Club Chronicles: Bring more joy to summer with Christmas in July
Christmas in July has become such a cultural staple each year that you might not have even thought about who first dreamed up such a cheery, cheesy, midsummer celebration.
In the United States the first Christmas in July started 88 years ago July 24-25 in 1933 at a summer girls’ camp called Keystone Camp in Brevard, North Carolina, at the request of the camp’s co-founder, Fannie Holt.
The first “Christmas in July” included carolers, a Christmas tree, Santa Claus, presents and fake snow made of cotton.
As the tradition evolved, campers would use laundry bags as makeshift stockings, which they placed outside their cabins to be filled with candy overnight.
The precise beginning of the Christmas in July tradition is not clear, but it is believed to have started in Europe as a way to celebrate Christmas in summer.
During the summer months in the northern hemisphere, the weather becomes increasingly warm, and many people crave the coolness of winter. The idea of celebrating Christmas in July was an instant hit, and local businessmen saw it as a golden opportunity and cashed in on this unique festival, which continues to this day.
The tradition is so well entrenched in Australia that most restaurants, clubs and dining halls have an official annual catered menu for Christmas in July. Most hotels, restaurants, bars, apparel stores and gift shops offer special discounts for the occasion. Resorts have special events connected with their Christmas in July celebrations.
Christmas in July seems to be mainly a time for retail sales in the United States, but many American families have started celebrating Christmas in July, especially if their family members are scattered across the states. It is easier for them to have a get-together in July: The weather is favorable for a vacation, rather than in the freezing winter months, when long distance journeys are really hard.
A popular place for families to celebrate Christmas in the summer is The Inn at Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
It is located across the street from the Incredible Christmas Place, which is the South’s largest Christmas shopping village.
Their second location recently opened in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, and features the German-inspired bell tower similar to the landmark at the original Pigeon Forge store.
Some early birds take advantage of Christmas in July sales to get a jump on their holiday gift shopping for December. Christmas in July is especially popular among young people because restaurants and resorts offer special discounts.
Some television stations show the recent blockbuster flicks on this occasion or re-run Christmas specials such as the movie “Christmas in July,” which first hit theaters in 1940.
Many people choose to spend their time by themselves reading books such as “The Polar Express,” which might help them beat the heat of summer.
Christmas in July might seem especially enticing on its own right now, even without the gift-buying – especially if you missed out on celebrating the holidays together in person this past year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With vaccinations in place and the ability to celebrate outdoors, it’s now safe to gather and deck the halls for the holidays in July.
Despite its rampant commercialization, Christmas in July remains primarily an occasion to remember the northern hemisphere’s snow-blanketed Christmas nights. It is a fun way to satisfy the craving for cooler weather and holiday cheer that many people experience during the hottest month of the year.