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Camper’s Christmas

For most people, Christmas weather is too cold for camping in Canada. So why not create the magic of Christmas in July? In fact, that is a tradition in many campgrounds across Quebec.

This year, a group of campers, inspired by my book How to make a Giant Nutcracker, created not just one but four giant nutcrackers and other magnificent decorations to fill the whole Domaine du Rêve campground, located East of Montreal, with the (both refreshing and heartwarming) spirit of Christmas.

One of them, Evelyne Gemme, sent me pictures which I found so intriguing, that I asked her a few questions that she was kind enough to answer.

Q: What inspired you to make Christmas decorations in July?

R: We take our vacation at a campground where each year, one of the most important activities is Camper’s Christmas Week, which takes place in early August.

We work as volunteers for the Children’s Christmas event, which includes decorating the common room where the event takes place, decorating the stage and organizing the activities.

Q: Did you make the nutcrackers before going to the camping?

R: We worked on it all winter, not only on the nutcrackers, but on all the decorations for the event.

Q: How long did it take you to build them?

R: It is very hard to estimate the time that was needed to make the nutcrackers, but I can tell you that we spent over 1200 hours on the entire project.

Many steps were required to create the nutcrackers (painting, decorating, finishing, assembly). We wanted our 4 characters to have different colours, but we also wanted to give them each a distinct personality.

Click on the picture of a head to see the entire nutcracker.

Since Louise cares very much about details, we paid a lot of attention to the finishing touches of each figure. Different materials were used for each of the nutcrackers. We chose different mustaches, different styles of boots, etc.

Q: You all did a marvelous job. Were there specific steps that you found more difficult?

R: I would say two things:

  • making the heads and hats: fur for the soldier, leatherette for the policeman, etc.
  • assembly: we really wanted to be able to take the nutcrackers apart to save on storage space. A friend who works in construction helped us by cutting the pieces of wood needed to attach the legs to the trunk, and for the base.

Q: What did the other campers say when they saw your nutcrackers?

R: Everybody, parents and children alike, was amazed by the nutcrackers. I dare say that they really were everyone’s favourites this year.

Q: How many people benefited from your work?

R: About 180 children were registered for this event, so if you add their parents, you can easily say that 400 people were present.

All the pictures in this article were given to me by Evelyne. Thanks again for your help and cooperation!

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