Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Christmas in July. Is it a real thing, or is it just a Hallmark invention? Is there any history for this miscellaneous holiday? Or, is it a random date when people start to get ready for the “real” Christmas in December?

Let’s get some answers to these pressing questions.

First, YES; Christmas in July is a legit holiday, especially in the southern states. Back in 1933, at a summer girls camp (Keystone Camp) in Brevard, NC, camp co-founder Fannie Holt wanted to celebrate Christmas… in July. That first celebration was a weekend-long event, with a Christmas tree and carolers, and even a gift exchange. 

Depiction from the first Christmas In July

As the years passed and the tradition continued, this celebration gradually spread outside of the camp and into the lives and culture of many of our southern states. 

In 1940, a movie titled “Christmas in July” came out in theaters. It was a very popular comedy starring Dick Powell and Ellen Drew, and laid the groundwork for the related retail boon which expanded through the 40s and continues on today.

In the U.S., there are 10 ten states known for their Christmas in July celebrations, often enjoyed by the beach or lakeside. They are: California, Arizona, Texas, Alaska, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New York. Treetopia  

Globally, Australia & New Zealand are the 2 countries most noted for joining in on this fun. “The concept of Christmas in July itself was…a way for people living in southern hemispheres to make up for missing out on that typical white Christmas….” Christmas in July lets them take advantage of the cooler July weather and walk around in ugly Christmas sweaters while shopping the holiday sales and discounts. That same cooler weather also provides the perfect atmosphere for seasonal and sweeter treats with which to celebrate, from warm soups to sugar cookies to hot chocolate bombs. Kiwis also get to take advantage of the many mountainous and snowy regions of the country to enjoy winter sports, even if it is July. 

As a group, we Americans really enjoy a good sale or bargain, and Christmas in July has plenty. Retailers have done their part to make this holiday a good time to jump start your Christmas shopping, although the biggest sales seem to occur in June these days. Not to promote any particular business or channel but let’s face it, the Hallmark Channel has all your holiday needs all wrapped up in a tidy bow. Every year the channel celebrates Christmas in July with a binge worthy selection of non-stop Hallmark Christmas movies.

Food, as always, is at the center of many holidays. For the July version of Christmas, instead of having  turkey or ham, why not consider Perfect BBQ Chicken Thighs with a delectable Lazy Peach Cobbler for dessert. For something to wash that delicious food down, look no further than these holiday worthy beverage options from GNL: Holiday Moscow Mules, Tropical Smoothies, Piña Coladas and Blue Hawaiians.

With the miserably hot and sticky weather that July brings to most, at least here in the States, the question becomes: what is there to lose by celebrating Christmas in July? It is the perfect excuse to gather friends and family around good food, get some retail therapy (who doesn’t need this?) and remember that in 6 months or so you get a redo in the cold.