Photos From The #CIJLovesJuly Photo Challenge – #CIJParty 2018

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

During the #EtsyCIJ 2018 event the Etsy Christmas In July team has been hosting a photo challenge.

Many team members shared their photo during day of the challenge. Please join us as we celebrate their photos!

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  1. CIJLovesJuly Photo Challenge 2018
  2. Emily from OrnamentationShoppe Instagram: ornamentationshoppe
  3. zizzybob from zizzybob Instagram: zizzybob
  4. Linda from LindaBrittDesign Instagram: brittdesign2
  5. Heather from MooseintheMint Instagram: mooseinthemint
  6. Cristal from DesignsbyCristal Instagram: Creativedesignsbycristal
  7. Alissa from PoppyAndPeonyDesigns Instagram: poppyandpeonydesigns
  8. Arlene from ThisandThatCrafter Twitter: TandTCrafter 
  9. Britney from LitByBrit Instagram: litbybritmelts


  1. CIJLovesJuly Photo Challenge 2018
  2. Claudia Marie from ClaudiaMarieFelt Instagram: claudiamariefelt
  3. Rebecca from OrnamentsbyRebecca Instagram: ornaments_by_rebecca
  4. Judith from FabriArts Instagram: fabriarts
  5. Clara from elliottsplayground Instagram: elliottsplayground
  6. Diana from joliefemmebydiana Instagram: joliefemmebydiana
  7. Peggy from christmaskeepsakes Instagram: peggyrhuff
  8. Mairi from mairidesign Instagram: mairidesign1
  9. Judy from PiecesOfMePaperCraft Instagram: piecesofmepapercrafts

Thank you so much for joining us on our #CIJLovesJuly photo challenge!

Tutorial – Repurposed Block Stocking Hangers


Shannon from MyTaylorMade creates fantastic instant download PDF’s for sewing patterns, rompers, hats, aprons and many more in her Etsy shop. She also has a creative blog. Here she shares her tutorial on how to create repurposed block stocking hangers! A quick holiday project! Have fun!

Traveling To The Christmas Tree Farm And Picking A Tree

Here’s a very popular family tradition of traveling to the Christmas Tree farm and picking up our very own Christmas trees for the holiday season! Let’s read all about it with Jenn!

JENNIFER Me A Really Long Time Ago“Christmas traditions are something I look forward to every year, that and getting to find (or make) the perfect gifts for everyone. In fact, I am so obsessed with traditions that one of my brothers makes fun of me saying, “If we do it once, it’s a tradition.”

But the rituals of this time of the year bring back so many good memories for me and help me connect with the present and look forward to the future. I often find myself focusing on these types of things to cope with the different stresses and events of my life. The people I’ve lost, the distance between my family back home and where my husband, kids, and I live, and the realities of being a military wife.

One of my absolute favorite traditions is one started by my parents as newlyweds that has continued to the point that now their children are following the tradition with their families! We are from Minnesota, and so we all get bundled up and pick several Christmas cookies from a super-secret stash that has been in the freezer since Thanksgiving.

We then pile in cars and drive up to the same tree farm that they have always gone to and we pick out a tree for each family. This involves lots of running around in the snow (if there is any) playing catch, and discussing the merits of long and short needle trees. Once we find our trees we then use Dad’s saw to cut them down and throw them in the truck, and while the employees of the farm prep our trees for the ride home, we set to completing some other traditions.

JENNIFEROur First Tree In Our New House

Some of us take a look around the little shop they have for our yearly ornaments, while everyone else heads to a picnic table by a little pond with fish to feed. Then, we all sit around eating the first cookies of the season and drinking hot cocoa. Then we head home to put up and decorate our trees.

JENNIFER My Husband & Our First Tree

This was always the official start to the holidays for me growing up, and when I moved away from home to be with my husband, I vowed I would find a way for us to follow the same tradition, even if we couldn’t go to the farm with everyone else.

So we still pick one special day and save our cookies until then, and instead of going to a tree farm we set up and decorate several artificial trees around our home. I usually try to call some of my family. It’s hard to keep it together and not be too sad, but I am always grateful that my husband, kids, and I can be together and still have this tradition, albeit a little different than everyone else.

There is something comforting about knowing that even with miles separating me from my family (and sometimes my husband) that traditions like these still exist and keep us connected. And I suppose, that’s really what I like about traditions at the holidays, the connections we make to each other because of them.”

JENNIFER Baby Bry's First Christmas   JENNIFER Me, Very Excited About My Stocking

Happy Holidays!
From Jenn Fisher And Family


Thank you so much for sharing your Christmas story with us, Jenn.

Go early for your Christmas Trees this year to get the best selection !

Please send some love to our fellow teammie and visit Jenn’s shop at :


Thank you for joining us today. Stay tuned for more Christmas stories to come!

See you next time! – by A Gift Of Nature
Air Plant Terrarium Christmas Ornament A Gift Of Nature

Celebrating Christmas With A German Tradition

Our lovely Teammate Carola is a native from Germany.  Her family moved to California more than 12 years ago. Today, she will share with us her family tradition for this special holiday season. Please sit back and enjoy her story!

Blue December Snowmen Holiday Card from CarolaBartz

Blue December Snowmen Holiday Card from CarolaBartz

“In Germany we celebrate the time of Advent. Most families have an advent wreath, and each Advent Sunday one more candle gets lit until there are four candles on the 4th of Advent.


We also use much of our Christmas decoration during Advent. The little choir singers and the other advent decoration [are] a very traditional decoration. They are made in the Eastern part of Germany , they are all handmade.



The little black choir singers (Kurrendesänger) have been in my family since the early 60’s. We received them when the East was the GDR, and as you can see from the little cracks they were very loved. The cinnamon stars are a traditional and popular Christmas cookie in Germany ; my daughter and I still bake them every Christmas.


[In Germany,] our “big day” is not Christmas Day (and we even have two of them!) but Christmas Eve – Heilig Abend (Holy Eve) as it is called. It usually starts out hectic, often with the last big shopping, because all of the stores and supermarkets will be closed for the following two days. But around 2:00pm the shops (including the grocery stores) close and by 3:00pm at the latest a magical silence covers the entire country like a beautiful veil.

The ideal December 24th brings snow in the afternoon and turns the world into a winter wonderland by the time the first church bells start to ring. On Christmas Eve all the bells are ringing, from the smallest, highest pitch to the biggest one with the deepest, loudest sound.

It’s a concert of bells that resounds through the silence, calling for mass. Christmas services start in the later afternoon, the first ones mainly for smaller children, showing nativity plays and involving the kids. Later in the evening follow the more “grown-up” services with meaningful sermons and the old German Christmas carols sung by the congregation. Everybody knows these songs and since the churches are always packed on Christmas Eve it is a strong and joyful singing.

After church it’s back home – and waiting for Christkind (Christ Child). Yes – it often is not Santa coming through the chimney (there are not that many houses with a fireplace anyway) but Christkind.

Santa Ornament with Vintage Inspired Image from CarolaBartz

Santa Ornament with Vintage Inspired Image from CarolaBartz

When I was a child I always envisioned Christkind with golden curly hair and a flowing white dress, an angelic smile on its face. It would place the presents in “die gute Stube” (“the good room” = living room) and magically disappear, unseen by anyone. The children are called in and they stand in awe looking at the Christmas tree – that was brought in and decorated only the day before (or even in the morning) and very often carries real candles on its branches. I have always loved the real candles, it smells differently and the whole atmosphere is – yes, magical. After singing a few Christmas carols everybody opens their presents accompanied by Christmas music on the radio.

And if you’re still awake or missed the afternoon/evening service you can go to midnight mass – always my favorite Christmas service. A huge tree is lit (some with real candles – we live dangerously in Germany!), the atmosphere is festive and peaceful. ”

It is our “Silent Night, Holy Night”.

Christmas Card Set of 7 - Bethlehem from CarolaBartz

Christmas Card Set of 7 – Bethlehem from CarolaBartz

Many thanks to Carola from Carola Bartz for sharing her family’s Christmas tradition with us! It’s always fun to learn how our favorite holiday is celebrated in other parts of the world. Such a delightful tradition and a story to share with the little ones as well.

Please send some love to our fellow teammie and visit Carola’s shop at :

Starting an Heirloom – Christmas Family Traditions

Christmas in July
Heirlooms and Family Traditions

Do you want to start a family heirloom?  Here’s one idea.

Traditions within families for special holidays such as Christmas seem to come and go.  Some last, others fade with the year.  To kick off this blog, thought it would be fun to see what traditions within your family stayed the test of time.

One thing that comes to mind is for several years, my mother put out two white cotton sheets on the dining table.  The sheets would become tablecloths for my sister and me.  All the family and/or guests were required to draw on the sheets.  (If you do not know how to embroider, you can alter the idea using permanent ink pens.)

We each had a pen with blue ink and each drew something free hand, whatever we wanted. Everyone was included.  Then my mother took the sheets and embroidered them.

One sheet would be for my sister and one would be for me.  It was a labor of love and
we treasure our tablecloths.  Each year we would get to draw another of our drawings
and she would embroider those as well.  We accumulated many drawings and memories
of those who were not with us any longer, and watching the kids grow up, complete
with food stains that would not come out.  It brings a smile to see the love we had
around the table on Christmas Day.  Photos are from 1994.

I have a few snapshots of portions of the finished
tablecloths.  I’ll try to get one this Christmas of a bigger picture.
Right now, the dining room table is the craft table and in  no shape to display a lovely tablecloth.

What family tradition stays in your mind?  If you have children, what would
you like to create for a lasting memory?  I am interested in everyone’s ideas.