Christmas at Miller & Rhoads 
​3 Book Trilogy 

After the turn of the twentieth century, young Bill Strother left the tobacco farms of North Carolina to make a living climbing buildings. He became known as the “Human Spider,” scaling countless structures across the nation. Yet this was just a prelude to his true calling as the Santa Claus at Richmond’s famed Miller & Rhoads department store. As department stores everywhere reached their golden age, Strother became one of the most beloved and sought-after Santas in the nation. Author and former Miller & Rhoads Snow Queen Donna Strother Deekens recounts the amazing history of the Real Santa. 
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Beginning in the 1950s, department stores around the Commonwealth teamed up with rail lines to create a magical Christmas adventure: the Santa Train. Delight-filled children from Richmond and Alexandria to Roanoke flocked to see and ride the trains sponsored by Miller & Rhoads and many others, and greeted by Old Saint Nick himself. Join author and former Miller & Rhoads Snow Queen Donna Strother Deekens, and railroad author Doug Riddell as they recount heartwarming memories of Christmases past and chronicle the history of Virginia’s Kris Kringle trains. 

(Retail: $19.99. Add $5.00 s & h)

151 page, historical narrative. Chapter illustrations by Brenton C. Deekens. Cover Art by Sandra J. Ball

The Christmas season is a time for traditions, and in Richmond, one particular custom reigned supreme: a family outing to Miller & Rhoads department store. There, thousands of smiling faces would be waiting to enter the kingdom of Santaland- an enchanted world marked by glittering snow and intricate train displays. From visits to area hospitals to a young man who demanded only a box of raisins, former Snow Queen Donna Strother Deekens shares her touching and humorous holiday memories from her twenty years in the gown. Kids from one to ninety-two will enjoy reminiscing with characters like the elves, Bruce the Spruce and, of course, Miller & Rhoads's legendary 'real Santa.' Discover behind-the-scenes drama and learn firsthand what it was like to partake in this unforgettable event.

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