Come July, and there is an air of festivity all over.
Everywhere we find people making a mad rush to nearby stores, shops and malls to buy gift items, apparels and all other articles traditionally linked to festal occasions. Those out of the loop may wonder at the reason for this sudden shopping though such people are a rarity. It is hard to come by anyone who has not heard about or celebrated the much talked about occasion – “Christmas In July”.
But how did “Christmas in July” originate?
The precise beginnings of the Christmas in July tradition is not very clear, although it is commonly believed that it actually 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. Amid the scorching summer months, people miss the gift giving, and holiday spirit of the Christmastime.
Though it is not known when it started exactly, it is probably from the 80s that the festival began to be celebrated. The earliest Christmas celebrations in July saw people throwing parties that imitate the actual Christmas festivities in December. The celebrations also included other Christmas traditions like Santa Claus, ice cream and other cold foods, and gifts.
It was held that celebrating in the warm season would ensure a strong, happy winter Christmas season. This untimely Christmas festival is also often ascribed to a group of Irish tourists who went for a vacation in Sydney’s Blue Mountains in the summer months of July in 1980.
Away from the summer temperatures in their country, they were overjoyed at the sight of snow there. It is believed that they convinced the proprietor of a local hotel in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales to hold a party called “Yulefest”.
The idea was an instant hit and caught on the imagination of everyone present there. The proprietor saw a golden opportunity in this and henceforth held a Christmas Party each year in July. The local businessmen too jumped in to cash in on this unique festival and it continues to this day.
Christmas in July Today
Today, the tradition is so well entrenched in Australia that most restaurants, clubs and dining halls, have an official advertised annual catered menu for Christmas in July, and are often booked in advance. Most hotels, restaurants, bars, apparel stores, gift shops offer special discounts for the occasion.
During this time, you can find the local gift shops brimming with figurines of Santa and Snowmen. Resorts have special events connected with their Christmas in July celebrations. The whole occasion has come to be utilized as a marketing gimmick as much elsewhere in Australia as in its snowfields where the month of July coincides with the high season in the Australian skiing resorts.
Christmas in July – The Retail Holiday
But the market opportunity is, undoubtedly, the most plausible reason behind “Christmas in July” celebrations. It is commonly said that the occasion was dreamed up by retail merchants in the western countries who wanted to benefit from a holiday in July, which is otherwise a dull season for business and has few marketing opportunities. That makes a lot of sense, specially when we see how so many “holidays” are emerging these days ranging from Boss’ Day to Grandparent’s Day. Many people embrace these special days as they emerge which surely spells a fortune for retail merchants as well as greeting card companies.
These days, Christmas in July seems to be mainly a time for retail sales. In the United States, like all other festivals, this event too has become highly commercialized. is more often used as a marketing tool than as an actual holiday celebrated by ordinary people. Many American families have started celebrating Christmas in July.
An unofficial holiday, the event is especially popular among the young people. Restaurants offer special discounts on this time. Many nightclubs host on this time Christmas parties open to the public. Drinks are guzzled and food items eaten up like crazy. Television stations show the recent blockbuster flicks on this occasion or re-run Christmas specials, and many stores throw special “Christmas in July” sales. Many however, choose to spend the time all by themselves or with their families.
Some families love the concept of Christmas in July, especially if their family members are scattered across the states, because it is easier for them to have a get-together in July, which is a summer month and when the weather is favorable for a vacation, rather than in the freezing winter months when long distance journeys are really hard.
There are others who do not celebrate during this time. They are reluctant to acknowledge the event in July and are opposed to having such an occasion. They argue that this untimely celebration of Christmas makes a mockery of the actual festival that is held on December 25th and commemorates Lord Jesus Christ’s birth. However, the precise date of Christ’s birth is subject to a lot of dates. No one really knows when the messiah was really born. Hence, celebrating Christmas in July shouldn’t be a huge issue so long as the holiday doesn’t lose its meaning.
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.
What do you think about “Christmas in July?”