The History Behind Christmas in July

As the summer sun blazes down on those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, designing Christmas and holiday patterns doesn’t always seem like the most natural theme to explore. Yet, for many design calendars, this is the ideal time of year to create snowy landscapes and visions of sugarplums. But textile and surface pattern designers aren’t the only people who have winter holidays on their minds in July. “Christmas in July” is a celebrated event for many people, and in anticipation of the Textile Design Lab’s upcoming Christmas in July event, we were curious about how this whimsical celebration came about. Here are a few theories:

Summer camp fun

One of the earliest recorded celebrations of Christmas in July took place in 1933 at Keystone Camp in Brevard, North Carolina. To break up the summer monotony, the camp’s co-founder, Fannie Holt, organized a Christmas-themed party complete with carol singing and a visit from Santa Claus. This quirky idea quickly caught on, evolving into parades and festivals at local, regional, and eventually global levels. Read more.

An operatic beginning

Another theory suggests that the concept of Christmas in July originated from the 1892 French opera Werther by Jules Massenet, based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s book The Sorrows of Young Werther. In the opera, a character tells a group of children rehearsing Christmas music, “When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season.” This is the oldest known reference linking Christmas and July and may have inspired Fannie Holt. Read more.

Cooler temps in the southern hemisphere

Others believe Christmas in July originated in Australia, where its winter season falls in July. Some Australians embrace the concept of enjoying traditional Christmas festivities in a more seasonally appropriate setting. This version of Christmas in July, sometimes called Yulefest or Yuletide, allows for the full experience of hearty meals, warm drinks, and festive decorations that align with the cooler weather.

Embracing Christmas in July in Textile Design

For textile designers, Christmas in July presents a fantastic opportunity to get creative with holiday-themed designs at an unexpected time of year. If you are looking for holiday inspiration this summer, head to your local Christmas in July celebration or join us in the Textile Design Lab!

At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and our private design community, The Textile Design Lab.

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