Red Nose Reindeer Teaches Holiday Lessons on Bullying: Guest Article by Elizabeth Nisperos

South San Francisco, CA  December 30, 2023 by Elizabeth Nisperos

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

What lessons did you learn these holidays?


One of the famous songs during the Holiday Christmas season is Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Prancer, Cupid, Dancer, Dasher, Comet, Donner, Vixen , Blitzen but most of us know Rudolph is the most famous of all the reindeers.

I’d been singing the song about Rudolph since I was a kid but never critically analyzed the lyrics , until the pandemic from 2019. I realized that our beloved hero Rudolph was a victim of bullying and marginalized by his peers.

Here are parts of the lyrics by Robert May, “All of the other reindeers used to laugh and call him names. “

It seemed the flock of reindeers mocked, laughed, called him names or spew out labels because Rudolph didn’t looked like a ‘normal’ reindeer ; he had big red nose that glowed and burned with light. In real life, all of us had experienced how it feels to be mocked or laughed at or being the receiving end of labels if you’re a square peg in a circle; examples (no matter what you do, you’re not good enough, stupid, loser, not up to par, a disgrace, an embarrassment, fat slob). These labels can impact a sensitive person with lifelong wounds especially coming from authoritian source such as parents, teachers or from siblings , peers, classmates. Labels aim to make you feel small and humiliated with insulting words.

The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “When you label me, you negate me.” because you really don’t know the other person’s spirit.

Words have a lot of power. Words can make a person’s day, or send one to depression. Death and Life have power on how you use the words

“Proverbs 18:21:Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.“

John Gospels, Christmas holidays are because of the Word:

“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. “

“They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.”

Rudolph was not invited to join games . It also meant he was excluded to participate in other activities. The feeling of being excluded resonates with a lot us. Example (not invited to sit at lunch table because you’re not “IN’” but out, the last one chosen to be on the team because of your size and strengh, not invited to a party because you don’t belong, not rich enough, not smart enough, not pretty or handsome enough.)

Noemi Nisperos hosted the clan Christmas Eve party

Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winner physicist in an interview after he won the prize said he didn’t like honors because he remembered his high school days when his first honor was a membership in the prestigious Arastar(sp?) because of his good grades but later he was disappointed when he found out all they discussed during the meeting was who to exclude and who to allow IN “who was worthy to join our wonderful group” and later he resigned from the National Academy of Sciences because in most meeting they discussed “who was most illustrious to join the organization.” Feynman said his honor was the pleasure of discovery and knowing people used his discoveries in their work.

Don’t underestimate people, they might turn up big winners.

As story goes on, the powerful Santa Claus who can create any gift with the snap of his fingers found out on Christmas Eve was a dark foggy night and he needed light to lead his sleigh. Guess who he was going to call? Rudolph, the lowly one whom the herd made fun of, the one who didn’t belong , the overlooked was the CHOSEN one. Rudolph got what it takes —a big glowing red nose flashlight. And as the story ends , all the reindeers later loved him. For a mission to get accomplished, you need to use everyone’s unique talent and skill.

Rudolph must have taken Maslow’s psychology course. Rudolph was a self-actualizing reindeer who knew who he was from inside his spirit for a self-actualized being doesn’t go after the good opinions of others and external data. Hence , a self-actualized person doesn’t get easily offended by harsh external opinions. Rudolph showed no bitterness nor resentment for he took Santa’s offer immediately. Nor he sought revenge against his bullying peers. Rudolph was forgiving.

Rudolph showed patience and perseverance by waiting for the time when his unique talents can be of use. Never look down on a skinny nerd with eyeglasses even if he is sports clumsy, one day he might be an inventor worth billions, he might own your sports franchise. Never look down on a janitor, he might win the lottery and buy the entire building; never look down on a secretary, one day she might marry the boss.

Robert L May created the story for kids in 1939 as a Montgomery Ward store Chicago based employee. It became very popular as a song lyric sung by Gene Autry.

The author considers herself as Nice until proven Naughty beyond reasonable doubt scientifically.

Please listen to this link Gene Autry sing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and hope you’re careful with your words. 


Christmas tree at SSF Basque Cultural Centre restaurant entrance

Painting and Christmas Wreath decorations at SSF Basque Cultural Centre wall


About Elizabeth Nisperos

Elizabeth Nisperos’ is a long-time resident of South San Francisco and a lover of the arts and a regular contributor to Everything South City. A former Commissioner of our Cultural Arts Board, Nisperos’ love of beauty spans from the visual, written word, and song. She is an award-winning Calligraphist, among many other disciplined talents.

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3 months ago

Oh yes, I always thought Rudolph was quite the bullying song. But upon further listening, I’m sad to ponder that the reindeers would Not be happy for Rudolph being chosen the head reindeer, as the song indicates. In today’s world, they probably would have been jealous and hateful and bully the poor guy even more. I hope not. This song is a good lesson for us all. Peace to all.

Anonymous Anonymous
Anonymous Anonymous
3 months ago

Thank you Ms Nísperos for addressing this important subject of Bullying that yes, very much indeed, leads a person to deep depression and in severe cases, suicidal thoughts.

“Death and Life are in the power of the tongue”
Abuse of power, narcissists and bullies are unfortunately protected and covered up in adult places and only addressed at schools, punishing the bully for their actions, rather than addressing the underlying issue in hopes that these individuals don’t continue their aggressive behavior and narcissism.

I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment that this type of wound does indeed last a lifetime and is constantly very much part of a person’s life in daily activities or relationships.. Mental abuse and trauma afterwards is very difficult to deal with, especially when there is absolutely no help around, nowhere, no matter how much advertisement there is, when doors are constantly being closed when seeking help.

Making excuses for Bullies who are fueled with jealousy, the narcissists fueled by power trips, the manipulators fueled by control, in mentioning that the receiving ends are “sensitive” is highly hurtful and insensitive. Too many times, we are told “we are too sensitive” as a justification for the aggressors.

If lucky, we eventually find our voice and then, either we are silenced or fear takes over.
It’s a life long punishment.
Our medical system excludes many of us from available help and attention.
We’re told to remain silent or taught to keep quiet, by the people who should be there to protect us. We are taught to protect the Bullies, while the Bullies continue to paint false narratives to protect themselves.
We are also told “forget about all that.”

Words definitely do have a lot of power and do make a difference. It takes an entire village to understand Bullying and the damage it causes and that it is absolutely not limited to school playgrounds. A person’s “sensitivity” level is absolutely not a justification for mental and emotional abuse.
Overcoming bullying can definitely make a person stronger, but adults, just as much, children, need a village.

Unless there are laws against bullying and protections, there is little to no likelihood people on their own will change or care about the lifelong and severe damages they cause to others. They will continue to be protected and rewarded. The victim will always be the problem (for reporting etc),


Anonymous Anonymous
Very lucky and grateful to God, family and friends for continued Life.
Through this New Life, have once again found hidden Mission & Voice, but still very much limited through Fears, so disheartening begging for professional help, while bullies have full system support and protections.

Our God is our Savior against all evil
Praying for a kind World

– Anonymous Anonymous