Everything You Need to Throw a Christmas in July Party this Summer

July 01, 2021

Everything You Need to Throw a Christmas in July Party this Summer

Christmas in July Party!? Whether or not you love the holidays so much you need a Christmas booster, there actually is a legit reason to adopt this tradition: to create a special family moment without all the stress of the season. From aloha shirt Santa to frozen hot chocolate, this party promises all the festive Christmas cheer, but with a breezy backyard summer vibe.

Samantha Howard of Howard & Bow shows us how she gives ‘the most wonderful time of the year,’ a summer redeux with her family’s brilliant backyard Christmas in July party pictured here:

Samantha Howard poses with Christmas in July Party Decor

“Celebrating Christmas in July has become a family tradition for us to capture that joyous feeling of Christmas, but at a time when we are all feeling a lot more relaxed,” says Samantha.

Steal these ideas and start your own family tradition. After the year we’ve had, can’t we all use a little extra cheer? Samantha is generously sharing all her Christmas in July party planning and decorating tips—and they’re ho-ho-hot, baby.

What is Christmas in July and how did it start?

Surprisingly, the tradition isn’t just another Hallmark holiday. According to Real Simple and Southern Living, the celebration started in 1933 at a Girls’ Summer Camp in North Carolina and has become a growing part of our pop-culture ever since. 

Why should I throw a Christmas in July party?

Samantha’s driving force behind throwing this celebration is quality time with her husband and kids.

“Even though I love the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, we have a big extended family—sometimes we get spread so thin traveling and catching up with all our cousins that I miss out on the moments with my husband and kids.” 

Who can relate? Keep it small like Samantha for maximum family time (…and maybe a head start on your Christmas card photos?) or go all out and invite the friends you probably haven’t seen in a while to a Christmas-themed Summer Backyard BBQ Party. 

Okay, I’m convinced. How do I celebrate Christmas in July?

The most important rule about Christmas in July is that THERE ARE NO RULES! Christmas traditions are sacred in most families, but this is your chance to celebrate without the pressure of formality. Who doesn’t love an opportunity to turn customs on their head? Step outside the box, have fun, and build new traditions. Here are tips from Samantha to get your creativity piqued:

1. The Tree

The focal point of every holiday setting is the tree. Set a festive-scene outdoors on the patio, backyard or by a pool. If you have an artificial tree, go all out by setting it up fully decorated, or keep it simple by opting to decorate a potted plant or palm tree instead. Extra credit for summery, tropical themed colors and ornaments, or better yet: use fresh flowers or bright tissue paper flowers.

Christmas in July Tree, Sign, Teddy Bear, and Gifts

Samantha, who is a professional gift wrapper, couldn’t resist going the extra mile to really set the tone by staging tropically wrapped gifts under the tree. It really adds to the theme! All gifts wrapped with doubled-sided eco wrapping paper by Wrappily. 

Tropical Gift Wrapping with Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper (Professional Gift Wrapping by Howard & Bow)

2. Tropical Wonderland

Dress up your party scene with some colorful characters. We adore Samantha’s pink flamingo lawn ornaments turned reindeer pulling an inflatable pool ‘sled’. I mean, look at how she adorned the pink birds with little antlers and scarves! 

Flamingo "Reindeer" for Christmas in July

Note: this concept works in reverse, too. If you have winter animal lawn ornaments like deer, pull them out of storage and give them a tropical touch up—think sunglasses, surf trunks, or a towel and beach umbrella. Use what you already have and give it a twist.

Take a cue from Samantha and string lots of festive garlands and lights about. Create a photo backdrop with along a fence or wall to frame your party decor. Keep the some red and green in the party palette, but add in extra tropical hues for a summery touch. Did you know Christmas-themed pool floats existed? We didn’t until now.

Christmas in July Decor and Christmas Pool Floats

3. "Sandy Claus"

Hey, who is that sittin’ in the lifeguard stand? You don’t have to be in Hawaii to love a Summer Santa. We’re loving July Santa’s fashion choices of aloha shirt, baseball cap, swim shorts, and rubber slippers (or “flip flops” as referred to by some). Naturally, he’s traded his big North Pole throne for a lawn chair.

Sandy Claws - Summer Santa for Christmas in July Party

Samantha’s husband Britt plays Santa for this party. “He loves the chance to fulfill his dream of dressing up as Santa for the girls, it recreates a great memory of the first time he saw a Black Santa who looked like him,” Samantha shared. (Black Santa FTW! #RepresentationMatters, even the cookie says so.)

Representation Matters Christmas Cookies by @itsmypartycookies

4. Sweet Treats

Turn a backyard lemonade stand into a holiday treat station. Samantha serves up Christmas Cones (cone cupcakes in the shape of a decorated tree) and a big platter of frosted holiday cookies. Frozen hot chocolate offers a seasonal flavor with a summer twist, and who wouldn't love peppermint s’mores at a summer campfire? 

Christmas Cones & Cookie Stand - Christmas in July Lemonade Stand Ideas

Now, ’real’ Christmas is just six months away… let the countdown begin!

A note about sustainability: Most of us keep our treasure trove of holiday decorations tucked away all year, so revel in the opportunity this Christmas in July party presents to break them out of storage for some sunshine and summer enjoyment. Using what you already have (or buying second-hand at thrift stores or yard sales) is the best way to keep this party as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible.

Meet the Gift Wrap Artist: Samantha Howard, Howard & Bow

Professional Gift Wrapper, Samantha Howard of Howard and Bow with Christmas in July Sign

"I am Samantha, a self-taught gift wrapper who loves to gift beautifully. I minored in art in college, and have combined my love of art, people, and celebrations to create Howard & Bow. I love seeing the gifting vision of a generous giver and helping them make it come true. Creating an experience is my purpose. Gift wrapping is my passion!

I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in a colorful culture that celebrates pretty much everything! We celebrate life, love, and each other. You never need a reason to party in PR! When I’m not wrapping, I help students in special populations, such as teen parents, foster youth, unaccompanied minors, and undocumented students, pursue higher education."

If you live near Maryland, be sure to support these creators who helped fill this Christmas in July party with holiday cheer:

Photographer: Jennifer Casey, @jennifercaseyphotography 

Christmas Cones: Stephanie Squires, @allinthemixbakeshop 

Lettering: Kate Slayton, @kateslaytonlettering
Etsy Shop

Balloon Art: Lola Tangle, @tangledballoons_lola

Cookies: Erin, @itsmypartycookies