Christmas in July: Origins, Celebrations, Traditions, and Everything Else You Wanted To Know

If you’ve never heard of the term “Christmas in July,” don’t worry. We’re about to unravel the mystery behind this unofficial holiday (and why it’s so beloved).

If you’ve never heard of the term “Christmas in July,” don’t worry. We’re about to unravel the mystery behind this unofficial holiday (and why it’s so beloved).

What comes to mind when you hear the word July? If you answered something like barbecues, burgers, and fireworks, we wouldn’t blame you. However, for some people, the mention of July brings a much different response, like crafts, vendors, presents, and Christmas.

Christmas? Yes, Christmas.

Sit tight as we break down all the mysteries behind the unofficial holiday people celebrate around the world known as Christmas in July.

What Is Christmas in July?

The idea of “Christmas in July” comes from the notion that Christmas actually occurs during a summer month below the equator.

Winter Weather

Therefore, to celebrate Christmas with all its winter-like charm, it would make more sense to celebrate Christmas during the peak of winter in the southern hemisphere, which happens in July. An unofficial holiday, it has become increasingly popular over the years to the point now where millions of people around the globe celebrate it each year.

Summer Months

In parts of the world above the equator, the term centers around beating the heat and getting a jump start on the holiday shopping season that usually begins the day after Thanksgiving.

The “Other Christmas Story” – Origins of Christmas in July

The origins of the original Christmas in July are a bit of a mystery. Lucky for you, we’ve done our research, so you don’t have to. It appears there are a few different theories behind the origins of Christmas in July.

THEORY 1: It All Began With an Opera

According to some theories on the matter, Christmas in July may have been first mentioned as early as 1892. It is said that the notion of Christmas in July was mentioned in a French opera called Werther. It was translated into English in 1894.

In Werther, a group of children rehearses a Christmas song in July. A character in the story responds with the following phrase, “When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season.”

The opera itself is based on Gothe’s book The Sorrow of Young Werther. While the book makes reference to Christmas, it doesn’t reference the month of July.

Christmas in July Began With an Opera

THEORY 2: It All Started With a Summer Camp

According to Country Living, another popular theory is that it all started at an all-girls camp in North Carolina, called Keystone Camp, in 1933. In the interview, the camp’s director, Paige Ives Lemel recalls that the origin of the tradition started with the co-founder Fannie Holt.

She describes Fannie as a “whimsical, dreaming, creative type” who was behind the unique activities found at the camp.

Christmas in July Started With a Summer Camp

She remembers the activity began with guests gathered in jumpers around a decorated stage. As the curtain opened, a group of carolers sang Christmas songs standing around a Christmas tree. Santa Claus was also spotted popping out of the top of a “shoe house.” He began giving presents to the campers while singing Jingle Bells. Carolers threw imitation snow in the form of cotton balls.

The tradition has carried on every year since then at the all-girls camp aged seven to fourteen. The celebration has become more elaborate since the 1970s, with girls leaving pillowcases outside of their cabins as stockings. They are filled with candy by Santa and his elves. How cute is that?

THEORY 3: It All Started in Europe

Another commonly held belief is that Christmas in July started in Europe. During the hot summer months, when people want to escape the heat of summer, they look at the fondness of cold things, like ice cream, holiday spirit, gift-giving, and Santa Claus.

Who else better to carry on the Christmas tradition in summer than the birthplace of Charles Dickens. Whether or not Christmas in July originated in Europe is not yet confirmed, so you’re guess is as good as ours.

THEORY 4: It All Started With Some Irish Blokes

Another idea is that the popularity of Christmas in July was started by a few Irish tourists traveling in the Blue Mountains of Sydney. The story goes that while on holiday in July, they were filled with Christmas spirit due to all the falling snow. They asked a proprietor to throw a Christmas in July party called Yulefest.

We know what you’re thinking.

Are you raving mad, mate? Irish blokes just walked up to a hotel in the Blue Mountains of Sydney, Australia, and demanded Christmas in July? And they set out to make it happen?


The owner and operator of the establishment turns out was of Irish descent and also recalled the Christmas’ of his youth, with frost windows, snow outside, and figgy pudding. So at the tourists’ requests, he gave them just that.

It became such a hit that other establishments in the Blue Mountains joined into the point now that it is a significant Christmas in July tourist attraction across the world.

Where Is Christmas in July Celebrated?

Since the release of the Hollywood film Christmas in July in 1940, the idea of the festive celebration has increased in popularity. Marketing firms started taking advantage of the concept with Christmas in July sales at department stores since the 1950s and for major brands.

Christmas in July

It’s gotten to the point where it’s become mainstream with major shopping outlets like Amazon and Walmart are climbing aboard Santa’s out-of-season shopping train. These major distributors are taking advantage of the slow shopping season and offering major deals in July. For example, Amazon’s Prime Day usually takes place in mid-July.

Amazon’s Prime Day

Each year there seems to be a new area celebrating the holiday spirit of Christmas in July. Here are a few places where Christmas in July can be celebrated around the world.

Northern Hemisphere

In parts above the equator, Christmas in July signifies a chance to beat the heat and get into the holiday spirit. Shops and local vendors at festivals sell their wares, and families enjoy delectable sweet treats that combat the hot weather.

United States

In July, Christmas seems to be catching on in areas all across the United States from New York to Alaska. Festivals in the United States focus on supporting local vendors, small-town shops, and bringing families into the holiday spirit with shopping, family activities, and gift-giving. Here are a few of the top Christmas in July festivals that happen in the states.

1. Oceanside, CA.

Home to the Christmas in July Artisan Festival, families can sightsee local art vendors, attend a bake sale, and participate in an activity area.


2.North Pole, AK.

What’s better than going to where the magic happens? Home to the world’s tallest Santa, you’ll love the vibe. While you’re there, visit the Santa Claus House for classic toys, gifts, and other knick-knacks.

    Other notable spots that celebrate Christmas in July include:

  • Dallas, TX.
  • Phoenix, AZ.
  • Chalfont, PA.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives you some points North, South, East, and West.


Although not huge in Canada, Christmas in July is popular in Quebec, Canada, where the annual Camper’s Christmas is celebrated. At the event, people gather on the weekend closest to July 25th to decorate, participate in present hunts, play ball hockey, and have toboggan races on the grass.

United Kingdom

The UK has started to embrace Christmas in July with company expos. This provides shoppers a chance to embrace products and brands they may not have had a chance to see otherwise. It also provides a gateway for retailers to find new customers. It’s a win-win.

Southern Hemisphere

While Christmas in July in the northern hemisphere provides a nice respite from the summer heat, the real action of Christmas in July happens at points south of the equator.


Christmastime in Australia is relegated to warm weather, sandy beaches, and barbecues. So it only makes sense that Australia would make Christmas in July a big event. With the colder weather outside, people can embrace the holiday spirit the way it was intended.

During July in Australia restaurants and pubs create Christmas in July menus special for the occasion. The streets don twinkling lights. Ice rinks are packed with people sliding to and fro. The fake snow machines keep everyone in the spirit. Christmas jumpers are in full display, and friends and families gather around warm fireplaces.

Throughout June, July, and August, you’ll see Yuletide festivals all around Australia, but specifically in the Blue Mountains of Sydney. Whether it’s skiing, having drinks, or attending clubs, everyone seems to be in the festive mood. From Christmas markets to ice skating by the beach, you’re sure to find the Christmas spirit. The Rocks, in Sydney, hold a very special Christmas in July festival with tall pines, European chalet Christmas stores, caroling, and mulled wine.

Christmas in July festival

This year’s event is scheduled to take place from July 9th to the 19th!

There is also the Winterland Festival in Campbell Town, southwest of Sydney. In Sovereign Hill, Ballarat in Victoria, Australia, there is Winterwonderlights that has beautiful street markets lit up, faux snow, and more.

New Zealand

Being so close to Australia, you would assume that New Zealand would share the same fascination with Christmas in July. Still, ironically that doesn’t appear to be the case. While some restaurants may offer special Christmas in July menus, it is few and far between.

Perhaps this is because of a popular July tradition in New Zealand that celebrates the Maori New Year, called the Matariki Festival. Whatever the case, Christmas in July doesn’t appear high on their list of celebrations.

South Africa

In July, Christmas appears to be very popular in South Africa, especially in the cities of Johannesburg and Capetown. Some head to the mountains for the holiday. A small village in Hogsback becomes the main tourist attraction with Christmas bonfires, decorated streets with twinkling lights, carolers, African Sleigh rides, a gala Christmas dinner, and more. It is so popular that it books up months in advance.

How to Throw a Christmas in July Party

If you’re looking to break up the summer and have some fun, Christmas in July is the perfect theme for a party. You can have friends over for a movie and drinks. If you want to include presents, you could have friends bring a cheap gift. You could even have people come in their favorite ugly sweater. If you’re looking for party ideas, here is how you could go about bringing Christmas to July.

Hallmark Has You Covered

During July, Hallmark has started to air Christmas Classics. This can be a great way to get a few friends together, have some margaritas, and get into the holiday spirit early. You can find a detailed list of their Christmas in July programming. Nothing says Christmas like a bunch of Hallmark movies.

Make it a Yankee Swap

A Yankee swap is a great way to bring Christmas in July. Who doesn’t love a themed party, and with the fun of a Yankee swap, you can limit the cost of gifts, and even open it up for gag items for an extra laugh. If you’re not familiar with a Yankee swap, it’s really easy. Everyone gets a number. Everyone draws a number. The higher your number, the better. This gives you the advantage of taking someone’s gift if they picked before you. However, if you’re lucky enough to draw number one, you can choose anyone’s gift. Sounds like fun, huh?

Make it an Ugly Sweater Party

Who doesn’t love an ugly sweater party? Simply go online and find your favorite jumper, and you’re all set. You could even have a contest to make it more fun! I know what you’re thinking. It’s hot in July. It’s not hot in the air conditioning.

Change Your Summer Plans With Christmas In July

Whether it’s throwing a Christmas-themed party or vacationing where Christmas in July is popular, who says Christmas can’t come to Summer? So throw on a jumper, exchange some gifts, and have some drinks. Christmas in July is a great way to break up the monotony of Summer and have some fun in an entirely new way.

Did you like our list? Is there anything that we missed? Let us know.

For more information on this topic and more, visit our blog frequently. We’ll keep you up to date with the latest and greatest jumpers.

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