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Another Scary Christmas Story: Better Watch Out, Rudolph


You know what the old song says, Rudolph and his reindeer pals are guiding Santa Claus on his journey to deliver presents to children all around the world. But around one Oklahoma family, it may be wise for Rudolph to exercise caution. You'll find out why in this story from listener Lindsey Davidson. It's one of the responses you sent us when we asked you to send us your scary family Christmas stories.


LINDSEY DAVIDSON: I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma. I'm the oldest of four children. I have two brothers and a sister. And my dad specifically loves deer hunting. I vividly remember Christmas Eve, we would lay out cookies for Santa Claus. We would make homemade gingerbread cookies. And then we would put on our coats and our shoes. We would go outside and sprinkle alfalfa hay with a little glitter so Rudolph and the reindeer could have a snack. As we would walk back inside and my dad would be walking down the staircase holding a shotgun, and he would inform us that he was, in fact, going to stay up all night waiting for Rudolph.

In our house, we have a lot of white-tailed deer mounted on the wall. And he joked that we would wake up the next morning and Rudolph would be mounted on the wall. Honestly, I'm not sure what made my dad, you know, create this act, this theater production Christmas Eve. It's a little weird but, man, he sure created a vivid Christmas memory for us. It was very scary for a large part of my childhood.


JOHNNY LONG: You know, you're trying to get the kids off to bed, right? They would be playing with toys on Christmas Eve and you're trying to put stuff together for them, new toys, all the rest of the gifts wrapped. And I'd say, well, if y'all don't hurry up and get off to bed, I'll bring down a shotgun, lean it up against the door. I said, I'll just shoot Rudolph.

DAVIDSON: There are three of us at the time that were children - of me my siblings. We'd be sobbing.

LONG: The youngest daughter was Lauren (ph). She was crying laying on the floor, flailing her arms and kicking her legs telling me, no, not to shoot the reindeer. She didn't think she was going to get any presents left if I killed Rudolph.

DAVIDSON: And then me, I was like, oh, my gosh, there's not going to be any toys for all the children across the world. It's all going to be my fault because my dad shot Rudolph.

LONG: (Laughter) Well, I thought it was funny at the time. I didn't know I traumatized them.

DAVIDSON: It's just so sad. And Christmas is such a happy time. And it's just so weird to think that your dad is joking about shooting Rudolph and ruining Christmas for all the children in the world.

LONG: I still think it's funny, though. I had forgot all doubt about it. But I got them to bed it so I could get the rest of the work done before Christmas morning, so that's what I was after. I did not shoot Rudolph, but I've killed a lot of deer. Merry Christmas to you.

SUAREZ: That was Johnny Long (ph) of Pawhuska, Okla., explaining his classic technique for getting the kids to go to bed on Christmas Eve. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").