Antlers are everywhere you look in the home of Betty Rose Nagle. Photo by Lynae Sowinski


Antlers are Betty Rose Nagle’s passion. The retired professor of classical studies at Indiana University has hundreds of antlered objects in every shape and form that emerge each December from their basement “stable” in her South Park Avenue home.

“I call them reindeer but actually there are lots of moose and some elk as well,” she explains. “Deciding where I will put them each year is the way I ‘play’ with them and inaugurate the holiday season.”

Her collection, ranging from giants to miniatures, includes Lenox china, folk art, battery-operated toys, souvenirs from her travels, the weird and bizarre and the tacky (e.g. a Styrofoam alien with twigs for antlers). They perch on her mantel and shelves and on every available surface. Some light up and others play seasonal tunes such as “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”

Nagle also wears antlered earrings, pins, shirts, and vests and collects placemats, napkins, serving plates, cookie jars, oven mitts, dish towels, and fridge magnets. Guests to her home are greeted by a doormat of Santa and his sleigh, a six-foot pump-inflated Merry Christmas sign, and a whirligig with four head-shaking reindeer holding carol books.

If it has antlers, defined by Webster as “the branched deciduous horn of an animal,” Nagle wants it. “There is no such thing as too tacky,” she says.