Thank You For Coming To The Etsy Christmas In July Party 2017 – #CIJParty 2017

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Good night everyone! Thank you for joining us today for the #CIJParty 2017 here on the Etsy Christmas In July blog!! It was a really fun day in the sun!

I am Michelle, the captain of the Christmas In July team and I was your host for the day! 

Here is a brief recap of the days activities!

Party Schedule

We’ll be having new blog articles, guest blog articles, and tutorials posted all day for your crafting and learning convenience and excitement! Here’s the party schedule!

Musical Introduction by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Food And Drink by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Swag Bag by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Dawn of DeeDeeDeesigns

Tutorial: Wooden Christmas Ornaments by Megha of byTheArtBug

Christmas Back To Front And Upside Down by Jessica of GusandOllie

Christmas Decor by Judith of FabriArts

Greenery – Pantone Color Of The Year 2017 by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Christmas Movie Ideas by Julie of EveryoneLovesGifts0

Tutorial: Travel Utensilo by Barbara of MermaidsHatbox

What #EtsyCIJ Means To You by Alicia of AliciasFindings

Tree Decorations by Julie of EveryoneLovesGifts0

Holiday Jewelry by Sheila of BeadyEyedBird

Christmas Around the World by Alicia of AliciasFindings

Tutorial: Boho Christmas Tassel Swag by Marijean of MariMartiDesigns

Christmas Wish List by Alicia of AliciasFindings

Thank You Etsy On Sale: EOS by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Swag Bag

Let’s face it, besides the food and the friends, the best part of the party is the goodie bag! We’ve pulled together a fun download bundle of projects and printables as a ‘thank you’ for stopping by today.

Thank you Dawn of DeeDeeDeesigns for curating our swag bag today! Dawn is a member of the CIJ leadership team, writes for our blog, and is a swag bag expert! The Swag Bag printables were created by CIJ team members Kelly of ColourscapeStudios, Megha of byTheArtBug, Christine of cwagenblass9, and Mary of StockLaneStudio.

There is a swag bag waiting for you!

Click here for your Swag Bag!

Tell Your Friends

Even though we’re wrapping (Christmas wrapping) up our day the great benefit of a blog is that this day will forever be on our blog!

The official hashtag for this year’s party is #CIJParty and if you’re partying with us today, we’d love to see you! Be sure to use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Are you new to social media? Don’t be shy! We look forward to getting to know you! Being at a party is all about interacting and developing relationships!

Go Shopping

Many of our Etsy Christmas in July members are partying along with us by offering some sweet sales. Think of this as our version of hitting the snack bar!

When you use the Etsy search bar search Christmasinjuly or CIJ. So many fantastic deals from fantastic shops during #EtsyCIJ 2016.

We are excited to share unique items directly from creative people around the world!

Popular Items For Christmas In July

Many shops are using the universal coupon code – EtsyCIJ17 – so please watch for coupon codes before you check out.

Other shops have already reduced their prices and their items are as marked.

Now, I’M JUMPING IN THE POOL!

Michelle-

Thank You Etsy On Sale: EOS – #CIJParty 2017

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

I want to take a moment today to thank Mitsu, Jason and Cameron from Etsy On Sale!

They have been a tremendous partner during our annual Etsy Christmas In July event for the past several years!

Etsy On Sale has been helping Etsy shops easily run sales and promote their shops since 2010.

Please check out their site to support them!

Etsy On Sale

Etsy On Sale

Christmas Around the World – #CIJParty 2017

Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings

Christmas is one of those holidays in which there are so many little pieces that combine that make this one day so amazing! One thing that we love to focus on in this team is that we are international.

For our #CIJParty we want to know all about Christmas in your part of the world! What are the traditions or customs in your part of the world?

Elena Kulanina from KNOTandLiving says:

Hello everyone! I will be happy to tell you about Christmas in Belarus and other Eastern European countries as it is a little bit different from other places.

Christmas in our country is normally celebrated on January 7th. This is simply due to a difference in calendars.

This is very intimate holiday in our country. People celebrate it only with family and close friends.

Some people fast (don’t eat anything) on Christmas Eve, until the first star has appeared in the sky. People then eat ‘sochivo’ or ‘kutia’ a porridge made from wheat or rice served with honey, poppy seeds, fruit (especially berries and dried fruit like raisins), chopped walnuts or sometimes even fruit jellies! Kutia is sometimes eaten from one common bowl, this symbolizes unity.

There are special Christmas cookies called Kozulya which are made in the shape of a sheep, goat or deer.

In some areas, children will go carol singing round the homes of friends and family and wish people Happy Christmas. They are normally rewarded with cookies, sweets and money. This tradition is called “Svyatki”.

KNOTandLiving

KNOTandLiving

Gail Gismondi from kensingtonminiatures says:

I have always loved hearing about the ways people celebrate holidays across the world. Although there are many differences, the thing that joins us all as a world community is the spirit of camaraderie and warmth. Thank you for your interesting post, Elena.

In America, children traditionally leave out cookies and milk or hot chocolate for Santa in anticipation of his arrival on Christmas Eve.

kensingtonminiatures

kensingtonminiatures

Holiday Jewelry – #CIJParty 2017

Contributor Post by Sheila and Shannon from BeadyEyedBird 

Holidays in the winter season, including Christmas, can be an opportunity for such happy times. And those of us who like to decorate ourselves as well as our homes and trees often do this with special jewelry. We asked our teamies to share their favorites in this regard, so we can draw inspiration from their holiday jewelry celebrations!

For all those “little black dress” occasions around the holidays, I love to throw on a long, graceful statement necklace that adds a festive, swingy pop of color and sparkle to the clean look of the little black dress! This one pairs FABULOUSLY with a pencil shaped black dress to add a swingy, slimming line of shimmer in festive greens and golds! The tassel screams party while still maintaining a polished and put-together look!

marti

Green Beaded Fringe Necklace with Tassel, Jewelry Long Necklace Lucky Green Tassel Necklace Gold Green Tassel, Sari silk tassel jewelry

How about some ” fire and ice ” earrings for the holidays with creamy crystals and wonderful red tassels in leather:

red tassel

Red faux leather tassel gold tone earrings – creamy crystals dangles – light weight – classic design – 2 inch long – vacation -resort wear

I love Christmas (it is summer at Christmas for me!). These drop bead earrings are great to wear out to parties!

blue bead earrings

Blue bead earrings, two tone dangle earrings, green, Birthday gift idea, pierced earrings, hook earrings

I love to decorate myself at Christmas as well as my house/tree, and green is my favourite Christmas colour. These earrings made with upcycled buttons and beads are a great festive accessory, and can be custom made in different colours.

green button

Earrings Green and Silver Upcycled Dangle – Button Jewellery – Christmas Jewellery – St Patricks Jewelry – Vegan Jewellery

Christmas for me is about shiny & sparkling things, like golden glitter in the x-mas tree or sparkly decorations on the table. This piece from my store is the most sparkly of all and it makes a lovely Christmas gift!

blue crystal 2

SALE Spirit Quartz Druzy Gold Dipped Necklace

Gillian Haqqani from Gillisflowers said:

I love Christmas carols and I always love to listen to the Carol service from Kings College. I used to sing in a choir and one year had the priviledge of doing the solo first verse of Once in Royal David’s City so it has to be these musical angel earrings.

music earrings

Musical christmas angel earrings, angel earrings, guardian angel, origami angel earrings, recycled paper, vintage sheet music, Christmas

Natalia from KMalinkaVintage said:

It would be a wonderful Christmas Gift for women these gorgeous Vintage 40s crystal neckalce and bracelet set.

wedding

Vintage 1940s Necklace and Bracelet Set Crystal and Ruby Art Deco Wediing Jewelry

Carol Braden-Williams from SilverTrove said:

How about a renaissance style ruby statement ring for all those holiday parties and gatherings!

ruby

Renaissance Style Lab Ruby Ring, Sterling Silver Ruby Ring, Size 6 Ring, Ornate Gemstone Ring, Ruby Engagement Ring, July Birthstone Ring

Desert Dabbler from DesertDabbler said:

To celebrate CIJ I made two holiday bracelets. I used Kumihimo, a Japanese braiding technique, and seed beads. Here’s one of them:

christmas bracelet

Christmas Bracelet – CIJ – Kumihimo Braided Bracelet – Red Gold Green Bracelet – Holiday Jewelry – Christmas in July – Long Bracelet

Batul from GalantaJewels said:

I would choose this elegant green onyx necklace. I think it’s both fun and glamorous and is a perfect compliment to the season!

green

Green Onyx Necklace, Statement Necklace, Green and Gold, Mother of the Bride Gift, Emerald Green Necklace, Gemstone Necklace, Gift for Mom

Well, this pin isn’t for everyone, but we think it’s funny! (Don’t wear it to Grandma’s house!)

dirty santa

Vintage Suggestive Pinback Button Metal “Wanna Make Me Merry?” Funny Gag Gift Unisex Holiday Jewelry Retro Pin

Connie Lee from Bungalow42 said:

The perfect earrings for that little black holiday dress!

snake

Vintage Black Aluminum Snake Skin Hoop Earrings

JO from alustrousjewellery said:

I love angels, there is some thing reassuring about them, one of my favourite songs is Amy Grant, Angels watching over me.

angel

Angel, Sterling Silver Angel Necklace, Sterling Silver Christmas Necklace, Sterling Silver Angel Heart Necklace, Gold Angel Necklace

Until next time,

Sheila

Tree Decorations – #CIJParty 2017

Post contributor from Julie at EveryoneLovesGifts0

When it comes to Christmas time everyone loves to decorate their tree. I know when I was younger I was not allowed to decorate the tree as that was my Mum’s job and something she loved to do. More so the tree had to be prefect so no little fingers are allowed.

Now I have my own daughter, she decorates the tree with my husband but they always need my approval to see if I like it!

With this blog I thought it would be a good idea to get a feel of other Christmas tree decorations out there, let your imagination run wild and have fun with it. After all, Christmas is a time to family and fun.

First up is my Christmas Tree (pleas excuse the background this was before we decorated). I have always had a fake green tree yet I liked the look of a black tree. It is usual and not something you would consider at Christmas, yet I love the look of a black tree.
That being said as it is black I wanted silver and white to go with the tree so the decorations stand out. So that being said I went with silver glitter decorations and white feather boas to make it look like snow as falling. To complete the look I went with white twinkle lights. (PS, excuse the Christmas hat at the top, my daughter insisted that stays).

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My Christmas Tree Decoration

I love this Christmas tree, it looks classic yet modern at the same time with twists of ‘snow’ at the bottom. I love all the different Christmas decorations that hang off the branches, this tree feels magical to me.

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Fun Tree Decoration

Although this is a real Christmas tree, the decorations are simple, to the point while looking classy at the same time. The colour scheme stays the same with gold and red decorations while you can see the twinkling white light in the tree.

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Classic Tree Decoration

Decorations that feel fun and magical for the Children. I love this look of decoration, I know this may not be everyone’s cup of tea but if your children have a little Christmas tree themselves, why not look for a decoration like this? With lights behind this decoration it is sure to make a magical tree for them.

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Fun Decorations for Kids

I love decorations like this. On a Christmas tree you can see it is bright colours, yet with glitter snowflakes on the balls it gives it a warm/cool feeling inside as well. This on a tree with similar decorations would go perfect together.

christmas-decs-708x398

Glitter Snowflake Tree Balls

What #EtsyCIJ Means To You – #CIJParty 2017

Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings

For this years #EtsyCIJ event we want to know what this team means to you.
We know this team has meant a lot to some,has been a stepping stone to others and their main focus to a few.

What do you think of when this team comes to mind? What does this team mean to you?

Patty from PupcakesBowWowtique says to me this team means a chance. Since I started on Etsy a year ago I have had a few sales trickle in. In joining this team I am hoping that my shop will have a chance to grow. I also see this as an opportunity to get to know other team members and help each other along the way as we are a team after all.

il_570xN.1259874523_thi1

Lavender and Chamomile dog shampoo

Elisabeth from LizPOriginals said being part of many other teams I value and appreciate what teams can do for me and I for them.
Making new friends, brain storm with other artists I love that very much .
so joining this team is a wonderful opportunity for me–never belonged to a Christmas team before-I look forward to faving all of you and hope we have great season 2017.

il_570xN.1247931333_94dw

Rustic boho christmas tree ornaments

Christmas Movie Ideas – #CIJParty 2017

Post contributor from Julie at EveryoneLovesGifts0

When it comes to Christmas time everyone loves a good Christmas move that they can share with the family. Below I have added some classic and best Christmas film that are good to watch time and time again and those you may not have seen before.

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Home Alone (PG)
I don’t know anyone who does not love a good Home Alone movie. I can not remember how many times I have seen these films but they never get old.

The first Home Alone came out in 1990! It is about an eight year old that get’s in trouble at home while his whole family has gone on holiday. Because of such a big family and the rest to get to the airport in the morning they forgot about him.
Unfortunately he is left home alone to protect his family house from want-to-be burglars.

A Christmas Carol (PG)
Again, a Christmas movie that is a classic.
The re-make was made in 2009, A Christmas Carol is an animated movie from Charles Dickens. A Victorian-era miser takes on a journey of self-redemption. However, with several mysterious Christmas apparitions it is a journey he wont forget.

This Christmas (PG)
A Christmas-time drama that is centered around the Whitfield family’s first holiday together in four years. Do you think the family’s holiday will go without a hitch?

Arthur Christmas (PG)
Santa’s clumsy son Arthur gets put on a mission with St. Nick’s father to give out a present they misplaced to a young girl in less than 2 hours. What could possible happen? A funny film that is great for all the family.

Love the Coopers (PG 13)
The intertwined stories of four generations of Coopers unfold right before the annual family reunion on Christmas Eve.

Greenery – Pantone Color Of The Year 2017 – #CIJParty 2017

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

The 2017 PANTONE Color of the Year is Greenery.

The perfect color for our #CIJParty 2017!

Pantone shares:

A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.

Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.

Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront – it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.

What is the PANTONE Color of the Year?

A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.

Here are a few Greenery items from the Etsy Christmas In July team on Pinterest!

AmoreInvitations And EtsyCIJ Team Member Greenery Items

Are you a member of the Etsy Christmas In July team? Do you have Greenery items that you would like to have pinned on Pinterest? See the #EtsyCIJ forums to participate!

Christmas Decor – #CIJParty 2017

Guest Contributor post by Judith from FabriArts
The Christmas season is my favourite time of year to decorate. I usually start on December 1st and when my kids were small, we had a game to identify which new decoration I placed out each day. Combined with Advent calendars where they could add a decoration each day, the excitement built each day until the big events on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Members of the Etsy Christmas in July team have lots of ideas to help with your holiday decorating. Whether you want handcrafted original items for your tree, your walls, your sofa, shelves or tables, cards, prints or paper goods or vintage finds, the members of the Etsy Christmas in July team have lots for you to choose from. We even have Christmas accessories for your pets! Buy now, and ensure that you’ll have everything ready for that special time of year – no waiting around, hoping that your items will arrive in time!

Here are just a few items available. Visit these Etsy shops to discover more treats in store for your holiday decorating!

These bright, colorful, fun and positive dolls are very similar to small Christmas dwarfs or fairies. Each of them could represent you or a family member! Nice, cute figurines will decorate your Christmas tree and make it unique and cozy! This is especially important if there are children in the house. My family and I have received a lot of positive emotions from the process of working on these dolls, and I hope I can convey the mood to you. The toys are made entirely of natural materials: wood beads, cork, cotton yarn, jute yarn. Those doll faces are decorated using a wood burning tool.

KrugerShop

Donna Schindler from TreasuresFromTheLake says:

These beach glass ornaments will brighten up any Christmas tree. I have an indoor, large palm tree that I put them on and it brings back memories of my Family Florida Christmas’s.

TreasuresFromTheLake

Dawn Whitehand from DeeDeeDeesigns says:

These decorations are beautiful one of a kind Christmas ornaments, and as such are a perfect keepsake for family and friends. They are also great memory gifts for teachers.

DeeDeeDeesigns

Elisabeth Perez from LizPOriginals says:

This year I fell in love with charms and then it was just a small step to design Christmas ornaments with them–rich reds and bright greens with creamy pearls and whimsical charms compliment any tree. Use them on your wreath as well or add charm to your gift bags for the holidays!

LizPOriginals

These Christmas stars are all custom made to order.  They are great for children with unusual names, ideal for toddlers who are just starting to recognize their initials, and can have the year stamped on the back (perhaps for a first Christmas). It’s lovely to be able to make matching decorations for a whole family.

MooseintheMint

spoiledfelines1 from SpoiledFelinesArt says:

I love Christmas decorations, especially handmade ones. The reason that I like “handmade decorations” is because each one is unique … not mass produced … a lot of love and attention to detail goes into making handmade items … and that’s important to me!

SpoiledFelinesArt

Richard and Tatiana from DesignstheLimit says:

Christmas ornaments aren’t the biggest seller in June, but we keep them listed all year long because we Love Christmas! Just when the thoughts of Christmas are so far away, we are thankful for the Etsy CIJ Team bringing Christmas Joy in July (and all year long)!

We engrave our crystal ornaments with any design option we have available, any font in our selection, and accept custom order requests. Christmas ornaments make the best gifts for Baby Showers and Newborns, Newlyweds and Anniversary Gifts, and to Commemorative Any Special Event!

DesignstheLimit

DesignstheLimit

Elena Kulanina from KNOTandLiving says:

These minimalist wooden Christmas decorations were hand painted carefully with love. I’m always inspired by minimalism and these alternative Xmas decorations are just perfect for the modern homes: Scandinavian, Minimalistic, Neutral Pastel interiors.

KNOTandLiving

KNOTandLiving

Diana from joliefemmebydiana says:

This is a fun sock monkey teeny tote! Makes a fun decoration for table or mantel and also makes a great gift! The bright colors and fun little sock monkey with a Santa outfit will make you smile!

joliefemmebydiana

Lia Russo from Ghirlandiamo says:

Every time is possible, I love to craft using natural materials. And I think that so many kinds of nuts and a red bow can very well represent a handmade and unique Christmas decoration!

Ghirlandiamo

 

Carola Bartz from CarolaBartz says:

When I think of Christmas in my childhood I always remember the drives in the evening through the snowy landscape of Germany (my dad was a veterinarian and had to go out to the farms, being it Christmas or not, and I often accompanied him). It was dark, but the car’s headlights would illuminate the snow laden trees at the side of the country roads. Those memories inspired me to make a mini canvas that can be used as an Christmas ornament. I added the moose because the forest is their habitat and it creates a serene atmosphere.

CarolaBartz

Linda from LazyYVintage says:

This Enesco ornament is one of my favorites as it is part of the save the Earth collection and promotes recycling with a elf sitting on top of a recycling bin. At Christmas we do our very best to enjoy the season in a green way by keeping the wrappings to a minimum and making gifts for each other and our love ones.

LazyYVintage

pam colangelo from PearlsVintagebyPam says:

I love Christmas decor. As A child I did not celebrate Christmas nor decorate. I was always a collector. When my daughter was a child I collected music boxes. Sadly most of them broke in storage. I found this Christmas music box at a benefit flea market fair. So I helped others, collected another music box and got an Etsy item to sell.

PearlsVintagebyPam

Lizzy and Boo from LizzysBibsandBobs says:

I have always loved everything Christmas ever since I was a little girl. One of my favourite things are Snowmen – which is funny, since I live in Australia and we celebrate Christmas in the Summer! Over the years I have collected many different Snowmen in many forms, so have decided to share some of my collection with someone else who loves them as much as me! This sweet little fellow would be a wonderful addition to anyone’s Christmas Decor!

LizzysBibsandBobs

willowvalleyvintage from WillowValleyVintage says:

I love finding Christmas items at estate sales! Most of the time they are in fantastic condition and carefully stored. My daughter and I recently found this Sad Elf. He’s not wearing traditional Christmas colors and we thought that made him “unique.”

WillowValleyVintage

Marion Walsh from BlueButterflyCrafts says:

 A cute snowman to bring Christmas love and cheer in your home. He will bring a smile to everyone’s face for the holidays

BlueButterflyCrafts

Liz from TheLittleEmptyNest says:

This is one of my miniature dollhouse / fairy garden Christmas decor collections featuring a mini stocking, tree skirt and ornaments. Each of my designs are original and handmade by me with the intent of spreading a bit of the joy and happiness that went into their creation!

TheLittleEmptyNest

Jennie Clark from FromBasementToArt says:

Heirloom was my Pfaltzgraff pattern when I married a looong time ago. Finding these holiday candlestick holders was a joy.

FromBasementToArt

Patricia from TheOldBarnDoor says:

I have found that taking images from my antique postcard collection and turning them into decorative pillow covers a wonderful way to combine two of my favorite things. I tend to favor Christmas decor with an old-style feeling as it brings warm memories flooding back.  Nothing quite like a sleigh ride on a frosty day to fill the air with laughter!

TheOldBarnDoor

Judith Messenger from FabriArts says:

Something I always put up at Christmas time are my Advent calendars. Last year, I had 3 of them on the go at the holiday season. I make quilted Advent calendars, which can be used year after year. They all have little pockets that can be filled with treats, toys, messages or small gifts that can be treasured each day in December to count down to Christmas. This modern design is one of my favorites!

FabriArts

Cristal Hughes from DesignsbyCristal says:

I love Christmas anything! My friends call me Cristal Christmas! For me it’s not about the gifts under the tree it’s about what’s on the tree and all the loving festivities that come with the holiday. At my house I have something Christmas related in every room so this got me to thinking why not create some Christmas decor for pets. I’m sure there are some lovers of Christmas out there just like me! If I could afford it I’d let all my Christmas decor stay up all year long.

DesignsbyCristal

Dawn Whitehand from DeeDeeSupplies says:

These large gold flickering sequins are ideal for adding your own flair to your Christmas decor … glittery and shiny they dd sparkle and pizzazz to Christmas wreaths, bunting, cards and any Christmas craft you may have in mind!

DeeDeeSupplies

Christine from cwagenblass9 says:

I think receiving a handmade Christmas card shows that the sender has put a little more care into his card giving. Each card is cutout and hand assembled. Red foil is used on the ornament background.

cwagenblass9

Valerie from Samanthasunshineshop says:

This photo is of my Christmas Tree decorated with my grandmother’s vintage ornaments. The ornaments were handed down to me. They are from the 1940’s and 1950’s. Being able to decorate my tree with these family ornaments, makes it feel like everyone is still together and brings back great memories of Christmas past. In processing the photo, I added a “vintage feel” to accent the ornaments.

Samanthasunshineshop

Stock Lane Studio from StockLaneStudio says:

The first Christmas together as a couple is so special, it deserves a party all its own. More often than not, those first few years are lean ones financially, and Stock Lane Studio has affordable, printable holiday decorations that will turn any place into a Christmas home.

StockLaneStudio

Dana Martin from IllCallYouFromParis says:

This wintery Snow Birds watercolor print is a festive holiday decoration that you can keep up all year long!

IllCallYouFromParis

IllCallYouFromParis

Christmas Back To Front And Upside Down – #CIJParty 2017

Guest Blog Contributor post by Jessica of GusandOllie

The things that come to mind when I think about Christmas are pretty different these days. I feel Christmas for me now, is how it looked in Christmas movies and on Christmas cards growing up. That winter wonderland the everyone else seemed to be talking about, except those of us in the Southern hemisphere.

Growing up in Melbourne, Australia, my Christmas memories consist of hot Summer nights, where I had to kick off the doona on my bed. Playing outside after our evening bath, in our shorty pyjamas, never wanting to come to inside. Dusk light until late, the sound of cicada’s, the smell of eucalyptus and browsing the toy shop catalogue for my Christmas wish list.

Christmas was all about sunscreen, Summer holidays, the end of school for the year and looking forward to heading down to the beach. Father Christmas would arrive the night of December 24th, but would find an ice cold beer waiting for him, instead of milk.

Christmas day began at the crack of dawn. Sometimes the sun beat us up, when we would rush to the Christmas tree, eye all the presents, then drag our poor parents out of bed. Mum would put the Christmas album on the record player, Dad was in charge of building anything that required assembling.
We almost always received a new Summer outfit, which I would promptly put on and wear for the rest of the day – if I wasn’t in the pool. Backyard cricket, totem tennis and any other outdoor activity is what we did all day, unless summoned to the dinner table. I remember the year I received a hot pink skateboard and I didn’t come inside until it was dark.

The idea of Summer and Christmas seems to mesh perfectly for Australians. To be able to cook your meat on the BBQ, have a swim, relax in the sun with some Summer reading and have a family cricket match, where Uncle Sam always bowls out one of the little kids, just seems so normal for us. 

The fact that Santa always wore big black boots and a big red suit and drove a sleigh, never seemed extraordinary to us, because we always knew the North Pole was a cold place. It never really occurred to me to question what he’d do, once he hit our 40°C climate and had to lug our presents down everyone’s chimneys. Maybe the thought of a cold beer waiting for him, was enough for us to think he’d be fine.

Nowadays, is a little different. I have been living in the beautiful city of Hamburg for nearly 10 years and Christmas here is not only completely opposite, back to front and upside down from what I’m used to, but the entire month of December is dedicated to Christmas, which I love.

Germany’s Christmas Markets start on the last weekend in November and run right up until Christmas Eve. As the days get shorter, darker and colder here, the number of fairy lights seem to increase. Lanterns are hung from all the trees and ornamental light symbols hang from the street lamps.

The smells of gingerbread, hot crêpes and Glühwein (hot mulled wine) flood into every corner of our neighbourhood. It’s almost impossible to walk home without stopping to enjoy one or the other, because the smell is intoxicating.

The markets are everywhere. They fill almost every little plaza, square and hof (courtyard) and are brimming with warm winter treats, Christmas lights and candles, pine trees and typical German Christmas ornaments made from glass or wood. Friends, families and colleagues meet after work – every day – for a drink before heading home, to touch base and warm up at the same time. It’s on the way home for everyone, so why not?

When you’re an expat living abroad, sometimes the holiday season can get get you down. The thought of being so far away from your family, the Christmas dinner with all the trimmings you’re used to and the feeling of losing that time with loved ones.

But, the blessings we gain here are a new culture, new traditions, new stories to tell and an amazing group of friends, who invite you into their homes for Christmas, because they have become your family. Quite often those friends are far away from home too, so Christmas turns into a celebration of different cultures, different foodie delights and always a barrel of laughs. It’s different, but it’s still wonderful.

Until I moved here, it never really occurred to me just how unique this experience is. Just as some Aussie kids have never seen snow, the idea of Christmas on the beach is a mystery to many here and we love sharing our stories and traditions here. I find myself continually grateful to have experienced both sides of this coin, which come with their own advantages and disadvantages.

To find myself now celebrating in the dark, drinking hot wine and staying indoors to play board games with fantastic friends, is a little different from playing cricket and swimming at the beach with family. But we are lucky enough to get the best of both worlds, as we try to fly home every January so we can enjoy Christmas in the dark with our kitty cat and firm friends, but then New Years on a hot Summer night at the beach with family back home.

I’m pretty happy to have Christmas upside down and back to front, either way.

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