Christmas in July


July is when America celebrates its independence, and for some it is also a time for celebrating Christmas.

I have discovered this novel idea actually started in 1892 with the libretto for an opera in which children are rehearsing a Christmas song. But the earliest known use of the phrase, Christmas in July, was in 1933 at Camp Keystone, a girls summer camp in North Carolina, where the celebration included a tree, Santa Claus and gifts. It was given national attention when the movie “Christmas in July” premiered in 1940.

The idea took on very special meaning in 1942 when the Calvary Baptist Church in Washngton D.C. celebrated with carols and a sermon entitled “Christmas Presents in July.” The pastor patterned this service after a program at his previous church in Pennsylvania, where the congregation would donate Christmas gifts early so they could be distributed to missions worldwide. Next the U.S. Post Office and the Army and Navy partnered with the greeting card industry in 1944 to promote early Christmas mailings for service men and women overseas during World War II. American advertisers joined in around 1950.

Today, in New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, French Polynesia, Samoa, South Africa and other countries throughout the Southern hemisphere, where December 25 falls in the middle of their summer, Christmas in July events occur in the middle of their winter. This is so people can celebrate with a wintery feeling, and if they’re lucky a white Christmas.

All this inspires me to think it’s a perfect time for knitters to shop for projects that can be knitted in time to give hand-crafted Christmas gifts to the men and boys in their lives.

Merry Christmas.