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Why Wait for December, Celebrate Christmas in July Like in Australia

caught Santa surfing down

Ahhh, Christmas. Frosty air. Mulled wine. Hearty meals. Festive lights. Glowing candlelight. Warm fires. Glittery gifts. Excited children. And, of course, Santa.

On a surfboard. Catching a wave off Bondi Beach. What the?!?

Not the image you had in mind, right?

For many Aussies, the fact that December 25th arrives in the dead heat of summer makes a surfing Santa Claus nothing to bat an eye at. With temperatures ranging from 25-40℃, even Rudolph would stop for a quick dip on his flight down under.

Due to the “upside-down” seasons of the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas in Australia is better suited to the beach than the fireside.

And that’s why there’s a somewhat unique tradition to celebrate Christmas in July. It’s properly called Yuletide or Yulefest, and it gets closer to the first image than Santa in boardies at Bondi.

Today, we’re going to look at what it is to celebrate Christmas in July, including:

How and Why the Tradition of Christmas in July Started

Why Christmas in July Can Be Fun

How We Can Help You Prepare to Celebrate Christmas in July

How and Why Christmas in July Got Started

Australia is a land of immigrants. Unless you are Aborigine, who’ve got roots in places usually much farther north.

Many Aussies come from good old British Isles stock. And that’s where many of us still get our ideas of Christmas from. Dickens gave them the “perfect Christmas,” and we want those traditions to continue.

Christmas means cold weather, warm fires, big hearty meals of roasts, puddings, and hot comforting drinks. Christmas crackers at every plate, and carols sung by candlelight. Father Christmas dresses in furs and comes with his coat and boots dusted with snow. 

However, the fact that Australia is in the southern hemisphere means that snow in December is an impossibility unless you count fake snow made of soap flakes or plastic. The Christmas tree is more likely to be of the Christmas bush variety than a fir.

...And a barbie on the beach or ice cream by the pool seems a more suitable way to celebrate than figgy pudding by the fire.

Santa hat
Source: Flickr

And that’s where Christmas in July or the Yuletide festival comes in.

The Origins of Christmas in July Celebrations 

July is winter. In the Blue Mountains and other parts of the Australian Alps, you can find snow and wintry winds. And while the days are still mild, coastal nights often get cool enough to light a fire in the hearth.

And so, July 25th has come to be celebrated as a second Christmas, complete with many of those traditions more suited to “up north”. A new tradition, of sorts.

It’s believed that some families may have started celebrating Christmas in July long before the idea really caught on in the 1980s. There were reports of it being celebrated at a girls’ summer camp in the 1930s.

The phrase itself comes from a WWII-era film by the American director Preston Sturges. During the war, campaigns were held to gather donations and cards to be mailed to the servicemen and women overseas.

Having these “Christmas” drives in the summer months assured plenty of time for the packages to be prepared and delivered before the holiday actually arrived. They also gave merchants a bit of a boost in an otherwise slow time.

The Origins Behind Christmas in July Sales

By the 1950s, some merchants had one day “Christmas in July sales” on (or around) July 25th as a way of boosting sales and a break from the summer doldrums.

They realised the effectiveness of the drives during the war on slower summer sales and found a way to continue them. 

Christmas In July Isn’t Just an Aussie Thing

While Christmas in July may be a really big deal in Australia, some in New Zealand and South Africa have Christmas in July celebrations of their own each year. After all, it’s winter there, too, and both countries also have strong British and Northern European backgrounds.

From possible humble beginnings in a summer camp to an event spanning the globe, it’s easy to see how and why this unofficial holiday became so special to so many.  And it can be for you, too. 

Why You Should Celebrate Christmas in July

Christmas in July is a very special event; one looked forward to every year by many Australians. It’s definitely a cause everyone can get behind. Who knows? One day, it may even become an official holiday.

We can think of several very good reasons why you should celebrate this annual “second-holiday” event yourself. They are, in no particular order:

  • It is a perfect opportunity to enjoy all those great holiday traditions and treats. We won’t want to have the oven going in December for the roast, nor will we feel like eating such a hearty, heavy meal in the heat. July is cooler and more suited to a wintry celebration.
  • The winter can be a rather long, dull time of the year otherwise. Having a Christmas in July celebration is a way to bring a bit of excitement and cheer to the cold, rainy, dreary days and dark-early evenings. 
  • The events and fun are everywhere. Whether it’s our city’s annual festival of lights or our boss’s office party, it’s such a big deal, and getting bigger every year, that it’s hard to miss. It’s becoming a major if unofficial, holiday in Australia.
  • Christmas in July gives us a chance to do things we may not normally take or make the time to do, like ski in the Snowy Mountains or go ice skating on the beach. Or dare to wear our ugly Christmas jumpers more than once a year. 
  • Why not? Christmas is one of the most loved holidays on the planet, no matter which half you live on. And with an opportunity to have two Christmas holidays each year, who wouldn’t want to? Do we really need another reason for a celebration?

How We Can Help You Celebrate Christmas in July

Australian Christmas
Australian Christmas themed

While many merchants would offer you traditional Christmas gear for your Christmas in July celebration, we’ve gone the extra mile. We make your midwinter celebration all the more special by offering Christmas in July specific items.

You see, many traditional Australian Christmas items do feature Santas on surfboards, koalas in sunglasses, and barbies on the sand.

We prefer to add a more traditional holiday flair to a decidedly Australian Christmas in July. Our products feature festive koalas, jolly roos, and even kookaburras.

We have everything you need for your Christmas in July, too. Our collection can provide you with:

  • Treats for the kiddies
  • Tableware and crackers for the perfect Christmas in July dinner
  • Baubles for your tree
  • Mugs for that lovely hot toddy by the fire once the celebration is done
  • Gifts for everyone

And we provide overseas shipping, in case you know an Aussie or two who is missing their favourite holiday back home. Make us your Christmas in July one-stop shopping experience. We’ve got the hottest deals for the coldest holiday around. 



Featured Image: Flickr by Greg Clarke