The Horror Honeys: “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” – Or Did She?!

“Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” – Or Did She?!

An Investigatory Holiday Honey Jam by Sci-Fi Honey Katie!

It began with a tweet – a benign observation about the possibility of something sinister in the subtext of the holiday-kitsch earworm by Elmo & Patsy, 1979’s “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”  What REALLY happened to Grandma?  Was she the victim of a freak killer-Claus accident, or is there something more malicious lurking in the family portrayed in the song?  Let’s take an in-depth look at the tragic story being described in the lyrics, and figure it out for ourselves…

Grandma got run over by a reindeer

Walking home from our house Christmas eve.
You can say there's no such thing as Santa,
But as for me and Grandpa, we believe.

It is here we are introduced to the narrator of the song, and he’s the grandchild of the Grandma/victim.  His being a grandchild points to his youthful innocence and naiveté, still believing in Santa Claus – but why would Grandpa still believe?  Because Santa is a convenient scapegoat for his devious plan, perhaps?

She'd been drinking too much egg nog,

And we'd begged her not to go.
But she forgot her medication,
And she staggered out the door into the snow.

I am appalled at this family’s behavior: Grandma is intoxicated and missing what appears to be vital medication, and all you can do is ask her not to leave.  You don’t have to physically restrain her, but you could at least watch to make sure demented, confused Granny doesn’t unlock the door and go out to die of exposure in a severe snowstorm.  Since she lives in walking distance, you could’ve easily had a family member escort her home.  It seems as though this family had little to no concern for Grandma’s wellbeing from the get-go.

When they found her Christmas morning,

At the scene of the attack.
She had hoof prints on her forehead,
And incriminating Claus marks on her back.

Any well-trained forensics expert might give this scene a second look.  If Grandma had been knocked to the ground by the hooves of an airborne reindeer, she’d have fallen on her back.  Since Grandma has blunt-force injuries on both her head and back, she was clearly the victim of a savage beating.  But who could have perpetrated this heinous attack… ?

Now we're all so proud of Grandpa,

He's been taking this so well.
See him in there watching football,
Drinking beer and playing cards with cousin Mel.

At the very least, Grandpa’s behavior is suspicious – and at most, he’s guilty of a vicious spousal homicide.  With Granny out of the picture, he can drink beer and watch football at his leisure, playing footsie with cousin Mel under the card table. Hey, this family already has callous disregard for Grandma – I wouldn’t put it past them to be lecherous as well.  

It's not Christmas without Grandma.

All the family's dressed in black.
And we just can't help but wonder:
Should we open up her gifts or send them back? (send them back!)

Thank goodness that chorus of backup singers – the conscience of the song? – tells the family to send Grandma’s presents back.  The thought actually crossed their sick minds to further reap the benefits of her passing by opening all her gifts.  They are probably all fighting over who gets what in her Will.

Now the goose is on the table

And the pudding made of fig.
And the blue and silver candles,
That would just have matched the hair in Grandma's wig.

How sweet of you to think of her as you stuff your faces with a Christmas feast.

I've warned all my friends and neighbors.

"Better watch out for yourselves."
They should never give a license,
To a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves.

Your friends and neighbors now all think you’re batshit insane for suggesting that Grandma’s demise was perpetrated by St. Nick, and they’re eyeing Grandpa as closely as Kevin was eyeing Old Man Marley in Home Alone.

Grandma got run over by a reindeer,

Walking home from our house, Christmas eve.
You can say there's no such thing as Santa,
But as for me and Grandpa, we believe.
Merry Christmas!

‘Merry Christmas’, indeed.  At least, it was for Grandpa.