Sign with "Christmas in July" message, a Santa hat, and beach decorations.

Christmas in July – From Origins to Celebrations and Beyond

Mar 26, 2024

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle….. In July?

That’s right, we are talking about Christmas in July. Why wait a whole 12 months to celebrate Christmas when you can celebrate twice a year? The unofficial holiday, which falls on July 25th each year, serves as an almost halfway point to the beloved December 25th holiday. 

Whether you are decking the halls for Christmas in July or Half Christmas in your country’s summer or winter, you are sure to enjoy much of what Christmas has to offer in the traditional sense. Most people who celebrate are embracing the seasonal offerings that include cooking festive meals, watching holiday movies, spending time with friends and family and even taking advantage of retail sales that have now lured shoppers with special deals centered around this July observance.

The Origins of Christmas in July

Though there is not a specific date that the term “Christmas in July” started, there is mention from a French opera written in 1892 called Werther as well as a release in 1940 with the film Christmas in July that made the holiday gain more popularity. 

It is believed that after a 1933 celebration, thanks to the young girl campers at Keystone Camp in Brevard, North Carolina, the holiday was born. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this camp offered an opportunity for young girls to come and learn everything from kayaking to horse back riding and crafting. Described as whimsy and magical, Keystone co-founder Miss Fannie Holt came up with the idea of Christmas in July to offer the young girl campers a different kind of activity and a fun and creative way to celebrate the December holiday during their summer camping stay. 

Miss Holt thought it would be an adventure for the campers to bring this winter-time holiday alive by singing carols, decorating a tree and holding a secret Santa gift exchange. It was a way of marking the end of summer in an untraditional way that was new and exciting for the girls. The camp has continued this summer holiday since it started and continues to spread joyful cheer by incorporating Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, as well.

Where is Christmas in July Celebrated?

Many places around the world are celebrating Christmas in July, in addition to Keystone Camp. To those living in the Southern hemisphere, the holiday is an opportunity to recreate all that wintry white Christmas spirit halfway through the year. 

While watching snowflakes fall and drinking hot cocoa isn’t an option in December, for say Aussies, New Zealanders and South Africans, the July holiday includes the cooler weather, delicious feasts and yuletide spirit that the Northern hemisphere gets to appreciate during their December winter season. If you are in Australia, head to the slopes of Thredbo or Perisher where there are plenty of skiing Santas. Or, take some friends to the best restaurants of Queensland where the menus are festive and holiday decor is winter meets summer. Think cozy getaways to the mountains, seasonal celebrations and festive foods to really bring the spirit of Christmas to life.

As for Northern parts of the world, countries including the US, Canada, UK and various parts of Europe, you may see the Christmas in July celebration take place in more of an ironic way. Some opt for a Christmas BBQ complete with fake snow and others plan pool parties decorated with festive red and green decorations. Some swap Santas for starfish in traditional holiday ornaments while others may add a paper umbrella and straw to the eggnog served. Head to some of the hottest nightclubs in Vegas or a magical Christmas festival if you find yourself in the home state of North Carolina where the holiday was first started. 

How to Celebrate Christmas in July?

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Friends toasting with champagne by a Christmas tree.

If planning a party is on the agenda this year, it’s another reason to break out all of those decorations that we get to see once a year. Putting up a tree with both typical Christmas ornaments as well as more seasonal styles including starfish, marine life and sandy seashells is a way to combine both the feeling of winter and summer. Ask your guests to come dressed in ugly Christmas sweaters or Santa printed boardshorts to complete the holiday vibe.

When it comes to feeding your guests, you could cook a traditional turkey or duck roast complete with all the holiday trimmings. Make a minced pie, shuck some oysters or bake some fresh sugar cookies. Create a delicious mulled wine for your adult guests while younger ones sip on hot cocoa. You could also organize a backyard cookout or a potluck where each guest brings their favorite holiday dish. 

Hosting a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange is a great way to incorporate presents without the stress of buying for a laundry list of receivers during the typical holiday season. There is no wrong way to throw a Christmas in July party, just make sure you get your holiday music (including Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas'' and Charlie Brown’s “Christmas Time is Here”), some festive foods and a few of your favorite friends together to have a holly jolly good time. 

To Sum up

Family building a sand Christmas tree on the beach.

The list of ways to spread holiday cheer is endless with all the Christmas-themed activities from this almost 90 year old July tradition. It’s really what speaks to you, your traditions and what brings the essence and magic of Christmas to life. So whether you’re dancing to holiday music amid a crowd sporting red and green bikinis, packing your favorite ugly sweater and skis for a weekend away, or planning a small gathering of holiday movie-goers, get ready to hang your stocking and trim your tree this year on Tuesday, July 25, 2024 for Christmas in July.


What is Christmas in July?

Christmas in July is an unofficial holiday that allows people to celebrate Christmas festivities during the summer months. It includes all the traditional activities such as decorating, cooking festive meals, and even shopping for gifts, mirroring the December holiday spirit in the warmth of July.

When is Christmas in July celebrated?

Christmas in July is celebrated on July 25th each year, serving as a mid-year counterpart to the traditional Christmas holiday on December 25th. This day offers a festive break nearly halfway to the next Christmas.

Where did Christmas in July come from?

The concept of Christmas in July is not pinpointed to a specific origin, but it gained popularity from a 1940 film titled "Christmas in July". It is believed to have been celebrated as early as 1933 at Keystone Camp in Brevard, North Carolina, thanks to a festive idea by co-founder Miss Fannie Holt, making it a cherished summer tradition.

What does Christmas in July mean?

Christmas in July signifies a celebration of the Christmas spirit outside its traditional winter context. It means embracing joy, warmth, and festivity during the summer, with activities and decorations that blend seasonal elements with holiday traditions.

What day is Christmas in July in 2024?

In 2024, Christmas in July will be celebrated on Tuesday, July 25th.