15 July 2021

The most wonderful time of the year: a heartwarming Christmas in July

| Lottie Twyford
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Two toy reindeers wearing masks

Because Under the Mistletoe’s Christmas in July festival fundraiser will be COVID-19 safe, even the reindeer are keeping their masks on. Photo: Jenny Brogan.

When Jenny Brogan was a child in the UK, Christmas truly was the most wonderful time of the year: snow falling outside the farm window, and the whole family coming together to play board games.

So great is Jenny’s love for Christmas that she’s the proud owner of Under the Mistletoe, a Christmas shop in Gold Creek Village, where she is set to give away 10 per cent of all sales throughout the month for their inaugural Christmas in July.

It will culminate on the weekend of 24-25 July with a festival fundraiser.

Under the Mistletoe opened in 2020, during what was considered at the time to be the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jenny says she and husband Ben Brogan have had incredible support from the Canberra community during the past 12 months.

It was partly to give back to those who had supported her dream, and partly to celebrate the store’s first birthday, that Jenny decided to run the Christmas in July festival fundraiser, with a goal of donating $10,000 to the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.

“We’ve already raised about $3000, and on the weekend of the festival we will donate 20 per cent of sales, along with the vendors who are also coming along,” she says.

“For me, Christmas is all about children, which is why we picked the children’s hospital specifically.”

Jenny still loves Christmas, and says each year she tends to put up five Christmas trees around her house “so maybe the shop is just an extension of that”.

July, with its cold weather, still feels more like Christmas to Jenny than any other time of the year.

Jenny Brogan and Ben Brogan at Under the Mistletoe store in Gold Creek Village

Jenny Brogan with her husband, Ben Brogan, at her dream Christmas shop, Under the Mistletoe, in Gold Creek Village. Photo: Jenny Brogan.

While many people on this side of the world are unaccustomed to experiencing Christmas in quite the same way as Jenny did growing up, that’s not to say we don’t somehow connect to the idea of Santa in his sleigh being pulled by reindeer, and hot Christmas dinners with turkey and gravy.

Under the Mistletoe has experienced steady business throughout the year, although they have recently expanded to stocking Disney products and Easter decorations to keep foot traffic steady.

“Those who like Disney are those who like Christmas – we go crazy for it,” says Jenny.

Jenny had always harboured thoughts of owning her own Christmas wonderland shop, but says when it happened, it happened quickly.

“I was in the cafe in Gold Creek having a coffee with my husband, and we saw the shop I’d always talked about owning was up for lease,” she says.

“We saw it at 9:00 am and I said yes at 6:00 pm that same evening.”

On Saturday, 24 July, Under the Mistletoe will be transformed – albeit in a COVID-19 safe manner – into what can only be described as a winter wonderland.

Along with local performances, best-dressed competitions and a visit from Elsa, outside the shop will be activated with lights, displays and mural wall painting.

Santa will also be in town, and there will be festive food and drinks for all the family.

Radio station hit104.7 will also be around on the day broadcasting and raising awareness.

If you would like to donate to Under the Mistletoe’s festival fundraiser, you can make any purchase in store throughout the month, or buy a $5 raffle ticket in store for the opportunity to win a variety of prizes.

For more information, visit Under the Mistletoe’s Christmas in July festival fundraiser Facebook page. The event is running on the weekend of 24-25 July.

Original Article published by Lottie Twyford on The RiotACT.

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