Christmas in July
Have you ever celebrated Christmas in July? There are several reasons to explain this wacky holiday- from mission work to boosting slow mid-summer retail sales. Whatever the reason, it is a fun, refreshing celebration and a good excuse for a party.
Try it once and it will likely turn into a tradition. Here is a complete party guide to help throw this party without a lot of time and expense. Let this guide tickle the creative bone. I’ll bet that you come up with a few creative ideas of your own.
While traveling recently, I sauntered into a quaint little Gyro shop and laughed to see decorations from virtually every major holiday. There were Christmas lights, alabaster Easter eggs, grinning Jack-o-lanterns and more strung along walls and stuffed into corners. A sign reading ‘Welcome to Earl’s, Where Every Day Is A Holiday” hung above the bar.
The scene brought back a lovely childhood memory of Vacation Bible School as a kid. In July we had a few Christmas decorations, refreshments and played games. We collected items to send to worldwide missions for the real Christmas.
It was a practice introduced to Calvary Baptist Church in Washington DC in 1942 by a minister who brought the tradition from his own church in Philadelphia. A Christmas service was held each along Carols and a few decorations. Donations were collected for missions to share with the needy worldwide on the actual Christmas.
Other Ideas on the History of Christmas in July
There are still other ideas on the origin of Christmas in July. December in Australia and the southern hemisphere is in the middle of Summer. The Aussies like to celebrate with Half-Christmas or Yule Fest. It is believed that Northern Hemisphere tourists while traveling in the Blue Mountains one Summer were so thrilled to see snow in July they convinced the hotel proprietor to throw a Christmas bash. The idea caught on with the Aussies. They could join in on all the Winter Wonderland excitement of a northern hemisphere Christmas.
Still another account of the beginning of Christmas in July has the holiday’s roots from a girl’s camp in North Carolina in 1933 where a big celebration was held complete with a visit from Santa. It was such a hit the celebration gained attention from a national magazine. Still, today, a great Christmas in July celebration is held annually in the town of West Jefferson, North Carolina.
Then there is the theory that Christmas In July began in the western world as a way to boost sales during a slow period. With no major gift giving holiday between Father’s Day and Christmas merchants, began the campaign in the 1950s to rev up sales. They could offer discounts to clear Summer merchandise and make way for Fall and Winter lines. These days, according to GearHungry, events BlackFriday are becoming more popular for the same reasons: trying to boost sales.
Party Theme and Decorating Ideas
Whatever the reason for Christmas in July it serves as a great excuse to party. Make your party a charitable event for an even better Christmas In July experience. After all, Christmas is about giving. There are two ways to go with the party theme.
1. There is no set date for Christmas In July. In 1944 and 1945 the United States Postal Service joined the armed forces with a huge Christmas In July luncheon. The idea behind the celebration was early Christmas mailing for the troops.
If American, why not deck the halls with flags of freedom and do the same? Pick the Fourth of July for your party, or keep Independence Day ” independent” and select another day in July. Just throw in a little green with the red, white and blue. Instruct your guests to bring items for mailing to the troops. Have a big box covered in leftover Christmas wrap for your guests to place their donations in.
2. The folks Down Under love having Christmas in July. They can enjoy the sights, sounds smells and tastes associated with a cooler weather Christmas. In contrast, the majority of the northern hemisphere never experiences a tropical Christmas. You can with Christmas in July! Pick a tropical Christmas theme. Decorate with red and white silk-like tropical flowers. Let the host and hostess dress as Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Santa: tropical shirt, Bermudas, flip flops, Santa hat and sunshades
Mrs. Claus: grass skirt, bandanna bra, a lei and a flower tucked behind the ear.
Crank up the boom box with Jimmy Buffet’s Christmas Island CD.Instruct guests to bring a gift for a worldwide mission. Again, have a big box covered in Christmas wrap for donations.
Party Invitation Ideas
Party invitations are like a smile. Great invitations will set the stage for a successful party. Be sure to include the basics in the format of the invitations.
Name of the event
Name of host, hostess
Time, place, date
Special instructions (what to bring, dress, etc.)
Some ideas for invitations:
1. Recycle old Christmas cards. Type up the invitation and glue inside.
2. Write invitations on large balloons with an ultra fine point Sharpie. Instruct guests to blow up and read.
3. Send a message in a bottle invitation
Party favors are optional. Here are some ideas to consider. Fill small sand pails with trial sized Summer items like sunblock and lotions or other goodies. Make the cute candy cane shades with white sunglasses and red electrical tape. Both the sand pail and sun shades can be found in stores that specialize in dollar merchandise.
Christmas in July Party Food
Cold food, along with hot food from the grill is typical Summer fare. There is no need to change for Christmas in July. Simply grill the chicken, turkey or ham outdoors instead of in the oven. Wrap fresh veggies in foil and grill for side dishes.
Grilled turkey dogs will be a hit with the kids.
Move over broccoli casserole! Add chopped red and green peppers to your favorite potato salad recipe for a bit of crunchy Christmas color.
A peppermint ice cream igloo served with cupcakes iced in holiday colors is for dessert. For the “igloo” soften two pints of vanilla ice cream and stir in about two cups of crushed peppermint candy.
Choose two bowls to use as molds, one bowl larger than the other. Add a tablespoon of water in each bowl before filling with the softened ice cream. Refreeze the ice cream for an hour or two. Remove from the freezer and unmold.
Idea: Go potluck with this party and have guests bring a dish of their choice. Provide the main dish.
Love hot cocoa in Christmas mugs? Fill those mugs with peppermint chocolate shakes for a cold cup of cocoa.
A few directed activities can really add to a party. Try these ideas for your Christmas in July party.
1. Have Christmas Carol Karaoke. Home Karaoke machines will have them.
2. Play Bad Santa. Have guests bring a fun, inexpensive wrapped gift. The host or hostess opens the first gift and then chooses someone to open a second gift. The second guest can keep his gift or swap gifts with the host or hostess. The second guest then chooses the next guest to open a gift. This guest continues the game.
3. Kids at the party? Set up a Christmas cookie decorating or ornament making station.
4. Everyone will enjoy a water balloon snowball fight. Fill up lots of white balloons and choose teams.
5. Set up the den or TV room with a classic Christmas movie for guests to wander in and watch as they wish.
6. Sparklers and a few fireworks can close the party after dark.
There! Now wouldn’t you like to do this again next year? You have started a new tradition!