Remember when you were so excited on Christmas Eve that you couldn’t go to sleep? Maybe you were the sneaky one trying to catch Santa in the act of displaying your wish list items neatly under the tree? Or maybe you were hoping to catch him eating the delicious sugar cookies you designed with your mom (or any inspirational woman in your world) earlier that day? We bet you still remember that magical moment of wonder when your eyes spied the presents under the tree!
But Santa and presents and Christmas trees aren’t the only amazing aspects of the most wonderful time of the year! What about the eggnog or enjoying your favorite red wine with your loved ones cozied up next to the fire? And we know you can smell the turkey when you imagine your holiday feast and all of its yummy trimmings – what’s your favorite holiday treat? Mashed potatoes? Sweet potato casserole? Dressing (or do you call it stuffing?)? what about green bean casserole? Oh, goodness – we just can’t wait! But… guess what! You don’t have to – and neither do we! Why? Because it’s CHRISTMAS IN JULY! This summer, enjoy all your favorite aspects of the holiday season – in the glorious heat that comes with the summer season. That’s right – you get to celebrate the holiday season twice this year!
The longing for the magical wonderment of the holiday season is so intense for some, and that, folks, is the foundation of the creation and now celebration of the most wonderful time of the summer – Christmas in July.
3 MAGIC FUN FACTS
FIRST MAGIC FACT
Christmas in July was first heard in an 1892 French Opera, but the very first Christmas in July celebration occurred during the summer of 1933.
The first Summer Christmas event started at an all-girls summer camp, Camp Keystone, in Brevard, North Carolina. Go Girl Power! Camp Keystone held a weekend long Christmas in July celebration for their campers and staff, starting the unofficial holiday tradition.
Camp Director Fanny Hold hosted the festivities complete with a Christmas tree, carolers, artificial cotton snow, holiday treats, a gift exchange, and even a surprise visit from Santa, himself. #WhereIsSanta
As the news of the fun and festivities spread, the magical event slowly began to catch on, first across the South, and eventually across the country. The camp continues the tradition each year.
SECOND MAGIC FACT
According to the New York Times, “The U.S. Post Office and the U.S. Army and Navy officials, in conjunction with the American advertising and greeting card industries, threw a Christmas in July luncheon in New York in 1944 to promote an early Christmas mailing campaign for service men overseas during World War II.”
This helped boost morale amongst the dedicated men and women serving our country who were deployed overseas, missing their loved one. For many of the military service personnel, receiving letters or care packages from home was just like Christmas, and provided them with those much-desired warm fuzzy feels.
THIRD MAGIC FACT
The term Christmas in July became much more familiar in 1940 when it gained national attention with the release of the feature comedy film by the same name. Christmas in July, the movie, starred block buster actors, Dick Powell and Ellen Drew and was written and directed by Preston Sturges. It became an instant classic. The story follows a man named Jimmy as he splurges on lavish gifts for his family, friends, and neighbors. Jimmy then goes on to propose marriage to his girlfriend, after being tricked into he won an advertising contest and its prize of $25,000. If you have not seen this movie, add it to your Rom Com list ASAP!
This year, Christmas in July is more important than ever as we try to reclaim some sense of normalcy and remind ourselves why the holiday season is so important. Families arecoming together and are making up for lost time. In some instances, current family members are meeting new family members for the first time. Aww babies!! A summertime tradition like Christmas in July is the perfect opportunity to celebrate love, family and friendship.
We love tradition and are excited to help you start or continue your own Christmas in July holiday traditions. So how can you celebrate Christmas in July and create your own summertime, holiday traditions?
Well, that’s where we can help! We’ve created a list of eight fun-filled ideas to get your Christmas in July party started! Whether you go with the traditional theme or create custom celebratory adventures, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect way to kickoff a new summer tradition.
8 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in July
1. Decorate a Christmas Tree
If you have an artificial tree – great! Now you have another reason that you spent so much money on it and can get some added use! But if not, make a tree out of items you have laying around the house. Decorate a small tabletop tree or even a pineapple for the countertop. If you want to stay ahead of the latest trend this year, decorate a sunflower tree – it’s ALL the rage this year! All you need: some faux sunflowers, burlap ribbon for garland, a star on top – and voila! You just created your own DIY Christmas in July tree that is stunning and super festive! And we know… everyone’s going to looove it.
2. Sing Christmas Carols
Did you know some of Santa’s favorite carols are Jingle Bells, Here comes Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town? This is also a great opportunity to learn a new holiday tune and practice it before the wintertime holiday season. Have you ever heard Dominic the Donkey? How about Barefoot Santa Claus? For Christmas in July, we really enjoy the song “Christmas in the Sand” by Colbie Caillat and, to be honest, like ALL the holiday songs by the Beach Boys.
3. Make Christmas Cookies
Who doesn’t love baking and decorating all the different types of cookies? Give yourself a reason to splurge and try a new recipe or stay traditional and use the time this summer to make your favorite holiday cookies that you typically only have at the end of the year. Try decorating those delicious cookies a little different than your usual holiday go-to! Make Christmas in July all about summer and decorate your chocolate chip sensations or your decadent sugar cookies by bringing summertime magic to your favorite holiday inspirations. Get crazy! Put a swimsuit on your snowman and gingerbread people! Give Santa Claus sunglasses – like we captured while Santa was on vacation this travel season.
4. Have Fun with the "Elf of the Shelf"
We know your kids love searching for the Elf, so bring that holiday tradition to your summertime adventures at the house and watch your children explore! We know the Elf on the Shelf will be thrilled for a summertime holiday visit to the kids (and probably your wife, partner, husband, best friend, roommate, dogs, cats – ANYONE!). Everyone will be thrilled to see their holiday friend. And since it’s summer, just imagine all the places the Elf can adventure outside too!
5. Host a Holiday Soiree
There are so many ways to have a Christmas in July holiday party this summer. You can invite your family and friends to join the fun. Here’s a list of several different ways to add the holiday spirit to your Christmas in July gathering:
- Plan a festive holiday meal with traditional holiday recipes and throw in a couple of seasonal goodies, as well. For example, use a cookie cutter to cut holiday shapes out of watermelon – oh, we really like this idea! Or grill some of your summertime favorites and decorate those hamburgers in the shape of a snowman or reindeer! We love to grill or smoke a turkey/ham instead of baking it. This creates that magical summer feel but keeps with the traditional holiday meals to really jazz up your Christmas in July celebration! And we almost forgot! Homemade ice cream! We’re thinking candy cane flavored ice cream! And what about a nice punch to beat the heat? Grinch Grool, anyone? Yes, please and thank you. Don’t miss out on some of our favorite holiday recipes and super easy summer treats below.
- Play some Reindeer games – summer style. Cornhole, horseshoes, volleyball, lawn darts, charades, bingo – these are all wonderful ways to have fun this summer. And to connect to the traditions of the holiday season, what about some holiday trivia? And our personal favorite, Pin the Nose on the Snowman!!!! You could even substitute a Slip-in-Slide for the sledding fun that comes with winter holiday celebrations. Now, that sounds like fun! Please invite us!!!
- Host a gift exchange. Who doesn’t love presents? Homemade or store bought, it’s the thought that counts! White elephant anyone? These different types of gift games are so much fun and a great way to show the folks you love the most how you care! Plus, you never know what gift you’ll end up with.
- Have a Photo Op. Who doesn’t loving capturing the magic with great photos? You could create Christmas in July-inspired backdrop and provide all kinds of holiday and summertime props to really jazz up your party!
6. Watch Holiday Movies
No matter what holiday you celebrate at the end of each calendar year, we are sure your traditions include some amazing holiday movies. If you’re like us and don’t know which holiday movie is your favorite, make it a Christmas in July movie marathon. Crank up the air conditioning, grab your softest blanket and snuggle up with all your favorites! The ice and snow in the movies can trick your brain into forgetting about the summer heat – at least momentarily. Do not forget about the movie Christmas in July that we mentioned before, and if you’re not sure which movie to choose, we recommend The Grinch!
7. Giving is Better than Receiving
To really get into the holiday spirit this summer, give back to the community. Consider volunteering with a local organization or group or donating to a non-profit organization that works to make the world a better place for causes you care about! Get the whole family involved and make it a bonding experience that also instills the importance of giving back. One of the most precious gifts we can give to each other is our time and attention – all to make our communities full of positivity, care and support.
8. Take a Road Trip
If you are looking to get out of town for a little while, make it part of your Christmas in July celebrations. There are dozens of cities across the country hosting holiday-themed events in honor of this summertime magic. We have put together a list of just a few exploration possibilities that we highly recommend.
- Frankenmuth, Michigan | One of our favorite places to visit year-round for holiday is Frankenmuth, Michigan. Bonner’s Christmas wonderland is a huge store filled top to bottom with everything Christmas in a Germantown setting.
- Santa Claus, Indiana | Another favorite place is Holiday World theme park in Santa Claus, Indiana. Packed with amusement rides and water slides perfect for Christmas in July! Who could resist riding Prancer’s Merry-Go-Round?
- Oceanside, California | There’s a Christmas in July artisan festival in Oceanside, California.
- Phoenix, Arizona | Don’t miss the amazing Winter in July event hosted in the beautiful (but very, very warm) city of Phoenix
- Dallas, Texas | This Christmas in July festival is hosted by the incredibly trendy Bishop Arts District located in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas.
- North Pole, Alaska | And if you’re looking for the most authentic summertime holiday extravaganza, you should visit Santa Claus House in the actual North Pole!
- If you are traveling overseas, it is actually winter in the southern hemisphere, and you can get that cool wintery Christmas feeling to help celebrate Christmas in July. There are also some towns in Australia and South Africa that are hosting winter celebrations called Yuletide or Yulefest celebrating their midwinter Christmas.
Whatever your plans this month (or next – it’s summer until September 22!), make sure you take some time to explore old traditions or create new traditions that will bring you, your family, your friends, your fur children, your kids – all of your loved ones – the most holiday spirit and a second most wonderful time of the year! This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the sugar and spice and everything nice – twice!! And if you have never celebrated this festive unofficial holiday, what are you waiting for? Take it from us, seize the day!
Christmas in July Recipes
We’re sharing some wonderful holiday recipes that happen to be some of our favorite super easy treats. These were recipes actually come from one of our own, Michelle Criner, and have been passed down through generations in her family. She makes them each and every year! Though she’s not sure where they originated from, she promises they’re super delicious! Try one out and let us know what you think – share your success stories with us on social or in the comments below!
Grinch Grool Punch
This recipe is super simple and disappears quickly – so don’t worry about any going to waste! Don’t like lime? No problem! You can literally use any flavor sherbet and call it something different. This fun recipe is always a crowd pleaser for any function.
Magic Fun Fact
Grool is a combination of the words great and cool, befitting of this yummy treat.
- 1 (one) tub of lime sherbet
- 1 (one) 2-Liter bottle of lemon-lime soda.
- Scoop sherbet into a punch bowl using ice cream scoop.
- Pour soda over top of sherbet and let sit 15 minutes before serving to allow the sherbet to melt and become “grool”.
- Use another cup or ladle to serve by pouring into your favorite holiday drinking glasses
Homemade Peppermint Chip Ice Cream Recipe
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract (make sure to buy peppermint and not mint extract!)
- 1–2 drops of pink food coloring (or more to achieve the color you’d like)
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
- Add the peppermint extract and the food coloring to the bowl with the whipped cream, then with the mixer on low speed, drizzle in the sweetened condensed milk. Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips and gently stir until evenly mixed throughout the ice cream base.
- Pour into a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze for at least 6 hours or until the ice cream sets up.
This is your world and we want you to personalize and customize all the best ways that work for you and your family. Mix and match some of our tips and tricks for the best celebratory ideas! And if you have some of your own, TELL US! We love hearing from you!
And no matter what – take the time to appreciate those you love! Some of the best memories are those of holiday traditions shared with loved ones we hold dear. As we mature, our precious childhood memories of presents, Santa Claus, and family traditions are passed down to our children and grandchildren.
Happy Christmas in July!