Friday, September 24, 2010

Bonanzle Becomes Bonanza- New Name, New Look, New Sellers

Earlier this week ecommerce site Bonanzle surprised it's users with the announcement that the name would be changed to Founder Bill Harding stated that he had originally wanted to call the site bonanza, but the name had already been taken at the time. It recently became available, and he took the opportunity.

Along with the name change came the news that bonanza had also acquired artisan marketplace 1000 Markets. The merchants of 1000 Markets are being integrated into bonanza, which will bring many new high-quality handmade creations to the site.

bonanza also simultaneously rolled out a redesign, with simpler, cleaner graphics, and a new look for the home page. The hand-picked lists featuring user selected items now rotate, and the list of categories is now front and center for ease of use.

All old links will redirect to the new bonanza site, but we are transitioning to the new name (if I can just train my fingers to type an "A", instead of automatically hitting that "LE"!) My booth can now be found at

The site has been buzzing with activity since the announcements, and I hope you will come check it out and let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How Did Christmas in July Begin? Origins and History

Recently the community of sellers at decided to join together to hold a Christmas in July Sale. I know those participating last year had a great time, so I jumped at the chance to join in this year! The occasion also got me thinking, "How did Christmas in July begin in the first place?" So I decided to do a little research to find out.

The most commonly told story is one of some Irish vacationers that visited the Blue Mountains of Australia in July of 1980. It is winter in Australia in July, and it is said these tourists remarked to the proprietor of their hotel that the snowy weather reminded them of Christmas at home, and asked if he could prepare them some traditional Christmas food that evening. And so, Christmas in July, or Yulefest as it is also known, was born. Yulefest has become a popular event there, and is quite a tourist attraction.

But if you dig a little further you will find references to Christmas in July from much earlier. The earliest was in 1933 when Camp Keystone, a summer camp for girls in North Carolina, held a Christmas in July celebration complete with a tree, gifts, and visit from Santa Claus. The tradition continued for several years, and on the camp's website, past participants have posted some of their memories of the festivities.

The phrase may have become much more commonplace in 1940, when a comedy movie titled "Christmas in July" was released. The plot centered around an office clerk who was tricked by his coworkers into believing he had won $25,000 in a contest, and subsequently bought gifts for everyone he knew and proposed to his girlfriend.

Shortly after in 1942, the pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington DC decided to give a sermon called "Christmas Presents in July", which was modeled after a program at his former church in Philadelphia where gifts were collected early enough to be distributed to missions worldwide. The tradition continued, and by 1946 the service was broadcast yearly on local radio.

During World War 2 the US Post Office and US Army and Navy teamed up with the greeting card industry for an Early Christmas Mailing Campaign, where citizens were encouraged to send early Christmas care packages to members of the military serving overseas. A Christmas in July luncheon to spread the word was held in New York that year, and again in 1945.

Retailers most likely began holding Christmas in July sales some time after this. One ad reading: "It's Christmas in July at Browning King" reportedly appeared in the New York Times on July 20, 1950.

The fifties also saw the creation of the World Santa Claus Congress, with hundreds of professional Santas congregating every July at Bakken, a popular amusement park north of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is still held there today, with festivities ranging from Christmas cake baking, to a Gala and Santa Parade. Their website says all participants are expected to "generally spread Christmas cheer".

And in 1979, Rudolph and Frosty surfaced for a summertime TV adventure in "Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July". Apparently Frosty and his family sported magical amulets that prevented the snowmen from melting until the 4th of July.

Even though its origins may be a bit murky, Christmas in July is celebrated all over the world today- even in Antarctica at McMurdo Station. July is the middle of winter there, and the ice and winds make it unsafe for planes to land. Supplies instead have to be dropped, and it's said that years ago these "gifts" falling from the the sky reminded people of a visit from Santa. Christmas festivities have taken place there in both July and December ever since.

No matter how or when it began, Christmas in July offers the opportunity to get a head start on our holiday shopping, instead of battling crowds on Christmas Eve! I always prefer shopping from the comfort of my own home, but after finding out about some of these Christmas in July traditions, I think this year I might just crank up the air conditioning and make myself some egg nog and Christmas cookies to enjoy while I'm doing it! Close to 300 merchants on are offering deals and discounts. I'm offering 15% OFF in my own booth and the complete list of participating sellers is here:

Do you celebrate Christmas in July? I'd love to hear from you about your traditions!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010- What More Can We Do?

When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s Earth Day was a fairly new event. Every year our community would encourage everyone to clean up any litter in the parks or on the roadsides, and after the day's hard work we were rewarded with a pizza party, and every child was sent home with a tiny tree to plant. A few especially kind souls would stick around to clean up the dozens of disposable plastic cups and paper plates from the party... and come to think of it, every one of those little trees had a paper towel wrapped around its roots.

Today on this 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, thankfully I do think many people are more conscious of what ends up in our landfills, and are also looking for ways to conserve our resources and be less wasteful. Over the years recycling has become commonplace, and we've seen changes in product packaging ranging from our fast food hamburgers no longer being served up in styrofoam boxes, to potato chips contained in biodegradable bags. And as consumers many of us are making more environmentally-friendly decisions when we make purchases. People are buying fuel-efficient vehicles and energy-saving appliances and light bulbs. In the stores we think twice about buying disposable, one-time-use items (like plastic cups and paper plates and towels), and we see more people passing on the plastic bags at the checkout, using a canvas tote bag instead.

So we seem to be thinking about our larger purchases and the things we use every day. But what I'm wondering is, what about all of the items that fall somewhere in between?

For me, buying pre-owned is the answer.

I was raised by frugal parents who taught me that one of the best ways to find a bargain was to buy used items. Along the way I came to appreciate how this also benefits the environment by keeping someone else's unwanted items out of the landfill. And oh yeah- it can be a lot of fun too!

Take for example, this pair of vases I bought at a yard sale a couple of years ago. There are new vases being produced in this style and shape which are currently being sold in trendy retail stores at a price of around $40 to $50 each. I purchased this pair of vintage Kaiser porcelain vases for $10. Mine are made from a quality material, and are actually more detailed than the newer versions. I know it's not likely that my neighbor will have exactly the same thing, and these will retain their value or even appreciate over time. These vases could have ended up in the garbage. When you buy pre-owned you're helping to save the environment and your pocketbook all at the same time.

And now it's easier than ever to find fantastic pre-owned items to purchase. If braving the weather and ramming the roads to shop isn't your cup of tea, there are thousands of unique, quality, pre-owned bargains available right here on the internet. My favorite new site for buying and selling is Their slogan is "Find Everything But the Ordinary" and currently there are over 3 million items available on the site, including a great selection of vintage, antiques, and other pre-owned items.

Do you buy pre-owned and vintage? I'd love to hear your stories about your favorite finds!