Santa Claus In 'Rudolph The Red Nosed-Reindeer' Is Meaner Than 'The Grinch'

Recently, I began my normal routine of rewatching my favorite holiday classics. I wasn't more than 15 minutes into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer when I began to realize it wasn't quite how I remembered it.

In fact, it has some incredibly problematic moments, especially when it comes to their portrayal of Santa Claus.

After my latest viewing, it's now my firm belief that Santa Claus in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is meaner than The Grinch.

Let's begin with Santa's complete lack of boundaries.


The beloved animated classic begins with the birth of Rudolph. Undoubtedly, this is an incredibly proud moment for Donner and Mrs. Donner, being that it's the birth of their first fawn and all.

I don't know about you, but the last person I would want to see stroll through the door at that moment is my boss (please don't fire me). If Santa planned on showing up unannounced, he could've at least had the decency to bring flowers!

The Grinch, on the other hand, is a solitary figure. He lives alone and bothers no one.


Sure, the Grinch had one bad day. He snapped and tried to steal Christmas from the Whos down in Whoville — I'm not claiming he's innocent or without fault.

But he also isn't terrorizing the Whos on a daily basis. He says it himself: "Why, for 53 years, I've put up with it now..." 53 years! Santa can't even give his lead reindeer one day's peace to be with his wife and newborn son.

Santa is the epitome of a megalomaniac.

Elves build toys and that's all they can ever do. Most certainly, an Elf could never aspire to be a dentist because that would be sheer lunacy. Where do you think they got this idea? It sounds like the product of brainwashing to me.

As if that wasn't bad enough, when they aren't building toys for their relentlessly demanding master, he forces them to sing songs about how great he is? That seems a little shallow, doesn't it?

Reindeer Games? More like *The Hunger Games*.

Santa encourages and fosters jealousy among his herd of reindeer. This sick display of sadism reminds me of what it felt like to be back in high school, forced to climb the rope in front of the entire gym class.

And did you ever notice that none of the does get to compete; why is that? The strength or size of the reindeer shouldn't matter if Santa has the ability to make them fly, so what gives?

Which leads me to my next point: Santa is a total sexist.


Think back to when we first meet Santa, after the birth of Rudolph. He barges in the cave, speaks only to Donner, and doesn't even acknowledge Mrs. Donner's presence — not even to say congratulations!

What's worse is that Santa's influence appears to have trickled down to his team of reindeer. Remember when Mrs. Donner wants to help look for Rudolph and Donner says "No, this is man's work!" Where do you think he learned that from?

He's also a judgmental bigot.

Why does Santa hate Rudolph's red nose? I don't even think he knows the answer to that question. His prejudices appear to be random and inconsistent. Worse than that, Santa immediately dismisses any potential Rudolph may or may not have based solely on the fact that he has a red nose.

You don't need a crystal ball to see the bigger metaphor that's at play here. Santa is bigotry personified, plain and simple.

Lastly, Santa Claus doesn't have a single redemptive moment.


Santa practically banishes Rudolph from the North Pole entirely. Only when he finally realizes how the Red-Nosed Reindeer can serve his needs does he come around to the idea of Rudolph's red nose. Santa can't even muster the strength to apologize. If I was Rudolph, I would have told Santa to shove it.

The Grinch, on the other hand, is restored by the Spirit of Christmas! He sees the error of his ways and brings Christmas back to the Whos, becoming a reluctant hero in the process.