Christmas in July


Christmas in July

Christmas in July refers to Christmas-themed celebrations held in July.

In the northern hemisphere some people throw parties during July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of Christmas but with warmer temperatures. Parties may include Santa Claus, ice cream and other cold foods, and gifts. Nightclubs often host parties open to the public.

In the southern hemisphere, where July falls in winter, Christmas in July events sometimes have a winter Christmas theme. These may be a standard Christmas style celebration, held at a cold time of year, as Christmas is in the northern hemisphere.

In some western countries, July has a minor number of marketing opportunities. In the United States and Canada, there are no national holidays between the first week of July (Canada Day on July 1 in Canada and the Fourth of July in the United States) and Labo(u)r Day (the first Monday in September for both the US and Canada), leaving two months with no holidays. (Some Canadian provinces hold a Civic Holiday in August, but this is not a national holiday.) The late July period provides relatively few opportunities for merchandising, since it is typically after the peak of summer product sales in June and early July, but before the back to school shopping period begins in August. Therefore, to justify sales, shops (such as Leon's in Canada) will sometimes announce a "Christmas in July" sale.

Contents

Origins

Werther, an 1892 opera with libretto by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet, and Georges Hartmann, had an English translation published in 1894 by Elizabeth Beall Ginty. In the story, a group of children rehearses a Christmas song in July, to which a character responds, "When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season." It is a translation of the French, "vous chantez Noël en juillet... c'est s'y prendre à l'avance."[1] This opera is based on Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther. Christmas features in the book, but July does not.

The earliest known occasion to make the phrase Christmas in July literal was in July 1933 at Camp Keystone, a girl's summer camp in North Carolina, which celebrated with a Christmas tree, gifts, and a visit by Santa Claus.[2] In 1935, the National Recreation Association's journal Recreation described what a Christmas in July was like at a girl's camp, writing that "all mystery and wonder surround this annual event."[3]

The term, if not the exact concept, was given national attention with the release of the Hollywood movie comedy Christmas in July in 1940, written and directed by Preston Sturges.[4] In the story, a man is fooled into believing he has won $25,000 in an advertising slogan contest. He buys presents for family, friends and neighbors, and proposes marriage to his girlfriend.

In 1942, the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., celebrated Christmas in July with carols and the sermon "Christmas Presents in July".[5] They repeated it in 1943, with a Christmas tree covered with donations. The pastor explained that the special service was patterned after a program held each summer at his former church in Philadelphia, when the congregation would present Christmas gifts early to give ample time for their distribution to missions worldwide.[6] It became an annual event, and in 1946 the service began to be broadcast over local radio.

The U.S. Post Office and U.S. Army and Navy officials, in conjunction with the American advertising and greeting card industries, threw a Christmas in July luncheon in New York in 1944 to promote an Early Christmas Mailing Campaign for service men and women overseas during World War II.[7] The luncheon was repeated in 1945.

American advertisers began using "Christmas in July" themes in print for summertime sales as early as 1950.[8] In the United States, it is more often used as a marketing tool than an actual holiday. Television stations may choose to re-run Christmas specials, and many stores have "Christmas in July" sales. Some individuals choose to celebrate Christmas in July themselves, typically as an intentionally transparent excuse to have a party. This is in part because most bargainers tend to sell Christmas stuff around July to make room for next year's inventory. The television shopping networks QVC and Home Shopping Network have shows titled Christmas in July.[9]

Christmas in August

In the 1950s, the Christmas in July celebration became a Christmas in August celebration in Yellowstone National Park to accommodate ACMNP's annual performance of Handel's Messiah.

Notes

  1. ^ Act I, Screne II.
  2. ^ "Summer Santa Fun, Says Camp Head", The Washington Post, Nov. 13, 1933, p. 9.
  3. ^ "Christmas in July", Recreation, 1935, vol. 29, p. 216.
  4. ^ Christmas in July, Internet Movie Database.
  5. ^ "Christmas in July Theme of Calvary Church Service", The Washington Post, July 11, 1942, p. 6.
  6. ^ "Calvary Baptist Church Holds 'Christmas-in-July' Service", The Washington Post, July 12, 1943, p. B1.
  7. ^ "'Christmas in July' Luncheon Opens Drive To Speed Gift Mailing to Armed Forces", The New York Times, July 28, 1944, p. 15.
  8. ^ "It's Christmas in July at Browning King" (advertisement), The New York Times, July 20, 1950, p. 16.
  9. ^ Dale, Maryclaire (May 23, 2006). "Shopping Networks Fight Over 'July' Slogan". ABC News (AP). http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=1996069&Business=true. Retrieved March 11, 2007. [dead link]

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