The Christmas season is a time for traditions, and in Richmond, one particular custom reigned supreme: a family outing to Miller & Rhoads department store. For more than fifty years, this beautiful tradition graced downtown Richmond, delighting visitors of all ages. Whether you are a long-time resident of Richmond or newer to this area, you will not want to miss this very special program just before we take a summer break.

Our guest speaker will be the former Snow Queen, Donna Strother Deekens, who enjoyed this role from 1971-1989 at Miller & Rhoads and then from 1990-1991 at Thalhimers. Donna is the owner and party director of a traveling tea party business, Teapots, Treats & Traditions. A graduate of Westhampton College of the University of Richmond, she has performed professionally as an actress, soloist, entertainer and public speaker. In addition, she has held positions in public relations, marketing and fundraising for governmental, corporate and nonprofit organizations. Most recently, Donna has enjoyed spending time as a free-lance writer and is the auther of four books, Christmas at Miller & Rhoads: Memoirs of a Snow Queen ($17); Virginia’s Legendary Santa Trains ($20; co-authored with Doug Riddell), The Real Santa of Miller & Rhoads: The Extraordinary Life of Bill Strother ($20) and Santaland: A Miller & Rhoads Christmas ($18; a book for children with color illustrations). Donna and her husband, Bill, have two grown sons, Brent and Greg, and a devoted dog named Missy. the program, Donna will have books available for purchase and will be happy to sign them. In addition, other goodies such as prints and notecards will also be available. Purchases can be made with cash, check, “swipe” debit card (not “chip” cards) or major credit cards. The first three books may be purchased for a package price of $54. Only a few copies of “Santaland” remain and you may pre-order this book by calling the church office.

Make plans now to join us and invite a friend to come along for this very special program! If you are not part of our PrimeTimers group, please call the church office (320.2269) to make a reservation. As always, lunch follows the program ($5 per person). If you happen to have photos that were taken at Miller & Rhoads or Thalhimers, please consider bringing them to share your special memories around the lunch table.