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Holiday Countdown 2020 - Leaders and Songs Edition


Ho Ho Ho - It’s December and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Snow is falling (well, somewhere it is, I’m sure), glittering lights everywhere, time for baking cookies and playing board games.

What does that mean? Right, it’s time for the Community Holiday Countdown!

This year is a, well, special year, most of us have never experienced a year like this before. But I can tell you, Santa and all the elves at the North Pole are doing their best to make you feel happy and so do I, your Community elf. I hope, I can put a smile on your face and make you forget your everyday life for a few minutes, every single day until Christmas Eve.

2020’s calendar is about our Community Leaders. Those people who are answering your questions, writing posts and articles and hosting events all around the world. I talked with a lot of them and you will find out more about a Community Leader every day until December 24th. Listen to the song, read and use the comment section below to say hello to today’s Leader! Have fun!

Due to length limitations, I have to remove older days from this main article.

This is a link to all the recent days


It’s the last day of this year’s calendar and before we proceed to the last leader, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to @Monique vdB . She helped me choosing the leaders for the calendar as she helped me in many other ways. She onboarded me as Community Leader years ago and over the past years we found out that we have so many things in common - Happy Holiday to you, Monique and everyone else reading this. I hope, you enjoyed these little portraits, the music and the videos - it was a pleasure for me writing and collecting them.


Thanks as well to all the leaders who took part in this, shared their stories and pictures with us, you’re the best.

A happy new year to all of you, stay happy, healthy and optimistic and always remember: Everything in life is only for now (

But now let’s move on to number 24:




The last song of the day is the Christmas song I love most this year: Jamie Cullum: Turn on the lights ( - Listen to the whole album - it’s amazing!

For every advent calendar, number 24 is a very special number, same here. Our number 24 is number one in so many ways. Can you imagine our Community platform without Nic Brough? Not really. And so we make a last hop to Europe and ask him some questions.

Nic is from the UK, but has a lot more to tell about where he’s from:

The short answer is that I'm quite English. I have a fondness for proper tea, crumpet(s), beer and start most conversations with an apology. But I only have to go back a couple of generations to find Scottish and German ancestors, and I am not a "never left my home town" type. I was born and partly schooled in the north-west (Manchester and Liverpool), but mostly raised in the south (Berkshire), and I now live in the Midlands, in a town few have heard of, unless they wear Dr Marten's boots.


(By RobertWalden at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Nic, it's a pleasure to meet you here at door 24! It's the final portrait and I have some questions for you:

How and when did you become one of Atlassian's Community Leaders?

When I first ran into Atlassian software, I was stuck. I had no experience in any of the tech behind it beyond a generic grasp of databases (which I think we all know is not that much help) a bit of Java, and a lot of Unix-like systems.
I had a job at the time with an environment support team, and I'd spent two years scripting myself out of a job. When I said that to my boss, he did something I aspire to do for my colleagues now - making the effort to find me another role instead of waving "bye". That role was "Our Jira admin leaves at the beginning of February, you need to learn it, including the upgrade to 3.0.x when it becomes available"
I found the Atlassian community, as it was then, made up of informal chat channels, mailing lists, public fora (with a pinch of salt, as I've spent a lot of time fixing things messed up by "expert" advice from non-Atlassian tech places), and a nascent set of Jive forums So I started to ask it for for help.
I got the help I needed, with the bonus of being unexpectedly welcomed and encouraged, rather than the usual disdain a "newbie" gets.
And after months of asking so many questions, I started to answer some of the ones I could. Because I wanted to contribute back as a "thank you" to those who had helped. Perhaps selfish - if I answer the easier ones, the experts have more time to help me with the harder ones!
Still going, 16ish years later, for the same reason. I don't ask many now, but that does not mean I know more, it means that the Community usually has an answer I can find, so I don't need to ask.

What motivates you being a Community Leader?

When someone says "thank you". Or even just says that part of a reply was helpful.

Nic, do you remember the first time you ever used an Atlassian product?

Just before Christmas 2003 (I think) - the day my boss said "have a look at this Jira 2.x install you might be upgrading in the new year"

And your favorite Atlassian memory to date?

I'm going to cheat and give three (there are a lot more - so... many... summit... things)

  • Summit bash in San Jose's museum of computing, my colleague Jamie grabbed Mike for a fanboy selfie and I volunteered to take a better picture. We were back in England before Jamie realised Scott had photobombed it!

  • My first Summit (2013) was rushed, I'd only joined Adaptavist a few weeks before, and there were no plans for me, so I'd not been booked for anything, and I think I'd just been "+1" on all the paperwork, so my name didn't go on to a badge until I actually signed in. Shortly after the opening keynote, I bumped into @Scott Farquhar , he read the badge, dropped everything and dragged me off to introduce me to the Atlassian community team.

  • But my favourite memory is probably Eskarina (my cat) getting a round of applause from 5000ish people at Summit during a keynote. I thought the community team wanted a photo for one of the booths, not a keynote!


I'm sure not only your cat got the applause - she had to share it with you. Btw, the lady in white is @Leslie Lee speaking about our Community at Summit 2017.

Nic, if you could go back in time to give yourself an advice - what would it be?

Empathy matters. Learn to think from other's point of view a lot earlier in your life (but never assume you've "got it right" - you haven't)

What do you like to do for fun? What are you passionate about?

Being a bit of a geek, puzzles or quizzes are the main thing I do for fun, plus playing with the cat. I'm not sure I get that passionate about much. Maybe too English to express it.


Who doesn't want to cuddle with a cat if she looks at you like this? 

What is your fondest Holiday memory?

Drinking cocktails in a bar in Liverpool when Chrissy turned to me and said that yes, we should move in together.

I’m sure, this is something you will never forget - could there be something better?

Nic, What is your favorite holiday meal, drink or treat?

Favourite meal and drink is a long story, but to shorten it, we booked a holiday in Rome, not realising the hotel was on the edge of the city centre, rather than right in the touristy areas. We found a place to eat which was local rather than for tourists. The idea that you should eat where the residents do instead of where the tourists do - it is right. The food is so much better!

The treat however - just being somewhere else sometimes. My parents visit us because we're less than an hour from many of their old friends, London, and 2/3rds of the rest of the family. We visit them so we can have breakfast overlooking the Lake District instead of a decaying 18th century chapel and the back of a supermarket. I get to see a fox, a badger, a couple of bats and a hedgehog maybe once a week, but our last holiday had a panoramic view of all of those plus several deer, a rabbit, many, many hares, several birds of prey and a steam train. It's about going somewhere different.


I’ve been to the Lake Disctrict for holidays a few years ago. It’s an amazing countryside!


Do you have a favorite childhood holiday memory?

Another long story, but the short version is that I got bored on holidays when I was 7, went for a walk and met someone else who had the same problem. We read together a lot, and talked about what we had read.

Is there a holiday song that you love or can't stand?

Ag-a-doo. Not because it has anything more horrid than so many other terrible holiday songs, but it mentions pineapples, which are the second worst life form I've ever encountered.


What is your favorite holiday movie and why?

Gremlins. They're delightfully joyous about their evil!

Are there any unique Holiday traditions in your family?

My family generally mostly avoid each other at Christmas, we don't seem to get on too well during fixed term holidays. In my chosen family here at home, there are some uninteresting traditions - large group of friends for food and drink on Christmas Eve (not this year!), Chrissy's parents pop in or we go to them on either Christmas day or Boxing day, and we see the Chrissy's three neices (my godchildren! No idea who got drunk and thought that was a good idea!), sister, and brother--in-law on the other day.The one that may be a bit novel is that our Christmas tree has to have a different topper every year. We've had Iron Man, Captain America's shield, A TARDIS, Great Cthulhu, Batman


a bottle of Christmas Beer



and this year is going to be some googly eyes (it's a running joke with our friends)

@Dave Liao , can you guess, who’s another Dr. Who - fan in our Community? Here’s another proof:



What are you grateful for?

This year, delivery companies.

Haha, great answer!

I asked Nic what makes living in the UK so special - his very personal reason why it is the best place on earth: “My friends” - can you think of a better compliment?


Grinch or Santa?



Santa won the contest - but as some of you said before, deep within every Grinch, there is also a bit of Santa...

How do you usually celebrate New Year's Eve? Will it be different this year?

More time with friends, but Chrissy isn't a night owl, so she goes to bed at 12:01

If you could change something about the way we celebrate the last days of the year, what would it be?

Not start doing it in early November - I find myself tired of it by the time it arrives nowadays

Oh, yes - in Germany, supermarkets start to sell gingerbread in September - but I plead guilty: I do buy them in September…

What was your best tv show in 2020?

If you'd asked me a couple of weeks ago, it would have been an argument between "The Mandalorian" and "I May Destroy You", but we just finished "The Queen's Gambit" and that wins.

It’s the second leader mentioning “The Queen’s Gambit” as best TV show. I think, it’s time for a Netflix subscription…

What was the most unsual thing you did this year?

Played nurse to my parents for the first time. It's always been them looking after me, until my father had a really nasty fall at the beginning of the year

Here's your chance to give a special shoutout to someone - who is it and why?

On a community side - @Andy Heinzer - for following up with great details on so many answers when I've done the short version, and picking up so many that I'm stumped on! At home - my friend Nes, for protecting so many people from the virus. Her charges (she runs a care home), her friends and family, and herself (she has a heart problem putting her in a high-risk group).


Nic, thank you for telling us so many personal stories about you. Thank you for being a part of our community. I’m looking forward to meeting you in person at the next Summit! But first, have a merry Christmas with your family and friends, enjoy your Christmas beer and a happy, healthy new year 2021!


Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Nov 30, 2020

It's really hard to believe we have reached this time of year already.  Thanks you @Thomas Schlegel for doing these again!  I know how much hard work must go into them, but they are awesome!

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This was so fun to read -- I can't wait to learn more about other Community Leaders! 

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carolyn french Community Leader Nov 30, 2020

It's the most wonderful time of the year again, thanks to this lovely tradition @Thomas Schlegel !

An immediate spirit lifter, and fun to read all Jack's answers. And something I learned the other day - NC is one of the top real Christmas tree producers (2nd to Oregon from what I saw).

Cheers to our Atlassian community and friends we've made here! Happy Holidays to all 🥰

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Leslie Lee Atlassian Team Nov 30, 2020

It was so nice to read more about you @Jack BrickeyThanks for the post @Thomas Schlegel 

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Time for the highlight calendar 😍 thanks @Thomas Schlegel  love it!

Best start of the day 👏🏻 and christmas cheers to community leaders 🎄💙

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I really love this idea and finding out more about our Community team!  

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Jack Brickey Community Leader Dec 01, 2020

Thomas, thank you for making me part of your annual calendar. I look forward to these every year. I am so honored to be a part of this year's event and can't wait to read all of the upcoming daily entries!

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Thomas Schlegel Community Leader Dec 01, 2020

Thank you everyone :-)

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Thanks @Thomas Schlegel  for considering me on this years countdown. 🙏🏿

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The best moment of the Atlassian Online Community has ARRIVED!

YES ! ! !! ! ! !


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Jack Brickey Community Leader Dec 02, 2020

@Michael Kimathi _AC Nairobi_ Kenya_ , you never cease to inspire me. I love they way you look at life. The Community is so much more complete with you being a part of it!

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Thank you @Jack Brickey for those very kind words, it means a lot coming from a wise leader like you. I look up to you Sir. 

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@Thomas Schlegel I believe this is year 4 for your advent calendar. You sir, rock!

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Thomas Schlegel Community Leader Dec 03, 2020

@Davin Studer  Yes, it‘s the fourth calendar 😊 - thank you

Darline Auguste Community Manager Dec 04, 2020

This is already my favorite time of year and this calendar makes me love it even more! Thank you @Thomas Schlegel and to all of our AMAZING Community Leaders 💙💙💙

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Erica Moss Community Manager Dec 04, 2020

This is the BEST. Amazing job, @Thomas Schlegel. 😄

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Isha Community Manager Dec 04, 2020

@Thomas Schlegel Thanks for lifting everyone's spirits with this lovely blog.  Looking forward to watching the Holiday soon.

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Thanks, @Thomas Schlegel!

This was really great article! Thank you for this amazing Holiday Countdown 2020 article!

It's my pleasure to be a part of the Atlassian community!

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Kat Marketplace Partner Dec 08, 2020

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Twelve piupius swinging
Eleven haka lessons
Ten juicy fish heads
Nine sacks of pipis
Eight plants of puha
Seven eels a swimming
Six pois a twirling
Five - big - fat - pigs !
Four huhu grubs
Three flax kits
Two kumara
And a pukeko in a ponga tree!

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@Kat So I know what eels, pigs, and fish are. The rest I will need to Google.

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Lars Maehlmann Community Leader Dec 10, 2020

@Thomas Schlegel thank you for the song - it is fantastic to do the events with you and I am looking forward to the next year :-D .

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Thank you SO MUCH @Thomas Schlegel for including me in the prestigious and BEST Advent Holiday Countdown in the world! 🙏💙🎁🎄

What a privilege!

I think this calls for a new Amazaballz GIF..... 🤯

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Erica Moss Community Manager Dec 14, 2020

@Dave Liao "Self-improvement is an ongoing task, and one should re-visit them more frequently than annually." Love this.

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Dave Liao Community Leader Dec 14, 2020

@Thomas Schlegel - love your commentary on my answers, and glad my answers were Community-appropriate 😄

@Erica Moss - I was planning on running a long-distance race (after not having done so for many years) but I think I've got enough to worry about during these COVID times!

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I'm in love with your holiday articles @Thomas Schlegel! Words are not enough to describe each one of these awesome people here! 💙

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