit of information for their edification.

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