This year, The Junior League of Austin's beloved Christmas market will look a little different from years past. A Christmas Affair, running November 17-22, will be a fully virtual event and marketplace.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our organization and our members to think outside the box, get creative with essential operations, serve as stronger stewards of each donor dollar, and strategically plan for our future," says Lyndsey Crawford, president of The Junior League of Austin.
"The decisions we make today are not only about us, they are also about our organization and the people we serve," she says. "We have an obligation to the women who come after us to make sure they have the same opportunities for development and service that we have today."
The six-day holiday gift market, now in its 45th year, kicks off the giving season each year and hosts more than 230 regional and national retail merchants. Annually, more than 25,000 people typically attend.
This year, The Junior League of Austin will use a platform that will allow the JLA to support small businesses from around the country and create interaction experiences for its virtual attendees.
"We knew our beloved and iconic holiday event would look different than it has in years past, but we were determined to bring it to life and spread happiness to the generations of attendees we see every year," says Keri Bellacosa Walling, chair of A Christmas Affair 2020. "We have an exciting week planned, from holiday styling with Kendra Scott, cooking demos, and the most unique take-home party packs so you can enjoy Felicidad at home and with your friends and family."
Some of the virtual events to look forward to include:
- Holiday portraits and Santa photos by appointment, November 14-15 and November 20-22
- Bailamos Juntos, a virtual Mr. Will dance party and gingerbread house kit pick-up, November 22
- Cascabel, Cascabel, Jingle All the Way, a virtual sing-along and holiday cookie kit pick-up, November 20
- Feliz Llama-dad, a virtual Mr. Will dance party and llama ornament-painting kit, November 21
- Felicidad Maximo, a package that includes all three kits and two virtual "parties"
- Cocina Feliz, a virtual family pancake cooking class, November 21
- Buen Provecho, kids' virtual dinner cooking class, November 22
- Salida Del Sol Brunch, a drive-through experience at the JLA HQ, where you get to pick up brunch bites from local eateries and cocktails plus enjoy opportunities for shopping perks, November 19, 9 am-1 pm
- Sip + Styled Girls' Night In, an interactive holiday styling experience with Kendra Scott herself! Cocktail kits and tapas for will be available for delivery and pick-up, November 19, 7-9 pm
- La Noche Buena: Date Night In, with cocktail kits, a fajita dinner for two, virtual La Loteria bingo, and a live virtual music experience, November 20, 7-9 pm
"Our A Christmas Affair team — made up of 85 volunteers — is excited to reimagine the beloved and iconic holiday event that brings people of Central Texas together year after year, generation after generation," says Bellacosa Walling. "With the committee's vision and the plans that are already in the works, A Christmas Affair will continue to be a source of happiness and holiday spirit, while passionately supporting small businesses and our community in these unique times."
Every ticket purchased for A Christmas Affair helps the JLA carry forth its mission of developing the potential of women and supporting the Austin community. The JLA provides essential funding and volunteer hours to its signature programs such as Coats for Kids, FIT - Food in Tummies, and KICS - Kids in Cool Shoes, along with more than 30 local community nonprofits.