By Jacqui Markowitz
RISMEDIA, Dec. 24, 2008-”You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer, and Vixen….Comet, and Cupid and Donner, and Blitzen… But do you recall? The most famous reindeer of all….”
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose…and he was taunted, tormented, and ridiculed by all his other reindeer friends until….that bright red nose that alienated him from his reindeer friends, turned out to be exactly the reason he was chosen by Santa to save Christmas, lighting up the foggy sky with his glowing red nose. Rudolph has become not only a legend, but our beloved and cherished hero.
Rudolph was created by Robert L. May, a copywriter at the Chicago-based department store, Montgomery Ward in 1939 when our endearing reindeer’s story was written to give out to their customers as a promotional gimmick at Christmas time. They gave away 2.4 million copies of the booklet that year as Rudolph worked his charming and loving character into the hearts of boys and girls. This story of a reindeer that was discriminated against because of his physical condition and whose very disability turns out to be his greatest asset has become woven tightly into the folklore and heart of our Christmas tradition.
May drew upon his difficult childhood as a small, shy boy who was taunted by his schoolmates as inspiration for his story. Imagine…May creating this story, sharing his joys and ideas with his four year old daughter, Barbara, who was delighted with the frolics of Rudolph, and although this seems like a very happy, snugly, cuddly picture, it is tarnished with the fact that his wife was terminally ill, and passed away about the same time Rudolph was born.
May was inundated with enormous medical bills from his wife’s illness. The demand for all things Rudolph after the war was huge, but the rights belonged to Montgomery Ward. May persuaded Corporate President, Sewell Avery to turn over the copyright in 1947. May was able to pay his bills and achieve financial security. That year he printed the book, and the following year released the first Rudolph film. May’s brother-in-law, Jonny Marks developed the lyrics and the melody in 1949 and became one of the best selling songs of all time. Rudolph really is a story of hope, kindness, comfort, love and continuity on a very personal level and this spirit has been transfused into the spirit of the season.
We can all relate to this story. We all harbor feelings from our childhood where we were hurt or sad because of the things other children said or did to us. Even today, there are parts of ourselves that we don’t like. There are things that we are uncomfortable with or embarrassing. And there are things that stand in our way and stop us from doing the things we love, from reaching for our ultimate goals, or taking the chance to explore our potential, to ignite our yearnings and soar.
We can identify and learn from Rudolph, this simple story of a reindeer with a glowing red nose. Perhaps within his tale is the message that we may take away with us this Christmas….to be kind to ourselves and to others, and to see all the potential that lay within those things that are different or not perfect, and see them as intrinsic gifts that bring joy to our world.
Jacqui Markowitz is the Director of Communications for Frame of Mind Coaching. You can reach Jacqui at Jacqui@fom52.com
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