Christmas in July started 84 years ago on July 24th and 25th in 1933 at a girls’ camp called Keystone Camp in Brevard, North Carolina. “I never thought it was unique to us,” Page Ives Lemel, the current director of Keystone Camp, said in an interview. “It seems like something other camps would do.” But not so. According to the camp’s 100th anniversary celebration book, the first time anyone celebrated “Christmas in July” was at Keystone, per the request of camp co-founder Fannie Holt. “Miss Fannie was such a character: a whimsical, dreaming, creative type who added all of this uniqueness to the program,” says Lemel. “Most camps number the cabins to identify them. Here, we have Crabapple, Skylark, and Crow’s Nest, for example. Instead of junior and senior campers we have Elves, Pixies, and Dryads.” The first Christmas in July included carolers, a Christmas Tree, Santa Claus, presents, and fake snow made of cotton. As the tradition evolved, campers would use laundry bags as makeshift stockings, which they placed outside their cabins to be filled with candy overnight. Eventually elves, reindeer, and Mrs. Claus joined the act, along with a camp-wide gift exchange, counselors included. Lemel, who is the fourth generation in her family to hold the title of director, said the gifts were crafty and creative. “One time my dad got a bejeweled toilet plunger decorated with feathers and glitter,” she said in the interview.
The tradition carries on today, and blistering-hot Southern summers have yet to stop the camp’s tradition—now they simply go for a dip in the lake post-presents. To bring a little Christmas in July spirit home, check out our ideas for a Christmas in July party and which movies to watch when. Some people throw parties during July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of Christmas but with warmer temperatures. Parties may include Santa Claus, ice cream and other cold foods, and gifts. … Christmas in July is usually recognized as July 25 since that is five months till Christmas. Set up some lawn games for your Christmas in July party. We think that croquet, sack races and treasure hunts are some good options to try—you can always put a Christmas spin on them to make them a little more festive and funny. If you’re celebrating at a beach, challenge your guests to make sand angels or sandmen.
Here at Hip, Chic Boutique, we will celebrate Christmas in July starting on July 22 and continue through July 25th. Please plan to visit us for the celebration!