The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

December 23, 2012

Can reindeer fly? Let children decide

“I hope you aren’t going to tell little children those reindeer can fly,” a lady told me when she learned friends of the museum had donated funds to sponsor reindeer at the annual Holiday Open House at the museum. As these reindeer live at Hardy’s ranch in Illinois, not the North Pole, they may not possess the aeronautical capabilities credited to their northern cousins. But children just naturally associate reindeer with flying, and an eight-hitch team from the North Pole has been a Christmas tradition for far longer than any living person can remember.

So, it only seems fair to let children make up their own minds about what reindeer can or cannot do. A response on the Internet for the simple request “flying reindeer” received more than 5 million hits, so it is a lively subject.

Flying reindeer have long been depicted in publications and advertisements. In Danville, a number of historic businesses featured them in Christmas ads, among them Woodbury Book Company, Sandusky Furniture Company, and Hacker’s Fair. An ad for Lionel trains, available at Black & Company when it was located at 31 N. Hazel St., pictured the sleigh loaded with the latest toy trains.

In a Christmas booklet distributed by Vermilion County Abstract in 1951, Santa Claus can be seen in his sleigh, being pulled by a team of reindeer in front of a full moon. The abstract company’s fine reputation was based on obtaining factual information, anything printed was carefully researched.

The timeless poem “The Night Before Christmas” credited to Clement Clark Moore, introduced the now-famous eight-hitch team of flying reindeer in the 1820s. Since that time they have been featured in numerous books, motion pictures, and television programs. They are certainly an established part of Christmas culture.

Passed down through my family is an 1800s booklet featuring Moore’s poem. It has been well used and many pages are now missing, but the centerfold, picturing the reindeer soaring with Santa’s sleigh, remains intact. The reindeer look the same as they do in current depictions, but the toys in Santa’s sleigh differ from what might be found today. Pictured are a drum, rocking horse, pull toy, dolls and a doll house. A bearskin keeps Santa warm as he soars through the winter sky.

Text Only
Local News
  • Kindergarten roundup nears

    April 20, 2014

  • Head Start services offered

    April 20, 2014

  • City to discuss chicken ordinance, animal control DANVILLE -- Residents love their pets -- ranging from the furry to feathered kind -- and let city officials know about it. Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said two of the biggest issues he's received phone calls about since he's been mayor have been about the

    April 20, 2014

  • NWS-CN0420 - Vignette2 image Danville thrift store glass gets a second life Chris Moore of Danville admits he's never been known as an artistic person among friends and family. But after seeing some glass garden decorations at a landscaping business about a year ago, something clicked and he decided to try his hand at creati

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three injured in shooting on east side DANVILLE -- Police have made one arrest in connection with a triple shooting incident Friday night on the city's east side. Police and emergency personnel responded around 6:30 p.m. Friday to the 1000 block of Moore Street to reports of shots fire. T

    April 20, 2014

  • NWS-CN 0420 - Vignette3 image Odds and ends turn into great useful objects Four Danville Area Community College students took some wooden pallets, a used tire, two broken clocks and a fallen tree limb and created four completely usable objects that will be entered in the college's Trash to Treasures repurposing challenge on

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - CN0420 - Repurpose5 image Trash into treasure What started out as an idea for a class project quickly snowballed into a campuswide initiative at Danville Area Community College, with the results being on display this week. To mark Earth Day this year, the Biology Department and the Sustainabilit

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS - CN0420 - Rock Church cross image Floral cross celebrates Easter DANVILLE — A cross at The Rock Church is blooming with the beauty of spring and the promise of Easter.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-CN 04-20 Vignette1 image Couple creates rustic salvaged furniture Kim Hannah of Danville has been salvaging and reusing materials -- most notably barn wood -- for close to two decades. Hannah has sold her handmade crafts and primitive, rustic furniture made of salvaged barn wood at shows around the Midwest for 18 y

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Auxiliary buys ‘Wagons for Warriors’ Auxiliary buys ‘Wagons for Warriors’

    A benefit last month raised $771, which was donated to Wagons for Warriors.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
NCAA basketball
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
Must Read