My brother and his family have hosted Christmas in July for years. A day when our parents, siblings, partners and children all get together to celebrate a cold Christmas. Definitely a novelty as our Aussie Christmases are usually anywhere between 22 to 40°C.
As my family and I moved to the country last year, some extended-family traditions are no longer possible. But that doesn’t mean we can’t start our own.
Celebrating a mini-Christmas in July gives you the opportunity to enjoy all the parts you love about Christmas, while omitting the parts you don’t. If you don’t want to do presents – don’t. If you like to go OTT with the decorations – go crazy. If you want to embrace some of the northern-hemisphere traditions – go for it. You’re not going to upset anyone by tailoring your own Christmas in July to suit your family.
Our own simplified version of Christmas in July was all about embracing what we view as the true essence of Christmas – family and food. Just being together, celebrating home and good health around a shared meal. We didn’t worry about elaborate presents, we didn’t spend days shopping, planning, wrapping, cleaning and all the other tasks that come with a traditional Christmas. Our cruisy version involved playing Christmas carols non-stop, and a slightly pared-down version of our usual Christmas dinner.
For our mid-year Christmas, I decorated the table simply – just a candle and some holly from the garden. We enjoyed a shared platter of nibbles around lunch time, and then I pottered in the kitchen, making dinner at my leisure with no fixed time to sit down and eat. It was ready when it was ready. Perfect.
Our Christmas dinner was all the things we love the most – roast turkey, maple and Dijon glazed ham, pork chipolatas wrapped in bacon, roast potatoes and pumpkin, glazed carrots, beans, peas and corn and gravy. In true Christmas style, we all overindulged and ate too much, but enjoyed plenty of leftovers for the next day or two.
We didn’t buy elaborate presents; we just gave a small, inexpensive gift to each of our 3 children. Miss4 got a ‘paint with water’ book, colouring-in book and crayons. Mr7 received the new Pig the Tourist book and Secret Life of Pets 2 colouring in book, and Mr11 got an iTunes voucher.
Next year I’d like to get the kids involved in some Christmas crafts in the morning. During winter it’s too easy to keep the kids entertained with screens, so some creative, hands-on-fun making paper-chains and bonbons for the table are great for children of all ages to make.
I love Christmas in July because it can be anything you want it to be. It’s a bonus Christmas, right in the middle of the year. A chance to experiment, try new ideas and recipes, get the kids involved and have fun.