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What Started Christmas in July?

It’s almost July! You can practically feel the sales ads starting up… But what started Christmas in July in the first place? Was it an actual celebration or something else, like boosting sales?

The History: What Started Christmas in July

There are a few stories about the beginnings of a Christmas celebration in July. According to Wikipedia, the phrase was first used in 1882 during a French opera. In the opera, during July, children rehearsed a Christmas song. During the song, another character said, “When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season.”

Christmas t-shirt

Then, in 1935, the journal “Recreation” by the National Recreation Association published an article about all the events surrounding a Christmas in July celebration at a girl’s camp.

Christmas in July Receives National Attention

Yes, Hollywood needed to get in on the concept too. They released the romantic comedy movieChristmas in July” in 1940. The story surrounds a man who thinks he just won a windfall of cash in July and goes about buying gifts for friends and family.

And of course, around 1950, retail stores and advertising agencies couldn’t pass up this opportunity for increased sales. Since then, the mid-summer “holiday” seems to be more of a marketing ploy than anything else.

Home Shopping Networks on TV Have Special Sales Events

I first remember hearing the phrase “Christmas in July” while I was watching QVC, a company I used to work at actually. They ran special sales and encouraged viewers to start their Christmas shopping early. Retailers nearly world-wide get ready for the season in July by creating special shopping aisles decorated for Christmas.

Christmas sweatshirt

While I do understand the retail and secular sentiments of celebrating Christmas early, we shouldn’t let it lessen the true celebration of Christmas – in December. Some retailers can’t wait until July 4th is over so they can get set up for their special Christmas sales, leaving CHRIST completely out of it.

Putting Christ Back into Christmas

If there’s one pet peeve I have, it’s seeing “XMAS” on any sign or blog post or anywhere. Retailers just love taking Christ out of Christmas. I know, it’s cheaper to have four letters printed up if they pay by the letter. It’s easier to write, especially for handwritten signs like you see at tree sales right after Thanksgiving.


Photo by Annabelle Stokes/LSU AgCenter

But seriously, Jesus Christ is the reason for the TRUE Christmas season, not the marketing season in the middle of summer. I say, if you’re going to celebrate and advertise Christmas in July, leave Jesus in the advertising messages too. HE is the reason for the season, no matter when you celebrate it.

What are your thoughts? Do you celebrate Christmas in July?

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