Christmas in July events I attended (plus gift inspo)
So in blogger-land, Christmas in July is a thing. In fact, quite a big thing. So you may be wondering, what is Christmas in July? Essentially, it’s when most of the top brands and PR companies host events which showcase their Christmas offerings to bloggers and journalists.
Before blogging and instant online publishing, journalists worked way in advance of print deadlines. So essentially, they were curating their top Christmas picks in the late summer.
The tradition still stands, and due to my wordy ways, I was invited to a few this year. The Christmas in July events are not only a great way to be introduced to new brands, they’re also fun to attend. Also with the imminent arrival of a very different parcel, I wanted to get out. At least before life turns upside down.
I’ve been instagramming about some of the events, and many products may make an appearance in my actual Christmas gift guide in December. However I just wanted to share a brief summary for posterity. So here are some of the Christmas in July events I attended.
Popcorn PR’s Christmas showcase
It’s always nice to go to PR-run Christmas in July events as you get to see a variety of brands under one roof. Popcorn PR looks after a range of Christmas gift ideas, from Panasonic beauty and grooming, to Walker’s shortbreads, which are among some of the tastiest I’ve tried. They even have some electric baby products, including the Panasonic Smart Home Baby Monitoring Camera Kit. This features in my upcoming baby essentials guide, so keep your eye peeled.
Aldi Christmas in July
Who used to think Aldi was a cheap-o shop?? Me too. Years ago, Aldi was lumped into the ‘don’t-go-there’ bracket. But then they introduced the Super-6, where select quality fruit and vegetables were sold at great prices. Add a slick, almost M&S-like marketing campaign into the mix, and Aldi has transformed. Today it gives Tesco a run for it’s money and has shaken off the budget preconceptions.
I’m familiar with their veg, but never really ventured beyond that. So it was an eye opener to attend their Christmas in July event and see their festive banquet.
Chocolates that taste and look like Hotel Chocolat, salmon blinis, and Yule logs that resembled works of art. Not to mention rocking horses and children’s gifts that are affordable without looking tacky. Aldi has really upped its game, converting the sniffiest of shoppers.
Not on the High Street Christmas in July
When looking for unique gift inspiration, Not on the High Street has it covered. From edible cookie dough from Cookie Doe London, to personalized family pendants that contain a mix of birthstones for each family member, there is something for everyone.
Cute and quirky ideas include personalized leather key rings, and a make-your-own fragrance kit for the perfumer among you. I made a bit of a beeline to the baby booties section, as they were too cute not to picture.
Fairtrade Christmas in July fest
Another eye opener for me. I always assumed that going ethical equals a compromise on taste or style. However, the Fairtrade Christmas in July event proved otherwise. The Liz Earle jewellery (Liz has moved on from skincare) had delicate, dainty pieces that are pretty and make you feel good. Plus I picked up the nicest bouquet of roses from Arena flowers, who have a range of Fairtrade accredited blooms.
Facets PR Christmas in July press day
As jewellery and accessories are totally my thing, it was great to be introduced to a PR agency that specialises in nothing but sparkle.
Facets PR represents such original and quirky independent brands as Deakin and Francis, a family run jewelers who had the most unusual moving cufflinks. I particularly liked the gun cufflink with its quirky mechanics (though not in a gangster way). You can see it all guns blazing here.
Former Topshop designer Chupi Sweetman also treated me to a jewellery workshop. Chupi created a personalised pendant with my star sign on one side, and hubby and my initials – H & M (not to be confused with the clothes store) on the other.
It was so nice to see real craftsmanship, and Chupi’s range is rustic and close to nature, with twig-shaped gold rings and grey frosted diamonds to boot. You can see a clip from Chupi’s workshop here.
TOMY Christmas in July
Last year I wouldn’t have attended a toy event. But this year Tomy’s was one of my highlights, mainly because of their Lamaze baby range. While I thought that cot mobiles and squishy toys were just for fun, I’m now learning that their colours, textures and sounds are all carefully designed to help a baby’s development. In the weirdest way, surrounded by toys, I felt like I was proper adulting.
Xmas in July Fest
So, onto the big daddy of Christmas in July events. The Xmas in July Fest was a ma-hoosive collaboration of brands encompassing everything from electrics to food and more.
There were far too many names to mention. But I wanted to detail some that caught my eye.
Gift subscriptions were a recurrence at the event. Not Another Bill offers unique presents that can be purchased on a regular subscription basis, while Cornerstone men’s grooming offered a similar concept with its shaving products. The idea is that you could subscribe and replenish your stocks without having to run to your nearest Boots.
Another great idea was from Buyagift. They offer experience day packages, where you can pick a theme, such as afternoon tea or hotel stays, and the recipient can choose from hundreds of options within the theme. This is much less restrictive than traditional experience days. When I bought hubby’s Virgin Experience day, I had to make the agonizing choice between an Aston Martin and Ferrari driving day. I picked the former, and just had to hope he liked it (luckily he did).
However with Buyagift, bad present choices are reduced, as you don’t have to pick a specific experience.
On the food front, I was introduced to Niederegger, a German brand that has the most amazing marzipan chocolates, not the mention a drool-worthy giant advent calendar.
Of course, I had to visit the JoJo Maman Bebe stand. I spied the most adorable furry all-in-one babysuit, perfect for a winter bubba.
So that’s my Christmas in July roundup. I’m off to put my feet up. What gifts have caught your eye? Let me know in a comment below…
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About the Author
I’m not a makeup artist, chef, lifestyle guru or stylist. I’m just me. And like you, I’m trying to make the best of most things, only I’m sharing my warts-and-all thoughts along the way.