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Linda Miller, in front of her Sherman Street Southeast home in Decatur, says it took her about two weeks to construct and paint the reindeer figures.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Linda Miller, in front of her Sherman Street Southeast home in Decatur, says it took her about two weeks to construct and paint the reindeer figures.

RUDOLPH WAS MISSING OUT
Reindeer games
Art teacher sets up elaborate
Christmas display

By Kristen Bishop
kbishop@decaturdaily.com 340-2443

Ever wonder what Rudolph was missing when the other reindeer didn't let him join in their reindeer games?

Linda Miller, an art teacher at Leon Sheffield and Benjamin Davis elementary schools, imagines the reindeer were competing in Olympic events like rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming and sumo wrestling.

When Rudolph isn't allowed to join in any 'Reindeer Games,' Linda Miller imagines the animals are competing in Olympic events like synchronized swimming and beach volleyball, which her Christmas display depicts.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
When Rudolph isn't allowed to join in any "Reindeer Games," Linda Miller imagines the animals are competing in Olympic events like synchronized swimming and beach volleyball, which her Christmas display depicts.
Miller has set up an elaborate Christmas display, titled "Reindeer Games," depicting Santa's pets playing their favorite sports at her home at 414 Sherman St. S.E.

The festive display stands out in the historic Albany district where most houses are decorated with traditional greenery and conservative white lights.

"I consider myself a nonconformist," said Miller. "I just enjoy doing something different. I used to do everything traditional, but I never won any awards and thought that maybe I should try to do something funny."

Awards are presented to the best-decorated homes in Decatur's two historic districts each year. Miller's home won an honorable mention award this year. It's the first award she has received since moving to the neighborhood 11 years ago.

She said she got the idea from her boyfriend, who had two mounted deer heads from hunting trips.

"We tossed around a few ideas that we could use them for like 'Santa's Second Tier' or 'Reindeer Hall of Fame,' but this was a lot tamer," said Miller.

The two mounted deer heads on the first-floor windows are decorated as a beach volleyball player and a weightlifter. There are five other athletic reindeer that Miller drew and painted.

Miller said it took her about two weeks to construct and paint the figures and decorate her home.

This isn't the first year Miller has set up a quirky, humorous Christmas display. Last year, the theme was Elvis' Blue Christmas, complete with a blue Elvis Santa and two hound dogs pulling his sleigh.

Though she didn't receive an award from the district committee last year, she made her own award titled "Best Use of a Cultural Icon."

In case her home wasn't honored this year either, she gave herself the "Overall Excellence in Traditional Wonderland Sports Fantasy" award. Another sign in her yard assures passersby that "no animals were harmed in the making of these decorations."

Many families touring the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights have stopped in front of her home to take pictures, and some have knocked on her door to express their appreciation, said Miller.

She said she will leave the display up until New Year's Day.

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