Neighborhood Santa brings North Pole to Austell
AUSTELL, Ga. -- At first glance, it may look like Santa's famous home. But in reality, this heavily-decked holiday house is located just a few miles outside of metro Atlanta.
Eighteen years ago, Richard Ellis jokingly told his wife he'd like a Santa costume for his birthday, saying if he received one, he would sit outside on the porch and greet children. His wife, Joyce, accepted the challenge; Ellis received the costume.
His began in a rocking chair outside of his front door. As more and more children began to visit, he traded the chair in for a sleigh and beefed up the outside decorations.
Now, the bright house on Brookwood Drive is almost legendary in Austell. Ellis says as it gets closer to Christmas, he is likely to see dozens of children in a given night.
"I've been doing this for so long, I've watched some of the kids grow up and they come back and bring their children," he laughed.
He says drivers will often stop to take pictures or even get out and look at the display.
The display itself is a grand one; it takes about a month to set up and includes inflatables, moving reindeer and a yard full of lighted trees, angels, signs and candles.
Ellis said he does it so children will continue to believe in Christmas.
"I'll keep doing it as long as I can," he said. "It's one of the best things I could do."