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Christmas. We all know it and a sizable portion of us celebrate it. Like most things, Christmas has a bunch of stuff associated with it: the crisp whites and greens and reds of freshly-fallen snow, crisp-smelling pine trees, and the satin of scarlet ribbon. What isn’t there, at least to me, is the month of July.
Christmas is cold and frigid. It’s bright sweaters and red-tipped noses. The holiday can be a lot of things, but to many people around the globe, the celebration takes place in the dead of… summer.
I mean, I’m not complaining. Christmas begets gifts, which begets me getting gifts, which begets joy all around, so…
Yeah. Christmas in July. Let’s talk about it.
Where did Christmas in July come from?
Picture it: it’s 1933. Super fun time. (Note the sarcasm.) But, amidst all the ruckus going on in the world around them, a small summer camp in North Carolina created something magical.
Christmas in July began at Keystone Camp in Brevard, North Carolina, during the year of 1933. They pulled out the whole shebang: trees, caroling, Santa, all that jazz- just minus the whole ‘December’ thing.
Then in 1940 a movie entitled “Christmas in July” was released where the phrase caught national attention.
It’s recorded that in 1942 a Baptist church in Washington D.C started collecting Christmas presents in July to give the gifts plenty of time to circulate the globe.
Similarly, in 1944, a huge Christmas mailing campaign was backed by the USPS, Army, and Navy. They were encouraging people to send Christmas cards to the military serving in World War II in July so that they would get there in time for the holidays.
Since then, it’s become a pretty annual event and has picked up a substantial amount of steam throughout the South.
However, pulling back from the U.S., there is plenty of evidence that this is pretty universal.
To state the obvious, Christmas is celebrated in July in places like Australia because of the climate. From what I’ve read, it seems that this half-birthday of a holiday has become pretty standard in Australia’s culture, which is cool. Or, not cool, since it’s Australia and it doesn’t get too cold there.
In European countries, there’s been plenty of occurrences of Christmas celebrations in July that haven’t seemed to correlate with the happenings at Keystone Camp, so to each their own with the actual origins of this phenomenon.
What is Christmas in July?
At the risk of sounding too repetitive, I’ll keep this brief. Christmas in July is, well, exactly that. People partake in festivals or throw parties that are reminiscent of the ones people go to during the holiday season.
On the 24th and 25th of July, people repeat similar practices to what they do during December. Caroling, stockings, gift exchanges, feasts- all the good stuff.
More than that, on a technical note, it’s a great marketing opportunity for a lot of businesses. Whether a good thing or not, since the 1950s the market has capitalized on a second round of probably the most consumer-centered holiday of all time.
But, on a lighter note, people across the globe ache for Christmas. More specifically, people ache for what it stands for: Family, gratitude, and a sense of belonging.
When it’s been six months since the holiday season and there are still six more to go, celebrating Christmas as simply a time to enjoy the fun things in life is a nice thought.
Christmas is the one time a year we are able to feel like we fit in the world. So, why not celebrate those moments more?
Christmas in July is celebrated on the same date as Christmas in December. Every year it is celebrated on July 25th.
How to Celebrate Christmas in July
There are people everywhere that love to throw parties, and a Christmas party in July would be a perfect party to have. But it would be even more meaningful if the original ideas surfaced again.
So, throw a party and have everyone bring a gift to send to orphans in third world countries.
Or have everyone make cards for the military at the party and send them out afterward.
Remember what the spirit of Christmas is all about and celebrate that at a Christmas in July party!