What happened to Grandma? The History of ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’

“Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” is a Holiday favorite, but do you know the history?

The song was written by Randy Brooks in 1977.  Brooks played with a band in various nightclubs and often wrote silly songs to make the crowds laugh. When he heard the Merle Haggard song, “Grandma’s Christmas Card”, he decided to try a little dark humor.

“How would a Grandma die at Christmastime? So there was my title line. You know, I thought, get hit by Santa’s sleigh. So, grandma got ran over by a reindeer,” said Brooks (Paul).

The song was preformed by Elmo & Patsy, Elmo Shropshire and Patsy Trig, a husband and wife group. They self-released the song in San Francisco in 1979. Within five years the song was a top hit and being played on the radio everywhere.

Mr. Brooks wrote the song but he does not own it. And while he maybe known as a ‘one hit wonder’, the song ended up making him a lot of money. “It’s paid the college tuition for my two kids,’ said Brooks, a man much in demand for shows at clubs, nursing homes and parties in December” (Richter).

So I ask you, Did Grandma get ran over by a reindeer? What do you think?


“Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, by Elmo & Patsy”.

Paul, J. (2015). “The Story Behind, ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”.

Richter, M. (2015). ‘Grandma Got Run Over’ Catchy Tune Was No Reindeer Game for Writer”.

This blog-post was written by the Teen Department “Grandma”, Miss Shirley. Be sure to drop by The Edge to visit with her soon!

“Grandma”, Miss Shirley, loves trying new things. Here, Josh is teaching her to play Fortnite.

Share this Post