Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!
Whether you knew it or not, today is Christmas in July. During my high school summers, on this day our head lifeguard Jerry Fulltime came to the pool dressed as Santa Claus, to operate the water slide and hand out presents at the close of day. Why, you ask, do people observe this blessed day for a second time each summer?
Some have traced the history to the southern hemisphere. That half of the globe has summer weather for our December 25th festivities, and there arose a desire to create their own “White Christmas” in July. In America, the first documented case comes from Camp Keystone, a girl’s summer camp in North Carolina, which first kept the feast in 1933. Since then, movies and themed parties and department stores have followed suit.
We should admit clearly that Christmas in July is actually observed by very few. It’s a sort of half-holiday for community event planners and (true to its origins) summer camps. Nor do I think many celebrate it with the birth of Christ in mind, as they do in December.
Maybe it is promoted because people want more days in the year to exercise the “spirit of giving.” People take summer trips to the ocean or the mountains because, despite our prideful tendencies, they still like to feel small and humble before something majestic and grand. Just so, maybe some keep Christmas in July because, despite all our self-seeking and busy schedules, we still enjoy taking time for others and giving them gifts. Despite our flaws, every human heart has a basic need to give, and if some want to set the scene by putting up an evergreen in ninety-degree weather or singing carols out of season at the country club, that’s good in my book.
Image: Norman Rockwell, Santa