Olive, the Other Reindeer is an hour-length animated Christmas television special based on the children's storybook of the same name, written by Vivian Walsh. The special was produced by Matt Groening of The Simpsons fame and Drew Barrymore through her Flower Films production company, and directed by Oscar Moore. Its title (and many of the character names) comes from a mondegreen heard in the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ("all of the other reindeer"). The special first aired on December 17, 1999, on Fox in the USA. It was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming One Hour or More); however, it lost to Walking with Dinosaurs.


SPOILER: Plot details or story follow.

The story follows a dog named Olive, who does not act at all like a dog. When she returns home from some errands, she finds her owner, Tim, putting away Christmas decorations and announcing morosely that there "won't be any Christmas".

Olive eventually finds out that this is because Blitzen, one of Santa's reindeer, is injured and can not fly. Santa hopes he can make the Christmas run with "all of the other reindeer". Mishearing this on the radio as "Olive the other reindeer", Olive becomes convinced that it is she Santa is referring to, prompting her to travel to the North Pole to fill in on the sleigh team. On the way to the bus station, Olive runs into an evil mailman who is fed up with the stress of having to deliver the heavy loads of mail during the Christmas rush. He is vengeful towards Santa for being repeatedly put on his "Naughty" list and is determined to stop Olive from saving Christmas. She then meets Martini, a con artist penguin.

After buying from him a "Rolexxx," Olive goes to the "Mauvehound" bus station to buy a ticket to Arctic Junction. Martini shows up, and Olive buys him a bus ticket out of pity. Before they can leave the station, Olive is captured by the evil mailman, who tells people that Olive is wanted on several counts of mail fraud, such as "licking self-adhesive stamps and not mailing early for the holidays". After pleading to Martini to help her, Martini rolls several pens along the ground, tripping up the mailman. Martini and Olive then catch the bus right before it leaves, with the mailman watching them drive away.

On the bus, Olive and Martini talk to the Eskimos and Richard Stans. They all believe Olive misheard Santa, but wish her luck anyway. The mailman pulls up next to the bus in his mail truck, but Martini fashions a paper airplane out of stationery and throws it at the mailman, knocking him off the road. When they arrive at Arctic Junction, there is a one-hour wait for the next bus, so they go inside the restaurant for some food. After failing to rally everyone to support Olive, they order some food. The group does not know that their waitress is really the mailman, dressed up with a blue wig (and a name-tag that reads "Flo"). The mailman lures Olive outside, saying that Santa is going to give her a flying test. Then, once outside, he throws Olive inside his truck. While he is driving away, Olive finds a package addressed to her from "Deus Ex Machina." The package is a metal file that Olive uses to escape.

Back at the Junction, Richard says he can not give Olive and Martini a ride, because he is needed at the depot, and does not want to lose his job. The two go inside the Top of the World Bar, and are initially harassed by Round John Virgin and Schnitzel, a flightless reindeer. They apologize for their behavior "We're not so Bad" and Round Jon Virgin offers Martini and Olive a ride to the North Pole in his vehicle (named the Polar Express). At the North Pole, Olive is denied entrance to see Santa, but Martini gives the guard a watch as if it was a gift from Santa. When the guard asks Martini to fix it, he says he needs to kill the alarm, because the electromagnetic waves will interfere with the signal from the satellite. Olive digs under the fence, and proceeds to find Santa. She convinces him that the mean letters from children are really from the mailman (no postmark) and is put with the other reindeer to fly Santa's sleigh.

Before they leave, the mailman switches the toy bag with his own bag of junk mail and kidnaps Martini. After the sleigh lands at the first house and realizes what has happened, Olive uses the mailman's scent to catch up with the mail truck. Martini uses a jack-in-the-box to scare the mailman, who hits the window and is knocked unconscious. They retrieve the presents and rescue Martini, and then deliver the presents to the world "Merry Christmas After All." Lost in a fog, Olive guides them back to the North Pole by smelling the gingerbread cookies that Mrs. Claus baked. As a present, Olive is given a pair of antlers to wear. She goes home and makes amends with Tim, who is glad that she does not care if she is different from other dogs.

Meantime, bound with packing tape and cardboard wings, the mailman is put in the penguin exhibit in the zoo in place of Martini, and Martini becomes the new mailman, while everyone enjoys Christmas Day.

Spoilers end here.



Voice actor Character
Drew Barrymore Olive
Dan Castellaneta The Postman
Joe Pantoliano Martini
Ed Asner Santa Claus
Peter MacNicol Fido
Tim Meadows Richard Stands
Jay Mohr Tim
Michael Stipe Schnitzel
Diedrich Bader Zoo Director
David Herman Guard Shack Elf
Tress MacNeille Mrs. Claus
Mrs. Eskimo
News Reporter
Mitch Rouse Round John Virgin
Kath Soucie Rhoda

Ticket Booth Lady

Billy West Mr. Eskimo
Matt Groening Arturo
Danny Jacobs Additional voices


  • Before Santa's sleigh takes off, there's an Air Traffic Control-style scene clearing "Santa One niner niner niner", which means 1999, the year the movie aired on Nickelodeon.
  • The mispelt version of Rolexx appears on Big Ben when Santa's sleigh flies over London.
  • Before they're picked up to go to the North Pole, Olive mentions Deus Ex Machina
  • One or more of the boxes in the mailman's mailtruck reads IRS, which is probably a reference to the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Several references to Christmas songs are made in the film due to misunderstandings with the characters such as the title of the movie, which references the line in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Additionally, the entire story of the movie is based on such a misinterpretation.
  • Towards the end of the movie, one of the reindeer asks Olive if she wanted to joiin their reindeer games. This is another reference to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • Richard Stands' name is based on a misinterpretation of the Pledge of Allegience. Richard even mentions this during the ride to Arctic Junction.
  • When Santa and crew get lost in the fog and need Olive to get them back home, this further references the tale of Rudolph leading the way
  • Fido makes another reference to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer when he's watching Olive on TV. This also foreshadows what Olive is about to do.
  • Godzilla can be seen fighting a robot when Olive and crew fly over Tokyo

External links

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20th Century Fox
Miracle on 34th Street (1955 remake) (1973 remake) (1994 remake) • Die HardDie Hard 2Home AloneHome Alone 2: Lost in New YorkTrapped in ParadiseJingle All the WayHome Alone 4The Family StoneDeck the Halls12 Men of ChristmasHome Alone: The Holiday HeistJingle All the Way 2
Television episodes and specials
Live-action shows
"Dear Dad" • "Dear Sis" • "Death Takes a Holiday" • "All About Christmas Eve" • "Christmas Story" • "Santa Baby" • "Kay's Gift" • "Merry Catnip" • "Christmas Carol" • "Emily" | "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" • "Amends" • "Cookies for Santa" • "The Santa In The Slush" • "A Very Glee Christmas" • "Extraordinary Merry Christmas" • "The 23rd" • "Glee, Actually" • "Santa"
Animated shows and specials
The Simpsons "Simpson Christmas" • "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" • "Marge Be Not Proud" • "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace" • "Grift of the Magi" • "Skinner's Sense of Snow" • "She of Little Faith" • "'Tis the Fifteenth Season" • "Simpson Christmas Stories" • "Kill Gil, Volumes I & II" • "The Fight Before Christmas" • "Holidays of Future Passed" • "White Christmas Blues" • "I Won't Be Home for Christmas • "The Nightmare After Krustmas"
King of the Hill "The Unbearable Blindness of Laying" • "Pretty, Pretty Dresses" • "Hillennium" • "'Twas the Nut Before Christmas" • "The Father, the Son, and J.C." • "Livin' on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane" • "Ms. Wakefield"
Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas" • "The Best Christmas Story Never" • "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever" • "Rapture's Delight" • "A Cleveland Brown Christmas" • "Road to the North Pole" • "For Whom the Sleigh Bell Tolls" • "Murray Christmas" • "Season's Beatings" • "Die Semi-Hard" • "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" • "'Tis the Cleveland To Be Sorry" • "Minstrel Krampus" • "Christmas Guy" • "Dreaming of a White Porsche Christmas" • "The 2000-Year-Old Virgin" • "How the Griffin Stole Christmas" • "Don't Be a Dickens At Christmas"
Bob's Burgers "God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins" • "Christmas in the Car" • "Father of the Bob" • "Nice-Capades" • "The Last Gingerbread House on the Left" • "The Bleakening"
Other cartoons "A Christmas Surprise for Mrs. Stillman" • Olive, the Other Reindeer • "Xmas Story" • "A Tale of Two Santas" • "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular" • Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas