Dagmar Obert | Balsam Hill Design Consultant

Christmas in July: Giving Should Be More than Once a Year

Dagmar Obert of Balsam Hill celebrates Christmas in July by raising money for her chosen charity. Read her insights on her beneficiary and her answers to Balsam Hill’s questions about the virtues of generosity and compassion.

The holidays are not the only time we can embrace the spirit of generosity. In fact, we have the entire year to share our blessings with others. This July, Balsam Hill pledges to match up to $1,000 in donations to a selected charity through its Christmas in July Charity Campaign. Here is some information about the organization I intend to help, and why it has a special place in my heart.

Special Olympics

The Special Olympics was the natural choice for me since I have a child with special needs myself. The Special Olympics provides children, teens and adults an athletic experience with others who have the same condition. During this special occasion, they can join a team and compete in an exciting sporting event.

[pullquote]The Special Olympics builds so many positive connections for the children with special needs it serves.[/pullquote]I chose this organization because it provides unique activities that are not available for children with special needs. Sometimes, people with special needs are kept in front of a TV to keep them busy and entertained. Getting them into indoor and outdoor activities like bowling, soccer, golf, skiing, snowboarding and track can help them stay healthy and give them an opportunity to interact with peers.

Established in 1968, the Special Olympics is a sports organization that provides a venue for individuals with intellectual disabilities to be more active and sociable. Offering training and competitions to over 4.2 million athletes across 170 countries, the Special Olympics has turned into a global social movement that empowers children with disabilities by helping them find their strengths and develop new skills.

Project Unified

I appreciate that the Special Olympics constantly makes an effort to improve its mission. For almost 20 years, its Project Unify program has been creating sport teams that break down the barrier between regular people and those with special needs. Through this project, people with and without intellectual disabilities are brought together through sports and friendly competition. The relationships that are fostered in this program make those team sports more fun and memorable.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the world participate in Unified Sports. It is heartening to learn that more US states are embracing this approach to promote the social inclusion of special needs children.

This Christmas in July, let’s donate or help out any way we can. Seeing someone struggle to do something that we take for granted is a reminder of how lucky we are. Our lives are good. We have a lot to be thankful for. Let’s always remember that. I hope you have a meaningful year helping others have a more fulfilled life.

Special olympics logoBH: Could you tell us a bit about the cause you’re supporting and what it means to you?

Dagmar:  The Special Olympics builds so many positive connections for the children with special needs it serves.  It helps the mind understand rules of engagement.  It builds healthy bodies by teaching kids to exercise and enjoy activities. Finally, it builds relationships with coaches, volunteers and their peers. Read This Entry

Balsam Hill | Balsam Hill Editors

Balsam Hill’s Christmas in July Charity Fundraising
and Christmas Ornament Kit Raffle Promo

December isn’t the only time we can relish in the spirit of charity. This year, Balsam Hill is redefining Christmas in July as the new season of giving. We are partnering with 10 bloggers to help raise awareness and funds for their chosen charity through IndieGogo, the crowdfunding platform.

To support our friends, we will be featuring their cause in an interview series with our resident design expert Dagmar Obert. We will also be matching up to $1000 in total funds raised by each blogger. Click on the charity organizations to learn more about your favorite blogger’s special cause:

Dagmar for the Special Olympics

Cheryl for the National Stroke Association

Michelle for Hope for Paws

Sarah for Families for Hope, Inc.

Diana for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Erica for Mothers Without Borders

Amy for Project Yesu

Vanessa and Heather for Hope Unlimited for Children

Fadra for The Humane Society

Kristin for the Kawasaki Disease Foundation

Balsam Hill is celebrating Christmas in July by helping 10 bloggers raise funds for charity all in the spirit of giving.
Visit Balsam Hill’s Christmas Charity Page for more information


You can also do your part! By donating $5 to any of our sponsored charities, you get one (1) entry to our Christmas Ornament Kit Raffle Promo where you get a chance to win our exclusive Mistletoe and Holly Ornament Set.

For $25, you will also get one (1) Mistletoe and Holly ornament, which you can use to commemorate this new season of giving.

For more information on our Christmas in July Ornament Kit Raffle Promo, please see Balsam Hill’s Christmas in July Terms and Conditions.

Balsam Hill | Balsam Hill Editors

Balsam Hill Wins Silver in Horizon Interactive Awards

Balsamhill.com won the Silver Award in the E-Commerce/Shopping Website category of the 12th Horizon Interactive Awards, besting other entries from around the globe.

Balsam Hill wins Silver Award

This year’s competition showcased “the best blend of technology, cutting-edge thinking, outstanding user-experience and overall aesthetics,” said Mike Sauce, founder of the award-giving body.

Best in the World

More than a thousand entries ranging from websites, videos, mobile applications, print advertisements, and email campaigns were received from nearly 50 states and 24 counties, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

The panel of judges evaluated the entries based on solution creativity, originality, optimization of viewing experience, overall graphic design, and technical merit.

A New Horizon for Balsam Hill

Winning the Silver Award affirms our continuing effort to innovate and provide customers with a user-friendly e-commerce platform. Balsam Hill aims to transform people’s online shopping experience during the holidays into something enjoyable and enlightening.

A screencap of Balsam Hill's award-winning website

The design reflects classic elegance yet the site is equipped with the latest features that redefine UX today. We have created a system that is not only easy to use; it also delivers complete product information, holiday decorating inspiration, troubleshooting guides, and unparalleled customer support.

Our Horizon Interactive Award is only the beginning. Soon, we will be opening up more avenues for engaging Balsam Hill customers throughout the world. The perfect Christmas is literally a few clicks away.

Dagmar Obert | Balsam Hill Design Consultant

Decorating with Dagmar:
More Tips on How to Spruce up Your Porch for Spring

Balsam Hill has just finished celebrating Mother’s Day over the past week with decorating tips from 15 talented bloggers. My own contribution to the series showcases how I spruced up my porch in honor of my mother. I provide more ideas on spring porch decorating in this new post.

The grey overcast days are over. Spring has finally arrived, bringing with it warmth, magnificent colors, and its promise of sunny days. The pleasant and lively weather gives us the perfect opportunity to reconnect with friends and family. One wonderful way to do that is to have a delightful conversation over a hot cup of tea and some delicious snacks on your porch or patio.

A stylish porch featuring rustic wicker chairs, green cushions, and a wooden coffetable
Traditional Porch by Bethesda Design-Build Firms Bill Millholland / Case Design

Before you send out an invite or give your friends a call, make sure that your outdoor space has spring decorations that will capture the vibrancy of the new season. Here are several elegant spring decorating ideas that will add charm to your favorite areas.

Read This Entry