Christmas Specials Wiki
Christmas Specials Wiki


Olive, the Other Reindeer is an hour-length animated Christmas television special based on the 1997 illustrated storybook of the same name by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh. Adapted by Steve Young (who won the 2000 Annie Award for Best Writing in a animated TV program), the special was executive produced by Matt Groening through his The Curiosity Company production company and Drew Barrymore through her Flower Films production company, and directed by Oscar Moore. Its title (along with 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.


Olive the other reindeer cast

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 the mean letters from children and 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. Olive explains that Santa gives the people the stuff not because they asked for, but because they deserve. They apologize for their behavior 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 made copy of the children's name by 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. When they get 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 (although it is unknown if the postman went to jail after the events of the film) while everyone enjoys Christmas Day.




  • 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.
  • The misspelled version of Rolexx appears on Big Ben when Santa's sleigh flies over London.
  • Richard Stands' name is based on a misinterpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance ("and to the Republic for which it stands,"). Richard even mentions this during the ride to Arctic Junction, claiming that as a child he believed the Pledge was meant specifically for him.
  • Godzilla can be seen singing with a giant robot when Olive and crew fly over Tokyo.
  • Drew Barrymore‘s first child is also named Olive.
  • There are numerous cultural references:
    • The letter that falls into the Postman's hand in his musical number is addressed by "Bart Sampson".
    • When the Postman disguises himself as a waitress, his name tag reads Flo. This is a reference to Flo from the TV sitcom Alice, whose catchphrase was "Mel, kiss my grits."
    • In the diner, four people who resemble the original Star Trek crew can be seen sitting at the other table.
    • Martini tells Olive he's shaken but not stirred. This is a direct reference to the way James Bond likes his martinis.

Home video releases[]


Voice actor/actress Character(s)
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 characters
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Santa's Reindeer

Dan Castellaneta won the 2000 Annie Award for Best Voice Actor in a Animated TV Program.

External links[]

20th Century
Miracle on 34th Street (1955 remake) (1973 remake) (1994 remake) • Die HardDie Hard 2Home AloneHome Alone 2: Lost in New YorkGeorge Balanchine's The NutcrackerTrapped in ParadiseJingle All the WayHome Alone 4The Family StoneDeck the Halls12 Men of ChristmasHome Alone: The Holiday HeistJingle All the Way 2Home Sweet Home Alone
Television episodes and specials
20th Television
M*A*S*H "Dear Dad" • "Dear Sis" • "Death Takes a Holiday" • "All About Christmas Eve"
Tracey Ullman "Santa Baby" • "Kay's Gift" • "Merry Catnip"
The X Files "Christmas Carol" • "Emily" • "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas"
Malcolm in the Middle "Christmas" • "Christmas Trees" • "Pearl Harbor" • "Hal's Christmas Gift
Bones "The Man in the Fallout Shelter" • "The Santa in the Slush" • "The Goop on the Girl"
How I Met Your Mother "How Lily Stole Christmas" • "Little Minnesota" • "False Positive" • "Symphony of Illumination" • "The Over-Correction" • "The Final Page, Part 1" • "The Final Page, Part 2"
Glee "A Very Glee Christmas" • "Extraordinary Merry Christmas" • "Glee, Actually" • "Previously Unaired Christmas"
New Girl "The 23rd" • "Santa" • "LAXmas" • "Christmas Eve Eve"
The Mindy Project "Josh and Mindy's Christmas Party" • "Christmas Party Sex Trap" • "Christmas" • "When Mindy Met Danny"
Last Man Standing "Last Christmas Standing" • "Putting a Hit on Christmas" • "Elfie" • "Wedding Planning" • "Gift of the Wise Man"
Other shows "Christmas Story" • "The Worst Noel" • "Haus Arrest" • "Amends" • "Blue Christmas" • "A Christmas Story" • "Cookies for Santa" • "In God We Trust" • "Road to Tradition" • "Afternoon Delight" • "Christmas" • "The Glitch That Stole Christmas" • "Secret Santa"
20th Television Animation
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" • "'Tis the 30th Season" • "Bobby, It's Cold Outside" • "The Way of The Dog" • "A Springfield Summer Christmas for Christmas" • "Manger Things" • Feliz Navidad
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" • "Ninety North, Zero West" • "Gifted Me Liberty" • "Don't Be a Dickens At Christmas" • "Santa, Schmanta" • "Christmas is Coming" • "Yule. Tide. Repeat." • "The First No L" • "Christmas Crime" • "The Return of the King (of Queens)" • "Family Guy Christmas for Hulu"
Futurama "Xmas Story" • "A Tale of Two Santas" • "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular" • "I Know What You Did Next Xmas"
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" • "Better Off Sled" • "Have Yourself a Maily Linda Christmas" • "Yachty or Nice" • "Gene's Christmas Break" • "The Plight Before Christmas" • "The Nightmare 2 Days Before Christmas"
Other cartoons "Hook's Christmas" • "A Christmas Surprise for Mrs. Stillman" • Olive, the Other ReindeerIce Age: A Mammoth Christmas • "The War on Grafelnik" • "Miracle on Culpepper Slims Boulevard" • "A Very Solar Holiday Opposites Special" • "Dip the Halls Adventure" • "Xmas with The Skanks Adventure"