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Christmas in July: What it is and How You Can Celebrate

What do you associate with Christmas? For many people, Christmas is about spending time with friends and family. You might also associate it with snow, cold weather, and warm mugs of hot chocolate or mulled wine. While living in Australia, though, you might notice that locals associate the holiday with an annual celebration called ‘Christmas in July’.

Around this time, you’ll often see seasonal events popping up, which can be confusing if you’re not familiar with this unique celebration. We’ve put together this handy explainer to help you understand  Christmas in July and how you can join the festivities. 

Why do people celebrate Christmas in July? 

Australia is incredibly multicultural and home to people from all around the world. For those whose families come from countries with colder climates in the Northern Hemisphere, the Christmas season is often associated with cold weather and staying cosy by the fireplace. Since December in Australia falls in summer, recreating these kinds of Christmases is not exactly practical. 

To enjoy the more traditional elements of the Christmas holidays, some people throw an ‘extra’ Christmas in July, when Australian weather is coldest (and some places may even be experiencing snowfall). It’s not a proper Christmas celebration but, rather, a fun excuse to get together with friends, eat good food and drink some mulled wine! 

Read more: Where to See Snow in Australia in 2022

Origins of Christmas in July 

The origin of the July Christmas in Australia is unclear. Still, the popular belief is that a group of Irish tourists in New South Wales’ Blue Mountains convinced a pub owner to host a Yulefest among the snow and cold weather. 

Apparently, the event was so popular that the Irish group returned the following year and brought more and more people with them. 

Events for Christmas in July 

Lots of cities around Australia host Christmas in July events. Typically, 25 July is considered Christmas in July to mirror the 25 December date later in the year. However, many venues host events throughout June and July. 

Here are some great options in cities across Australia:

Brisbane

The Tinseltown pop-up in Newstead is where you’ll find Christmas-themed drinks, Santa’s elves and even a daggy (Aussie slang for ‘uncool’) Christmas sweater competition. 

Melbourne

Fitzroy Rotary Club is home to a Christmas in July event featuring carols, mulled wine and delicious food. 

Or, head to P.J O’Brien’s for a hearty, Irish-inspired Christmas in July dinner. The three-course meal will leave you feeling full and happy. 

Sydney

In Sydney, you’ll find the Christmas (in July) Festival from 14-17 July 2022 in The Rocks. The festival has a distinctly European flair with wooden chalets and mulled wine. 

The Blue Mountains offer Christmas flair with spectacular views at Yulefest 2022. Enjoy crackling log fires with some of the best views in New South Wales.  

Canberra

Canberra plays host to the Christmas (in July) Festival just before it moves on to Sydney. Running from 30 June to 3 July 2022 on the Parkes Place Lawns, you can indulge in all the traditional goodies of a European Christmas, from tasty food to delicious hot chocolate.  

Perth

Peel Manor House hosts multi-course Christmas in July luncheons with beautiful views as a bonus. 

If you’re in Northbridge, head to Durty Nelly’s for their Christmas in July events spread across several days. Wear your ugliest Christmas jumper and enjoy some turkey, hot toddies and live music. 

Adelaide

Mawson Lakes Hotel offers a Christmas in July event with a twist – it’s ABBA-themed! Fans of the Swedish quartet can enjoy their greatest hits while savouring a delicious buffet and drinks package. 

Alternatively, from 1 to 25 July 2022, head to Glenelg’s Winter Wonderland where you can ice skate with views over the ocean.

Hobart

If you’re based in Tasmania, we recommend a trip to Cradle Mountain for the Cradle Mountain Hotel’s Christmas in July festive buffet dinner. These dinners will be hosted on 9, 16 and 23 July 2022, giving you heaps of opportunities to get in on the fun. Enjoy a hearty buffet and then head outside for a snowball fight with your friends. Keep in mind that these dinners are on the pricey side ($110 pp), so this is only suitable if you’re keen to splurge a little.

Darwin

The capital of the Northern Territory’s hot, tropical weather is a great option if you want to avoid the winter weather. While not Christmas-themed, the Darwin Fringe Festival is running from 8 to 17 July and is packed with fun events. 

Host a Christmas in July party 

Lots of people in Australia host their own Christmas in July events to celebrate this unique holiday – and they usually revolve around food.

The kind of food you’d like to have at your Christmas in July party is really up to you and your guests. You may want to consider a traditional British Christmas turkey or baked ham followed by pudding. Germans in your friend group may appreciate a home-baked Stollen, Italians a Panettone, and your Filipino friends may celebrate with a Bibingka. You can even host an international pot-luck dinner, where your guests each bring a traditional meal from their home country. 

The most important thing to have at your Christmas in July event is Christmas cheer! Consider buying a pack of Christmas crackers with paper crowns, turn the lights down and light a few candles to set the atmosphere. Use a digital fire like Netflix’s Fireplace for Your Home or check YouTube for similar options to create that fireside vibe. 

No matter when it’s celebrated, Christmas in Australia is about good food and better company. Get your new friends together and enjoy a Christmas in July event, whether you’re going out or staying in.