Reading Reindeer OrnamentBecause Bas Bleu’s customers are awesome, helpful people, we received quite the flurry of correspondence after our Autumn 2014 issue debuted. Mostly you told us that you loved the new books and gifts we chose for the catalog. But several eagle-eyed readers pointed out what you feared was an editing mistake on our part: referring to our Reading Reindeer Ornament as a “she.” If there’s one thing we remember from childhood—thank you, Julie Andrews!—it’s that a doe is a deer, a female deer. But how, you asked, can our hooved bibliophile be a doe when she has antlers? 

As it turns out, unlike most other deer, male and female reindeer grow (and regrow) antlers each year. Both genders begin growing their antlers in the spring, according to the experts over at the San Diego Zoo, but male reindeer typically drop theirs in November or early December, while females keep their antlers through the winter. The University of Alaska Fairbanks (they would know!) reports that the females hang onto their antlers longer to give them an “advantage over food resources” during pregnancy and after their calves are born.

You know what this means, don’t you? Santa’s “eight tiny reindeer” are probably girls! (They’re also probably Norwegian, but that’s a blog post for another day.) It is possible that Santa’s team is a guys-only troupe, but for reasons they may not appreciate: Male reindeer who retain their antlers through December 25 have likely been relieved of other, um, key appendages.

We hope this explanation clears things up a bit—or at least imparts an interesting piece of Christmas trivia. Many thanks to those of you who wrote in with your query; it’s a good thing to have readers who keep us on our toes!