Rudolph’s Red Nose

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Neuro Semantics, NLP, Personal Development

You just can’t miss it; the sights, the sounds, the smells and the feeling of Christmas. There’s Christmas trees everywhere, angels, the colours of red, green and gold, presents, candy sticks, toy drums, colourful lights and of course Santa Claus. These symbols remind us of the approaching celebration and the good news it offers. Then there are the festive carols and songs that we hear at every department store, melodies that we have grown so accustomed to that we miss their meaning. Meanings that can help us gain greater access to the priceless assets of the season.



“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”

 - Norman Vincent Peale


One particular song that we hear so frequently is Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer; bet you have this song before? Have you not? You may just be humming it this very moment: “Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw him, you would even say it glows…” Now the irony is that, many, don’t really know or at least have forgotten the meaning of the song and the heart-warming story behind it. A story that offers a message of hope, a message that reveals the “glad tidings” of the season.


Here’s that story……

Montgomery Ward was a Chicago based mail order department store that used to print colouring books as promotion gifts for kids during the Christmas season; fitting them into Santa’s socks. In 1939 its executives decided that it wanted to do something different, to create a new gift, and so the creative task was passed to its advertising department copywriter, Robert L. May.


Robert L. May began working on a Christmas story for children, drawing upon his own childhood difficulties as its foundation. As a child May knew all too well what it meant to be “different” as, not only was he too small for his age, he was also weak and delicate in nature. Consequently his playmates and friends frequently teased and made fun of him, leaving him an insecure child who felt like an “outcast”.


As an adult, his life was not much different. Unlike many of his college class mates who graduated and got comfortable jobs, Robert L. May did not graduate and became a mere copywriter for Montgomery Ward. The year 1939 was a difficult year for him too, his wife was stricken with terminal cancer and for the past two years all his expenses had been drained off paying for her medical expenses. His situation was further confounded by his worries of losing his job in the Depression that had engulfed the economy at that time. Thus not only was he in depth he was also sad and depressed. Robert L. May, indeed, knew all too well what it meant to be “different”.


Hence he set out to create a character with similar issues but who in the end used his very “difference” as an asset to rise above his problems and be transformed into a hero. He worked on his creation in the office and then came home to get his four old daughter, Barbara involved in creating Rudolph; this helped Barbara deal with the trauma of watching her mother succumb to cancer. At the same time May wanted his daughter to know that, though some creatures of God may appear “strange” and “different”, they nonetheless enjoy unique gifts that make others happy, gifts that can transform their lives!


Written as a short story rhyme, the original story not like the song we hear today had Rudolph as a little reindeer who lived an ordinary life with his parents. He was born with a physical deformity – a BRIGHT RED NOSE. Rudolph’s RED NOSE made him so “different” that even his own parents found him to be an embarrassment! To hide his “difference”, Rudolph wore a covering over his nose but that did not stop him from being taunted, belittled and made fun of by his “normal” reindeer friends. This left Rudolph feeling lonely and pushed aside: an “outcast” who had little or no friends! Nevertheless, instead of dwelling on his “difference”, Rudolph still managed to hold a positive attitude.



“Why am I such a misfit? I am not just a nitwit. Just because my nose glows… why don’t I fit in?”

-Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, the 1964 TV Movie


Rudolph’s big break or “redemptive moment” came when Santa landed his sledge, on Christmas Eve, at Rudolph’s place to deliver presents to him and other reindeers that had been “nice”. Suddenly the weather turned bad, a thick fog descended and by the time Santa had run his errands, the fog had become so dense that Santa found it impossible to take off safely. Not wanting to disappoint millions of children, Santa desperately needed a solution.


At this moment, Santa noticed Rudolph with his RED SHINEY NOSE and asked him to be his lead reindeer, his nose being the solution to the crisis. Rudolph agreed and they were off, guiding Santa safely to every chimney that night regardless of the rain, fog, snow and sleet; nothing bothered Rudolph, for his bright nose penetrated the mist like a beacon! Thus Rudolph’s RED NOSE, his “difference”, became the difference that made the difference. A deformity that brought him ridicules and shame now brought transformation and he became the envy of every buck and doe in the reindeer world! Santa, by noticing, choosing and electing him; alleviated, blessed and made use of an apparent handicap to good use! Needless to say, Santa was grateful and told everyone about how Rudolph had saved the day, saved that Christmas. From that moment, Rudolph became Santa’s lead reindeer! A moment of grace and transformation had happen!


“From what I see now, that will cut through the murkiest storm they can dish up. What I’m trying to say is, Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?

-Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, the 1964 TV Movie


The finished product of Robert L. May in booklet form gained immediate popularity with more than 2.4 million copies distributed during the first year itself. Its popularity continued in the following years and around 6 million copies were distributed from 1939 to 1946! Despite this instant success, Robert L. May, though he was the author, did not enjoy any financial benefits as he was an employee of Montgomery Ward; it was considered “work for hire”.



It was not until 1946 that the copyright of the story was granted to Robert May by Montgomery Ward as a gesture of kindness. It was only then that Rudolph’s story was made into a song by Robert L. May’s brother in law, songwriter Johnny Marks, who developed the lyrics and melody for it. Marks’ musical version of the story was first recorded by Gene Autry in 1949; selling 2 million copies that year itself, making it phenomenal success, coming in  second best to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”! The rest as they say is history. Robert L. May enjoyed the fruits that his reindeer creation provided him and at the same time learned the lesson that, just like his dear friend Rudolph, being “different” can and is a blessing!  Rudolph’s RED NOSE wasn’t so bad after all.


“Our strength grows out of our weaknesses”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


What about you and me? Do we have “Rudolph’s Red Nose”? A handicap, some weakness, a “deformity”, something that we believe puts us at a disadvantage in life, work and relationships? Perhaps we may think that we are not tall enough, too fat,  ugly or dark, not talented enough, born in a poor or disadvantaged family that marginalizes our chances of realizing our dreams and true potential. Perhaps we believe that we lack the needed resources, have been robbed or cheated from a promotion, an inheritance, an opportunity that has permanently set us back. Perhaps we believe that a past trauma or painful experience has robbed us of the opportunity of a bright and happy future, leaving us feeling insecure and uncertain. Do we have “Rudolph’s Red Nose”?  I know that I have a few of them!



“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.”

-Mahatma Gandhi


But here’s the good news of hope and possibility of the season, the story of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer! It is more than a story; it reflects the real life drama of its creator Robert L. May who was “different” and an “outcast”! Just like the election and calling of Rudolph by Santa on a “cold and foggy” night to be his lead reindeer that turned his “disadvantage” into an “advantage”, so too for Robert L. May.


For Robert L. May though, it was not Santa but the touch of the “hidden” hand of the Master that selected him for the creative purpose of coming out with a new Christmas give away for Montgomery Ward. It became the opportunity for him to use his “difference”, his “troubled” childhood experience as the raw material, as the psychological and emotional context, for his creative reindeer story. Hence, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer was born out of the apparent “pain, disadvantage and misfortune” of Robert L. May and it consequently provided him with the break through that revealed the miracle of that Christmas:  that with the touch of the Masters hand, ones higher power or whatever one chooses to call him or her,


“This is the message of Christmas:  We are never alone.”

 - Taylor Caldwell


Throughout history, examples of such transformations are innumerable. Being a cripple did not stop William Shakespeare from writing the finest plays the world has ever seen. Being blind did not stop John Milton from writing “Paradise Lost”, England’s greatest poem. Beethoven was deaf but it never stopped him from composing beautiful music. Renoir painted some of his finest creations with his fingers that were twisted by rheumatism. Handel was paralyzed on his right when he composed his greatest work, “The Hallelujah Chorus”.





“I was slightly brain damaged at birth, and I want people like me to see that they shouldn’t let a disability get in the way. I want to raise awareness – I want to turn my disability into ability.

- Susan Boyle 


Helen Keller was deaf, dumb and blind but with the love and dedication of her nurse, Annie Sullivan, she learned not only to write but talk, becoming a World famous poet, writer and public speaker! The poet Myra Brooks Welch, who wrote the masterpiece, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand”, used to pat the arm of her wheelchair and say, “And I thank God for this!” simply because her tremendous talent lay undiscovered prior to her wheelchair days.


In a mysterious way, the “difference” that all these individuals experienced, “Rudolph’ Red Nose”, became their greatest asset; their “Red Noses” were not removed nor were they “healed” but in a mysterious way, through the touch of the  Master’s Hand, they were  transformed by them. It ultimately brought out the best in them and, like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, their names too have gone down in history!


“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

-2 Corinthians 12:9


If we are courageous enough to take and apply this message of the season, the message seen in the story of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and Robert L. May’s life, to our own “Red Noses”, we may just be enlightened enough to embrace them and recognize in them the opportunity to be transformed. Perhaps this message will challenge our own beliefs about our “Red Noses” and the false, erroneous and toxic meanings we may have developed about ourselves, beliefs that fill us with despair, fear, depression, aggression, anger and resentment, victimhood and self-pity and a sense of learned “helplessness” and “hopelessness”.




Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight.”

-Helen Keller


Perhaps this message from a place that looked “different”, a place for “outcasts”, a place of “shame and worthlessness” by today’s arrogant materialistic standards; a dark, wet, messy and stinking manger that held THE EMBODIMENT of grace, acceptance, love and infinite, inexhaustible and undefeatable hope and possibility that transforms “Red Noses”, awaken in us the realization that our “difference” can be our most precious gifts with the touch of His Hand!


It is this message of the season that I hope to leave you my dear friends, a message that I too need to hear, apply and embrace again and aging.  It promises us “glad tidings” that we can embrace, no matter what our current situation may be.  A message that can be enjoyed and savored by anyone; a message that does not need the “materialistic extras” of our commercialized world for it to be “felt” and experienced!

“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”

-Helen Keller


So, the next time you hear the Christmas song, “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”, remember the message of Robert L. May and the message left behind by countless individuals who’s “Red Noses” became the opportunity for them to be transformed.  Remember especially the Masters Hand, hidden but at work, in their lives which brought about the best in them. God can never be limited by our “Red Noses”!  May you keep this attitude of Christmas alive in every season! 


This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.

- Author Unknown


“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol


My sincere hope is that the song below inspires you and fills you with the hope. A song about how an old and dusty violin, one with a “Big Red Nose”, worthless and “different”, is transformed by the touch of the Master’s Hand.   If it does, do share it with others for the world desperately needs a message of hope, love and possibility! 











Stay committed to transcending, transforming and transferring value back to your world!


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Conrad Rozario is the founder of Alchemy Resources, a cutting edge human potential and peak performance development company in Malaysia. He has more than 15 years experience in people development from the diverse fields of Sales, Marketing, Customer Engagement and Service, Business Management and Talent Development. He is a Certified & Licensed Neuro Semantics and Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP) Trainer from the International Society of Neuro –Semantics,USA, a Master Practitioner in Neuro Semantics and NLP (ISNS,USA) and a Language and Behavior Profiling for Coaching Practitioner. He holds a MBA fromGordon University,Illinois,USA.