Friday, July 24, 2009

Christmas In July

"Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a ....."

Wait a minute, that isn't what I meant by Christmas in July! Although, exactly 5 months from tomorrow IS Christmas Day.

You really didn't want to hear that did you! Well it's true. I know most of you haven't started shopping yet and those of you who have, are really annoying to the rest of us!

Christmas In July isn't really that uncommon. Since Christmas is generally considered a winter themed holiday, some countries in the Southern Hemisphere actually do celebrate a second Christmas in July with all the trimmings. The seasons are reversed in southern hemisphere and July is often the coldest month. Australia, is one of the countries where inhabitants take advantage of the cool weather of July to have a full Christmas dinner. For them, December is often far too hot to serve a roast turkey/ham, so salads and cold plates are often on the menu for the actual holiday. Nothing wrong with that menu either, it's just that most people think of a more traditional menu for a Christmas dinner.

In the USA and Canada, Christmas in July is often an excuse to throw a winter themed party as a way of cooling off from the summer heat. There are gifts, cool foods like ice cream and sometimes even Santa makes an appearance! The concept for this mid year celebration is really to embrace the spirit of giving. Some charities use the theme as a fund raiser.

Of course, if you were going to celebrate Christmas in July, you'd have to have some music to play that would be more fitting to the climate than most of the traditional songs that are normally associated with the season. Let's see....

"Marshmallows roasting on an open fire
black flies nipping at you toes
Beach Boys songs being sung by the fire
And folks with sunburn on their nose....."

Okay, I'll keep working on that. Now where was I?

Even Hollywood celebrated this time of the year when it release the 1940 movie "Christmas In July". It is a screwball comedy about a man who believes he won a lot of money in a contest and goes on a shopping spree to buy gifts for friends and family. He even proposes to his girlfriend.

Retailers have been using this as a theme for summer clearance sale since the early 1950's. Some will even decorate the stores! It is a great opportunity to clear out a variety of end of seasons merchandise. They give discounts on the merchandise and even reduce the taxes in some cases. Online retailers and TV shopping networks in the USA and Canada have also jumped on the bandwagon and offer free shipping for orders placed on or around July 25.

"Oh sunscreen Oh Sunscreen
You SPF is 50...."

You know, when you stop and think about it, celebrating Christmas in July isn't that crazy. Granted, you can't build real snowmen, or do the winter sports that most people do. Santa may have a little issue with the runners on his sleigh, but won't have to worry about there being a fire lit in the fire place when he comes down the chimney! You don't have to put on tons of clothes to go outdoors, then roast as you wait in endless checkout lines. There won't be any ice on the highways or blizzards to drive through on the way to grandma's house! If you are tired of the relatives hanging around, then just go outside. You can cook the bird on the grill rather than using the oven. Okay, some people already do that - my sister and brother-in-law, have been doing the bird on a grill rotisserie on the patio in frosty December for years already, but that is partially to free up the oven for other dishes.

So I figure this Christmas in July thing is worth a second look. After all, my parents and a bunch of their friends, had a New Year's Party on Canada Day every year for over twenty years. That started on a bitterly cold New Year's Eve back in the 1970's when someone said why can't we celebrate New Year's in summer when it isn't so miserably cold? They all looked at each other and decided to sign a declaration that from then on they would celebrate New Year's on Canada Day (July 1). It worked great for them.

"It's the slap, happiest time of the year
Countless bugs are attacking
I'd rather be napping
Or drinking a beer
It's the slap, happiest time of the year!"

Some consider celebrating Christmas in July as rushing the seasons. Unless you go full tilt into baking, gifting and decorating, I think it is just a great excuse for another party. The real thing comes soon enough and by September some retailers will already be pulling out the decorations for store displays and for customers to buy. Now THAT is rushing the season!

"On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me
12 cans of ale,
11 quarts of ice cream,
10 pairs of sunglasses,
9 cans of bug spray,
8 bottles sun screen,
7 pairs of sandals,
6 big gulp slurpees,
5 iced cappachinos,
4 trashy novels,
3 sun hats,
2 umbrellas,
And a hammock for the back yard!"

Merry Christmas in July!


No comments: