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Christmas in July?!

The smell of gingerbread, hot cider, and Evergreens is in the air. Falling asleep, dreaming of Santa, presents, and mistletoe. Finding the perfect tree, decorating it just right with the Star at the top. Setting up decorations, including the Nativity set and my favorite artwork. The Joy of listening to wonderful music and proclaming Christ's birth on Christmas Eve. These are all things that I love about Christmas, and much more.

Building a snowman? Think again- unless it's made from sand or I magically find myself in the high Rockies!

Freshly Cut Christmas Trees? Snow? Presents? Yes, my birthday is in July but I often don't receive tangible presents for that.

I really must be dreaming! Why in the world am I thinking about such things now? After all, it's 90+ degrees outside, the mosquitoes are out in full force, and we are in the middle of summer! Shouldn't I  be dreaming of ice-cold swimming pools, trips to isolated beaches, and the perfect drink in my hand instead?

The answer: Christmas in July! Full of unknown origins and traditions, mid-way through the year, we have the opportunity to deck the halls, in whatever traditions and ways we want, allowing ourselves to the chance to have some magic and joy more than once in our lives.

The "Christmas in July" phrase can be first contributed to an 1892 French Opera "Werther" that, when translated, mentions "When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season." The play is not exactly the most uplifting of all stories, so it does take time, Hollywood, and perhaps even Camp Keystone to make "Christmas in July" popular across the US.

A quick google search and a Southern Living article reveals that the earliest celebration may be contributed to summer camp in Brevard, North Carolina. In 1933, the Camp Co-founder of Keystone, an all girl's summer camp, created the programming to provide spirit and joy to the girls attending. They went all out- a staged play complete with Santa, gifts, decorations, and even hot chocolate!

A 1940 film "Christmas in July", starring Dick Powell and Ellen Drew,  as well as retail taking advantage for summer marketing purposes eventually plunged the US into a new holiday tradition. Most celebration growth occurred in the 70's and 80's as camps, retail, and even tourism dove into the new custom to attract customers willing to engage in a bit of Christmas fun during the summer. For example- since 1987, West Jefferson NC has hosted a Christmas in July festival each summer- only viritual this year due to Covid-19. Only one of the festivals and tourism events out there, this festival celebrates the Ashe County Christmas Tree industry with music, games, crafts, vendors, and of course- food!

The real Christmas 151 days away, I'm dreaming of adding cheer and spirit to this mundane summer season. The lack of travel, the lack of community, and business closures (including local historical places that I finally have time to visit but are still closed) has put a damper on my spirit.

Maybe it has to yours as well- so here are some things that we can do!

1) Watch one of the many Hallmark Christmas in July movies. Don't have cable? Neverfear- I'm sure you can find a favorite Christmas movie on any streaming app you may subscribe too, even including YouTube. Two of my favorites, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Jessica Biel) and "12 Dates of Christmas" starring Amy Smart and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (ahh, who doesn't think of Zach Morris when Mark-Paul's name is mentioned?) are both on Disney+

2) Treat yourself to something magical. While it's much too humid and hot for the oven to be going, perhaps a frozen chocolate treat will do the trick. Check out Paula Deen's Frozen Hot Chocolate recipe for ideas.

3) Gift a gift! Whether it's from Mommy's Block Party Christmas in July Guide, homemade, or your favorite local store- let your family and friends know you are thinking about them!

4) Low on cash? Creating a homemade Christmas in July card will do just as well! Or- gather your family together and start planning the holiday Christmas card. Afterall, when school starts, life will resume crazy as virtual/hybrid learning mingles with remote/in person jobs and we figure out how to do life safely!

What's your favorite way to celebrate Christmas in July? 

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