For many Americans, Christmas brings to mind snow-covered scenery, with “Jack Frost nipping at your nose,” Christmas ornaments nestled beautifully in evergreen branches and lights twinkling against a backdrop of winter white.
But have you ever wished you could enjoy an Australian-style Christmas? December marks the beginning of summer “down under,” so many Australians celebrate Christmas with camping trips or barbecues on the beach. During July in the Northern Hemisphere, as we settle firmly into summer, it’s our chance to experience a warm-weather Christmas holiday.
What is Christmas in July?
Christmas in July is a uniquely American tradition. The custom dates back to July 1933 at Keystone Camp, a summer camp in Brevard, North Carolina. A few years later, a movie called Christmas in July set the idea for a summer holiday in the minds of Americans. Eventually, retailers picked up on the concept and the rest is history.
How to Celebrate Christmas in July
Celebrating Christmas in July is a fun way to conjure up some holiday spirit during the hottest days of the year. Think of all the possibilities that open up when you celebrate Christmas in warmer weather. Here are a few Christmas in July ideas to get you started.
Christmas Pool Party: Host a Christmas in July pool party. Decorate the pool area with beach-themed Christmas decorations like lighted palm trees, play Christmas music and set up a Christmas-themed photo booth to capture the festive occasion.
Christmas Decorations: Set the scene for a Christmas in July Party by getting out your Christmas decorations. Decorate a pine tree in your yard with lights and ornaments. Hang lights on your house and put up Christmas lawn decorations in the yard without freezing your fingers and toes!
Christmas Movie Marathon: Does July heat send you scurrying into your nicely air-conditioned home? Take your “beat the heat” attitude even further by watching Christmas movies to help you think cool thoughts. Tune in to the Hallmark Channel Christmas in July promotion to enjoy Christmas movies all month long. If you prefer, set up a screen outdoors and enjoy Christmas movies on a blanket under the stars.
Christmas Crafts: Start chipping at your gift list now by tackling a few DIY Christmas crafts. You can have the best of both worlds: Relax in the shade of your patio or porch while handcrafting Christmas ornaments and gifts. Don’t know where to start? Paper honeycomb ornaments are popular and pricey, but you can make your own. Whip up a few felt ornaments, create Christmas farmhouse decor or make gingerbread house decorations from clay pots.
Holiday Giving: Charities that receive lots of support during the holidays may be short on help the rest of the year. This July, share your Christmas spirit by giving back to your favorite community organization. As you would during the holidays, volunteer to serve meals at a homeless shelter, donate non-perishables to a local food bank or collect children’s clothes and baby supplies for a safe house.
Christmas in July Dinner: For your Christmas in July feast, give your holiday favorites a cool summer twist. Some suggestions: Grilled or smoked turkey, jalapeno dinner rolls, sweet potato fries, loaded baked potato salad, stuffed zucchini, Christmas cookie ice cream sandwiches or apple-cinnamon hand pies.
Don’t Bake Christmas Cookies: Everyone loves Christmas cookies, but who wants to turn on the oven when it’s 90 degrees outside? Instead, dig into Grandma’s recipe box or your favorite online recipe site for no-bake Christmas cookies. Serve them with frozen hot chocolate and mulled wine slushies!
Keep it Festive
Extend your Christmas in July party theme with fun activities. Some suggestions:
- Buy plain grocery store sugar cookies and have a Christmas cookie decorating contest.
- Read your favorite children’s Christmas story out loud.
- Hold Christmas Carol Karaoke on the lawn (but only if your neighbors are the forgiving kind!)
- Instead of a snowball fight, have a water balloon fight.
- Put a Christmas in July spin on your party games and see who can make the best sand angel, sand snowman or marshmallow snowman.
Christmas in July is a fun way to enjoy some holiday favorite activities at an off-beat time of year. So go ahead - decorate a tree on your patio, hang the stockings by the fire pit and a Christmas wreath on the pool house door.
And don’t forget to take the family Christmas card photo while the decorations are up!