He’s been driving eight reindeer across the Christmas night sky since 1823, when a poem by Clement C. Moore “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (also known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”) appeared. Rudolf was added in 1923 in a poem by Robert L May. But time and technology have moved on . . .
Dear Father Christmas, a word in your ear:
It’s time you stopped using those worn-out reindeer.
Old Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen
And Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen
Have whizzed round the globe, led by Rudolph’s red nose,
Delivering presents, as every child knows,
Each dark Christmas night for year after year;
But it’s getting too much for them now, Sir, I fear.
I know they don’t use hydrocarbon-based fuel,
And I’m sure that you really don’t mean to be cruel,
But by my calculations, the speed that you need
Is nought point nine seven percent of light’s speed*.
It’s not fair to those animals to fly them so fast:
Retire them, Sir, now. Please make this year their last.
Replace them with a Warp Drive (from Star Trek Online);
Send your reindeer to live their last days on Cloud Nine.
* According to Tom Chivers, in The Telegraph, 20 December 2013