How do you throw a party for Christmas in July? We’ll help you with décor, games, food, gifts, outfits & more!
Are you looking for some relief from the hot summer sun? While you can’t change the season, you can always ring in an early Christmas. Along with great food and festive decorations, here’s how to celebrate Christmas in July!
While July brings us one month closer to Christmas, many of us (myself included) like to celebrate a little thing known as “Christmas in July.” Most celebrate it by throwing a Christmas in July party in mid-July, but you can even go all out and host a July 25th Christmas morning. If you haven’t yet celebrated Christmas in July, you’re in for a treat!
- Christmas in July Decorations
- Christmas in July Games and Activities
- Christmas in July Gifts
- Christmas in July Food & Party Dishes
- Christmas in July Outfits
- Christmas in July Music
Australia’s Christmas in July
Some of you might be wondering about the Australian tradition of Christmas in July, too! This is popularly known as Yulefest or Yuletide and held during Australia’s coldest season, which is the United States’ warmest season. Australia does still have Christmas officially on December 25th. Some sources believe the “Christmas in July” tradition originates from Sydney in the 1970s. Yuletide has German roots and calling this time of year “Christmas in July” helps bring Australia’s unique wintertime celebrations together for all celebrators.
Decorating Ideas for Christmas In July
Christmas in July allows you to decorate your home as if Christmas were already here!
Hang the stockings on the mantle, the wreath on the front door, and wrap the garland around your stair railings. For displays, don’t forget your nutcrackers and Santas — especially if some have year-round themes! An unorthodox tree can be a lot of fun to decorate, such as a palm tree or a mini Christmas tree. This way, you also won’t have to dedicate the same amount of space you would need for a full-sized Christmas tree.
Of course, ornaments are very important for this Christmas tradition, and choosing the best ornaments for a summer celebration can be tricky.
The very first Christmas in July tree was decorated with balloons for baubles, strings of popcorn and streamers. For your tree, we have a few ideas for themes that would work perfectly for a summer time celebration. Here’s what we recommend:
- A beach themed Christmas in July tree
A tree that reflects your favorite moments of the summer would include ornaments with sea shells, marine life, and any ornaments from your vacations. The topper could be a star fish rather than a real star, and have fun with your lights to add blue and yellow. Show off pictures from your beach vacations right alongside your tree.
- A family and life events themed Christmas in July tree
Throughout the year as your family makes new memories, you can remember those wonderful times with keepsakes. Consider celebrating any major achievements throughout the year at this time such as a new home, new job or new baby in the family! Personalized ornaments can represent many different celebrations, so Christmas in July is an opportunity to reflect on all the great times so far this year.
- A classic Christmas in July tree with all your traditional favorites
If a Christmas celebration just isn’t the same without your favorite decorations, then don’t hesitate to bring out all your long-time favorite ornaments that may have even been passed down in your family. Honoring memories and traditions is important – even in July!
Bottom line: Christmas in July decorating is for you to decide whether you’d like to have a summer theme or if you’d rather reminisce in holiday tradition! We love to mix both.
Christmas In July Party Games and Activities
In the past, we’ve brainstormed fun ways to celebrate Christmas in July with mini games, but there are so many ways to spice up a party with a Christmas theme!
If your Christmas in July party is planned to be outdoors, mix in a game of reindeer shoes; it’s played just like horseshoes but with an added dash of Christmas spirit. Try wrapping a little garland around the stakes to bring an extra festive feel to your game.
Or, cool off from the summer heat with a “snowball fight” using red and green water balloons filled with ice cold water.
For indoor fun, check out our festive games! Our favorite games are “Name that Christmas Carol” where you’re given clues to guess popular song titles, and “Name that Christmas Tradition” where you’re tested on Christmas trivia from around the world.
If your party is for kids, they will love creating their own ornaments. Check out these popular DIY personalized Christmas ornaments adults can make with kids during the party:
- DIY Star Ornaments
- DIY Mini Beach Baubles as Garland
- DIY Recycled Bottle Flower Ornaments
- DIY Easy Paper Mache Ball Ornament
- DIY Christmas Morning Ornament
Christmas in July Gifts
We all know the meaning of Christmas is about generosity – so is it customary to give gifts on the morning of July 25th as if it’s Christmas morning? Santa keeps his list up to date year-round, so kids on the “nice” list just might be in for a treat!
The history of this holiday starts with the earliest known occurrence of the Christmas in July celebration at a North Carolina summer camp called “Camp Keystone” during the summer of 1933. That summer, the campers celebrated with a Christmas tree, presents, and even a visit from Santa Claus! Since then, Christmas in July has blossomed into the unofficial holiday event it’s known as today. In parts of the southern hemisphere, winter occurs in July, so this celebration is also fun for anyone who has wished to have a chance at a cooler Christmas, or even a white Christmas!
We can assume that the first July Santa probably brought presents, but what does this mean for your family’s celebration? Presents can fit a few summer needs in addition to the usual toys for kids on the “nice” list.
This is a great opportunity to give the following types of presents:
- Personalized ornaments to represent summer, and to bring back for Christmas
- Back to school presents
- Outfits looking ahead for the fall
- Items on sale now for Christmas themes
- Surprise events and vacations
- Essentials around the home
Christmas in July Food & Party Dishes
For Christmas in July, I always enjoy a wholesome mix between 4th of July BBQ and a traditional Christmas dinner. You may have your party set up as a picnic or around the dinner table, so this will be the main factor on the dishes you make.
Traditional Christmas meals in the U.S. consist of Christmas ham, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, eggnog, and your choice of apple or pumpkin pie for dessert. For summer dishes, some ideas include corn on the cobb, pasta salad, coleslaw, and your choice of ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, or drum sticks.
When it comes to desert, turn it into an activity! Invite your guests to bring their own cookies to compete in a cookie swap with either classic cookies, like chocolate chip, or summer time cookies, like lemon shortbread. The more variety, the better!
Bottom Line: Make dinner a mix between BBQ and Christmas dinner, and host a cookie swap for desert!
Outfits for Christmas in July
What do you wear to a Christmas in July party? If you have a go-to Santa, Mrs. Clause or elf suit, then this party is the perfect chance to make use of it! These outfits might also be a little warm in the summer heat, so you could also wear red and green clothing with parts of your Santa outfit, such as a red cap, pointed ears or Christmas themed jewelry. My favorite Christmas jewelry includes string light necklaces, bracelets with red and green charms, and broaches that have been passed down in my family and represent figures including snowmen and poinsettias.
One fun idea is to hold an ugly T-shirt contest, just like an ugly sweater contest! Challenge your friends to wear either the most Christmas-themed T-shirts they own, or just their ugliest T-shirts overall. Make up your own rules and be the judge of the winner, awarding them with a prize.
Bottom line: If your Christmas attire is too warm for the summer, try an ugly T-shirt contest!
Music for a Christmas In July Celebration
The most obvious answer is also the right one: Classic Christmas music.
However, a more unique approach would be to go with a soundtrack that’s more fitting to the summer season. Try some songs from Jimmy Buffett’s Christmas Island or even Christmas with the Beach Boys.
There are a ton of music artists who release singles around the holidays, so look into your favorite bands and put together a playlist for your party.
Bottom line: Listen to a mix of your favorite classic carols and Christmas singles from popular bands.
How do you like to celebrate Christmas in July? I would love to hear about it in the comments!