The 1892 opera, Werther by Jules Massenet included a scene of children rehearsing a Christmas song in July. The character’s response—“When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season.”
I think we crave the goodwill and congenial feelings that are epitomized during the holiday season. So what is the history of Christmas in July? Is it more than a marketing sales tool?
- 1933 – Camp Keystone, a girls summer camp in North Carolina, celebrated with a Christmas tree, presents, and a visit from Saint Nick. Perhaps the girls, who only see each other during the summer wanted to chance to celebrate the holiday with the unique summer camp family.
- 1940 – The concept was given national attention in the Hollywood movie, Christmas in July with Dick Powell and Ellen Drew. In this story takes place in July, Dick Powell’s character is led to believe he’s won $25,000 in an advertising slogan contest. He buys presents for family, friends, and proposes to his girlfriend played by Ellen Drew.
- 1942 – The Calvary Baptist Church in Washington D.C., celebrated Christmas in July with carols and the sermon Christmas Presents in July. It garnered an outpouring of donations. The program was held each summer.
- 1944 – The U.S. Post Office and U.S. Army and Navy promoted Christmas in July as an early mailing campaign for service men and women overseas during World War II.
- Today – American advertisers have been using the Christmas in July theme since 1950. We can find re-runs of Christmas programs on television and many stores run sales.
- My offering for Christmas in July? Timeless Keepsakes: A Collection of Christmas Stories.