Christmas in July Around the World 2024

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I remember those crisp Christmases back in England. The cold nipped at your nose, and warm lights adorned every corner. Fast-forward to my Aussie life, where December means sunscreen over scarves and beaches over boughs of holly.

Embracing Christmas in July is a bridge between these worlds—a chance to revel in the wintry Christmas magic I grew up with amidst Australia’s cooler mid-year climate.

But what about our friends up North seeking the opposite?

Swapping snowflakes for sunshine, they’re trying to lighten the midsummer mood with festive cheer.

It seems no matter where we are, there’s a universal thrill in flipping our traditional celebrations on their head.

So, whether you’re craving a slice of wintery nostalgia or yearning for a summery spin on the holiday, join me as we unwrap the wonders of Christmas in July.

Ready to inject some off-season holiday spirit into your world? Let’s explore this charmingly upside-down tradition together.

Page Contents

Quick In a Hurry: Christmas in July Essentials

⭐️ What is Christmas in July?
A celebration mirroring traditional December Christmas festivities, observed in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres for varying reasons.

⭐️ When is it Celebrated?
While there’s no fixed date, many opt for July 25th. Celebrations can occur anytime in July, often on weekends for convenience.

⭐️ Why Celebrate?
For some, it’s about recapturing wintery Christmas magic in the Southern Hemisphere’s colder July or injecting festive cheer into the Northern Hemisphere’s summer.

⭐️ Where is it Celebrated?
Prominently in Australia, the USA, South Africa, and by expatriates and enthusiasts worldwide.

⭐️ How to Celebrate?
Decorations, festive food, Christmas movies, and themed parties are common. Traditional Christmas fayre prevails in cooler climates, and barbecues and summer drinks are the way to go in warmer areas.

⭐️ Christmas in July Ideas:

  • Food: Tailor your menu to your climate—roast turkey or barbecues.
  • Decor: Christmas lights, trees, and even summer-themed Christmas trees.
  • Activities: Bake cookies, watch Christmas movies, or host a themed party.

⭐️ Looking for More?
Jump into detailed sections to learn how different countries celebrate, what unique ideas exist, and how to create your own mid-year festive spirit.

What’s in this Article?

Jump to a section you’re interested in by clicking the link above or browse the whole article below.

Christmas trees and lights for christmas in July post

What is Christmas in July?

You might be wondering, what exactly is Christmas in July?

It is essentially celebrating Christmas but in July.

It serves as an encore to the traditional December celebration, offering a chance to indulge in festive joy during the Southern Hemisphere’s mid-winter or to bring a splash of Christmas cheer to the Northern Hemisphere’s summer.

It isn’t a public holiday; rather, it’s an opportunity to have a party, be festive, or enjoy the essence of Christmas a second time in the year.

From snowy celebrations in Australia to beach parties in the USA, Christmas in July adapts to local climates and cultures, making it a unique experience wherever you are.

This quirky celebration has intriguingly spread to various parts of the globe, though its origins are hard to trace.

Which Countries Celebrate Christmas in July?

With roots as diverse as its global celebrants, Christmas in July is more than just a quirky twist on a beloved holiday; it’s a testament to the enduring magic of the Christmas spirit.

So who celebrates Christmas in July?

Let’s journey across continents to see how this festive fever brightens up the globe.

Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the USA, Canada and the UK are the main countries that celebrate this festive event. 

However, you’ll find there are many differences in how each country celebrates and the extent of those celebrations.

Have you ever celebrated Christmas in July?

Share your experience in the comments below!

Christmas in July in Australia

Touching Down to a Summer Yule

When I first arrived in Australia, it was a week before Christmas. I’d traded in the UK’s frosty December for Australia’s sun-soaked shores, only to find that Christmas felt a bit upside down.

Wrapping up in woolly scarves and braving the wintery winds whilst searching for the perfect gift, is as much a part of Christmas as the turkey stuffing and all the trimmings. So, I can understand the hankering for the Christmas ‘feels’ experienced in the Northern Hemisphere.

My first Aussie Christmas? More sunburns than snowflakes and a feeling of “missing out” on the real deal.

Christmas hat on a sunbed at the beach
Christmas in Australia

Christmas in July? Are you having a laugh?

Honestly, when I first heard of Australia’s Christmas in July, I thought someone was pulling my leg. But no, it’s as real as the kangaroos hopping around in the Australian bush, and it’s a pretty big deal here.

Typical Aussie Christmases involve hitting the beach, slathering on sunscreen, and maybe a pool party, or two.

But Christmas in July? That’s when Aussies channel their inner elf and get into the wintry spirit, snow machines and all.

The Aussie Way to ‘Ho Ho Ho’ in July

  • Festivities Galore: We’re talking Christmas lights in winter (like Perth’s Lightscape 2024), menus stuffed with festive grub, and yes, pubs echoing with carols rather than cricket commentary.
  • Dress Code: Festive Warmth: Christmas jumpers come out, even if we have to crank up the AC to make it feel legit.
  • Head to the Snowy Mountains and Australian Alps: Snowball fights and mulled wine, anyone? These spots are gold for a white Christmas (the July edition) – check out the Mount Baw Baw Christmas in July or spend a day in the snow on a day trip from Melbourne.
  • In Victoria: In Sovereign Hill, Ballarat in Victoria, Australia, the annual Winterwonderlights, lights up the town, with European street markets, faux snow and fairy lights lighting up the alleyways.

Dive Into the Celebration

Christmas in July is Australia’s cheeky nod to traditional Yule vibes, complete with all the trimmings. Whether it’s hitting a snowy peak or sipping hot cocoa in a city igloo, it’s a great excuse to double-dip into the Christmas spirit.

Christmas in July in New Zealand

A Tranquil Approach Down Under

While you might assume New Zealanders would leap at a mid-winter Christmas with the same enthusiasm as their Aussie neighbours, it seems the Kiwi Christmas in July spirit is more subdued. Despite the close ties between the two countries, the concept hasn’t taken off in New Zealand with quite the same vigour.

Cautious Reception

Among the Kiwis I’ve chatted with, many were unaware of the Christmas in July concept, and a few expressed a distinct lack of interest in adopting it. It appears the traditional December celebration holds firm, without the need for a mid-year encore.

Local Festivities

Nevertheless, there are pockets of celebration, including select restaurants dishing up festive fare and events that embrace the spirit of the season. Notably, Greytown, a charming town in the Wairarapa region, hosts a Festival of Christmas throughout July, (2024 dates: 29/6/24 – 27/7/24), lighting up the town with holiday decorations, night markets, and a variety of workshops.

A Unique Blend of Traditions

This festival isn’t just about reliving Christmas; it’s a clever blend of holiday joy and the Maori New Year celebrations of Matariki. Initially kick-started as a way to rejuvenate local businesses post-pandemic, it’s now a beloved annual event that marries the magic of Christmas with New Zealand’s rich cultural heritage.

lantern on table with xmas decorations

Christmas in July in South Africa

Celebrating Across the Rainbow Nation

South Africa lights up with festivities in July, from Johannesburg’s vibrant events to Cape Town’s seasonal celebrations. The country embraces the Christmas in July spirit with open arms, offering a diverse array of activities that reflect its rich cultural tapestry.

Snowy Celebrations in the Mountains

For those craving a traditional snowy Christmas, the mountains call.

The enchanting village of Hogsback transforms into a winter wonderland for its annual Winter Festival. Imagine a bonfire under the African sky, carols echoing through the hills, and the warm glow of Gluehwein — it’s a festive dream come true, with accommodation booking out months in advance.

Wildlife Over Snowflakes

While a white Christmas has its charm, imagine swapping snowflakes for safari sights. There’s nothing quite like a Christmas in July spent among the majestic wildlife of South Africa.

The mid-winter season is prime for safaris, offering unparalleled opportunities for wildlife viewing. The Kruger National Park, for instance, becomes an open book of animal sightings, with the dry season making the animals of Kruger easier to spot.

A Bush Christmas

Living in the Klaserie Nature Reserve, we traded the traditional Christmas tree for a bushveld version, adorned with baubles amongst the wilderness.

It was a Christmas celebration like no other, surrounded by the sounds of the African bush, far from the conventional Yuletide imagery but equally magical. Where the magic of Santa was replaced by the magic myriad of wildlife and those eight tiny reindeer by hundreds of impala, kudu, and the tiniest antelope I’ve ever seen, the steenbok.

Impala in Africa with a graphic of santa and reindeer over the top
Replacing santas reindeer for impala in South Africa

A Truly South African Yuletide

South Africa offers a Christmas in July with a twist — where the holiday spirit meets the heart of the African wilderness.

Whether it’s the snowy peaks of Hogsback or the untamed beauty of Kruger, the country provides a backdrop for unforgettable mid-year celebrations, marrying the traditional with the uniquely South African.

a few branches of a flowering bush adorned with christmas baubles on a wooden table
The Christmas tree we made in while in the South African bush at Christmas time

CHRISTMAS IN JULY IN THE UNITED STATES

Why Christmas in July?

Across the pond in the United States, Christmas in July dances to a slightly different tune. It’s a bit perplexing, really, given their wintry December Yule. But who am I to judge? I’ve wrangled a turkey into the oven in the heatwave of an Aussie December, after all.

A Double Dose of Holly Jolly

The concept’s intriguing—celebrating Christmas when it’s sweltering outside. It seems this American twist on Christmas in July leans heavily on retail promotions and an excellent excuse for a summer shindig. And honestly, snagging a second round of Christmas cheer? Sign me up!

Decor Galore

Imagine, your favourite Christmas baubles and those twinkling lights don’t have to hibernate for a year. Nope, they get a mid-year outing. Because why not? It’s like hitting the festive jackpot twice in a year.

Cinematic Cheer

The US even rolled out a couple of Christmas in July-themed movies, like the heartfelt Christmas in July (2021), touching on the lengths we go to keep the holiday spirit alive. And let’s not forget the whimsical animation, Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July, sprinkling a bit of animated magic into the mix.

Stateside Celebration

From festive films to Hallmark Channel marathons, the US embarks on this mid-year cheer with a blend of enthusiasm and commercial zest. It’s a curious phenomenon, reflecting the quirky and diverse ways Americans embrace holiday traditions, even when they’re a tad out of season.

The Hallmark Touch

Indeed, the Hallmark Channel doesn’t let this mid-year celebration pass by unnoticed. With a special lineup of Christmas movies and exclusive ornament releases, they ensure the holiday spirit is alive and well, even as the mercury rises.

graphic of man dressed in shorts and tshirt with a santa hat on a desert island, wearing sunglasses
The US celebrate Christmas in July in the middle of summer

Christmas in July in Canada: A Quieter Affair

A Subtle Celebration

While Canada shares the North American continent with the US, its embrace of Christmas in July is a tad more reserved. Yes, you might stumble upon retail sales echoing the US’s enthusiasm, and restaurants dishing out holiday specials, but on the whole, it’s a more muted affair.

Discovery by Word of Mouth

It’s intriguing, really. Chatting with my Canadian family, I found many hadn’t even heard of Christmas in July. It seems the wintry wonderland of December’s traditional Christmas fills their festive cup to the brim.

The Quintessential Canadian Christmas

Many Canadians find their festive fulfillment in the snow-draped landscapes of their own backyard. The picturesque Christmas scenes right out of a storybook are a reality here. Our own adventure took us to a cozy log cabin in Banff National Park, where the snowflakes are plenty and the hot cocoa steaming.

Québec’s Unique Twist

Yet, in Québec, the spirit of ‘Noël des campeurs’ brings a hint of Christmas to the July air. Families and friends gather in the great outdoors, merging the joy of camping with a sprinkle of Christmas magic on the weekend nearest to July 25th.

A July of National Pride

Another thought – Canada’s July calendar is already marked with a significant celebration: Canada Day on the 1st. It’s a day of national pride, which might just overshadow the need for a mid-year Christmas festivity.

Snow scene and Christmas tree

Christmas in July in the United Kingdom

A New Trend Across the Pond

Imagine my surprise discovering that Christmas in July has made its way to the UK, a place I associate more with quaint Christmases than summer celebrations.

My memories of England’s Christmases are wrapped in cold mists and warm pubs, far removed from any thought of a July festivity.

It seems the commercial world has woven this new thread into the fabric of British summer, making it more about sales than sleds.

The Retail Drive

Diving into what Christmas in July means in the UK, I found it’s largely driven by retailers keen on creating an off-season shopping buzz.

From summer sales disguised with tinsel to festive marketing campaigns, the essence of these celebrations leans heavily into commercial interests rather than traditional holiday spirit.

A Southern Hemisphere Adoption

Interestingly, it’s the Brits who’ve migrated to warmer climes, myself included, who’ve embraced this mid-year festive cheer with open arms.

Xmas in July present

Why was Christmas in July Started?

The concept of Christmas in July might sound whimsical, but it’s rooted in a mix of cultural traditions, nostalgia, and the simple joy of festivity.

One popular theory suggests it began with expatriates from the Northern Hemisphere seeking the winter comforts of their home Christmases in the Southern Hemisphere’s July.

Cute snowmen and snow-clad scenes adorn Christmas Cards, and who isn’t drawn to the magical ambience of the likes of Swiss Christmas markets?

snowman in woolly hat and gloves holding a red heart
For some, the mid-year cheer is about capturing the nostalgia of a wintery Christmas

But in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas is celebrated on sun-baked beaches with picnics and prawns on the barbie (that’s barbeque in Aussie slang). Children build sandcastles rather than snowmen and ride surfboards rather than snow sleds. 

And thereby lies the problem.

Many people originally from the northern hemisphere feel that Christmas in December, in the middle of summer, just doesn’t have the “Christmassy vibe. “

Some people long for the magical feeling of Christmas so much that it has resulted in what we know as Christmas in July.

No one is exactly sure of the origins behind the idea of celebrating mid-year, but what is sure, is that the magic of Christmas lives on in many adults’ hearts and the urge to recreate past Christmastimes.

However, this theory doesn’t explain why some northern hemisphere countries, such as the United States, celebrate this phenomenon.

Below, are some ideas as to why this event has become “a thing”.

Santa on the beach
Christmas in summer doesn’t feel the same for those used to a winter Christmas.

Christmas in July Origin Stories

  • Keystone Camp’s 1933 Celebration: Page Ives Lemel, the then-director of Keystone Camp, recounted to Country Living in 2017 that Fannie Holt, the camp’s founder, held the first known Xmas in July celebration in 1933. The event featured traditional Christmas festivities, setting a precedent for others.
  • A Cure for Summer Blues in the USA: Some believe the tradition boosts morale during the hot summer. The nostalgia of winter’s cold and the Christmas spirit helps Americans look forward to the cooler seasons ahead.
  • World War II Influence: Some stories suggest the tradition took root in Australia during World War II. American servicemen there sought to recreate the Christmas atmosphere, although some stories credit Swedish immigrants with starting the practice.
  • French Opera Inspiration: A French opera from 1892 is cited for mentioning the concept of “Christmas in July,” suggesting an early cultural reference to celebrating Christmas outside its traditional season.
  • Military Morale and Postal Services: During World War II, the U.S. post office and greeting card companies began sending Christmas cards in July to troops overseas. This effort was likely both a morale booster and a practical measure to ensure timely delivery.
  • Northern vs. Southern Hemisphere Traditions: The stark contrast between December’s weather in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres is a significant factor. Immigrants from colder climates moving to warmer ones miss the traditional cold-weather Christmas, leading to the adoption of a July Christmas as a way to recapture the essence of the holiday.

Each of these origin stories adds a layer to our understanding of how it became today’s widespread, multifaceted celebration.

While it’s hard to pinpoint a single starting point, the amalgamation of these tales illustrates the holiday’s broad appeal and adaptability.

Engage with Us: Have your own Christmas in July story or theory? Share it with us in the comments or on our social media pages!

sparkling snow and lights

What Date is Christmas in July?

  • Flexible Dates: The entire month of July is fair game for Christmas in July celebrations. Unlike its December counterpart, there’s no fixed day, allowing everyone to choose which date to choose in July.
  • Popular Choices: Many align their celebrations with July 25th, mirroring the December 25th Christmas date. However, the most common preference is for a date that falls conveniently around the middle of the month, often on a weekend, to accommodate gatherings and parties.
  • Retail Influence: The retail industry has embraced the concept of Christmas in July with open arms, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. This period sees an array of themed sales, specials, and shopping events, leveraging the festive spirit for summer promotions.
  • No Set Date: Ultimately, this mid-year event has no universally agreed-upon date. The idea is to spread joy and festivity at a time that works best for you, making every celebration unique.

Christmas in July: Unwrapping the Mid-Year Merriment

A Time for Yuletide Cheer

No matter where you are in the world, Christmas in July offers a unique opportunity to bask in holiday cheer at an unconventional time. It’s about creating that “Christmassy feel” with decorations, festive food, and music, turning any setting into a slice of holiday paradise.

Feasting Festively

Whether you’re toasting marshmallows in the cold or grilling by the pool in the warmth, there’s a menu for every climate. From traditional roast turkey in cooler regions to barbecues and Christmas-themed cocktails in warmer areas, the festive spirit is in the air, and most importantly, on the table.

Christmas in July Hot chocolates
Christmas in July candles and toffee apple
Christmas in July Gingerbread

Party Planning Perfection

Get creative with your mid-year celebration by baking Christmas cookies, hosting movie marathons featuring holiday classics, or donning festive outfits to set the mood. Consider a summer twist with a floral Christmas tree to brighten up your decor.

Shopping Spree

For those who prefer to dodge the December rush, the mid-year sales present a perfect opportunity to tick off your Christmas list early. Amazon and Etsy become treasure troves of festive finds, ensuring you’re all set when the traditional holiday season rolls around.

READ MORE: For Awesome Safari and Travel Gifts Ideas – take a look here

Globetrotting for Christmas Spirit

Dreaming of a snowy Christmas in July? The Snowy Mountains in Australia and the peaks of South Africa beckon. Or, for a dose of holiday retail therapy and endless parties, the USA might just be your ideal destination.

If you prefer the coziness of your own home, simply transform it into a winter wonderland or a summer fiesta to match your July Xmas vision.

Play your favourite Christmas movie, crank up the air conditioning, wrap some fairy lights around the place and tuck into a tasty roast turkey dinner with festive trimmings.

Christmas in July Hot chocolate by dog sleeping
Cosy up at home and create your own Christmas in July

🎄 Christmas in July FAQS 🎄

1. Why do people celebrate Christmas in July?

People celebrate Christmas in July for different reasons. Some celebrate it as a way to beat the heat of summer and enjoy Christmas traditions in a different season. It is also a way of celebrating the Christmas spirit early and enjoying Christmas festivities twice a year.

2. Is Christmas in July an Australian thing?

Christmas in July as an actual celebration and re-enactment of a normal Christmas Day does seem most prevalent in Australia. However, it is also celebrated in other countries, where it is often used as a marketing tool. Other countries include the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand and South Africa.

3. Why do they say Christmas in July?

Christmas in July is a celebration that has developed, in the main, by those who have immigrated from northern climes, where Christmas fell in the winter months, to the Southern Hemisphere where Christmas falls in the summer months and doesn’t feel quite like Christmas anymore. They, therefore, recreate their winter-themed July Christmas, instead.

4. What date is Christmas in July?

There isn’t any fixed date for Christmas in July and depends on individual preferences. Some like to celebrate on July 25, but more often it’s in the middle of July on a weekend.

5. What are some ways to celebrate Christmas in July?

Some ways to celebrate Christmas in July include decorating your home with Christmas decor, re-watching Christmas movies or TV specials, exchanging gifts or holding a Christmas in July party.

Christmas in July decor

Wrapping Up Christmas in July: Share Your Stories!

I’d love to hear from you about your Christmas in July adventures.

  • Global Celebrations: Have you experienced a July Christmas in a country not mentioned here? If so, what was it like?
  • Your Wishlist: Was there anything you hoped to find in this guide that wasn’t covered?

Your insights and stories enrich our global tapestry of Christmas in July celebrations. Reach out and share your story – or drop a comment below. I’m all ears and eager to expand our festive horizons together.

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Christmas in July Pinterest pin

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE TO READ:

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For a more thorough list, visit our Travel Resources page here.

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Shelley

Shelley, a former primary school teacher with a law degree, and her husband Lars co-own Lifejourney4two. Their adventure began in Perth, Australia, and has since taken them through Europe and Africa in motorhomes and bush campers. Shelley's travel guides combine practical advice with engaging stories, mirroring their shift from 'One Day' to 'Day One'. Together, they aim to inspire others to embark on their own travel dreams.

4 thoughts on “Christmas in July Around the World 2024”

  1. I get why the Southern Hemisphere countries do it, but I think I’ll pass here in the Northern. Does sound a bit commercial. That said, years ago in a nightclub i managers, we did a halfway to Christmas party in July. It was a resounding success. 😃

    Reply
    • I agree John, it does seem commercially based in the northern hemisphere – but the halfway to Christmas party was a success… any excuse to party seems to go down well 🙂

      Reply
  2. You know, I absolutely love Christmas, but I have never heard of anyone in the US actually celebrating it in July. I see a few retail banners about it, but never anyone actually looking to party. Maybe I just don’t know the right people? I also think that the US goes so hard during the Christmas season, we are totally burnt out by January and ready to get back to our daily lives.

    I would like to find these Christmas in July folks so we can get together and rekindle our Christmas cheer!

    Reply
    • Hi Liz, thanks so much for your comment. Maybe it’s more prolific in certain states? Hopefully, someone who does celebrate in the US will join in the conversation and invite you over for some Christmas cheer next July! 😉 It will be interesting to hear from others.

      Reply

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