As December comes ’round again, mailboxes and email inboxes are filled with holiday greetings. These cards may feature images of rabbits hiding beneath snow-covered boughs, puppies snoozing beside a bright hearth, or kittens playing with tinsel on the lower branches of Christmas trees. Christmas and animals go together as perfectly as Christmas and eggnog and big red bows.
Yet here’s a thought experiment: What animal do you first think of when you think of Christmas? Since Santa Claus has practically cornered the market on seasonal holiday decor, the answer for most people would likely be reindeer—Santa’s faithful “steeds.” And what better way to represent these cheerful creatures than with your own life-sized, giant reindeer?
When Christmastime rolls around in the United States, a favorite activity everywhere is to walk or drive around the neighborhood and admire the seasonal decorations that people have put up around their homes and workplaces. These may include lifesize (or near-lifesize) outdoor Nativity sets, which may be endearingly simple or they may be beautifully complex—but almost invariably draw the most attention.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a major city, chances are you may be able to view some truly extravagant Nativity scenes that are works of art in themselves (and for that reason they may not necessarily be located outdoors). For example, New York City’s Radio City Music Hall and the Rockettes have made a tradition of presenting a “Living Nativity” performance as part of their annual Christmas Spectacular: