Christmas on the beach, Christmas in July.
We all know when Christmas is, right? Late in December, just after the beginning of winter, when it's always covered in snow, right? Wrong! Christmas happens in the summer, too. It's true, some people just can't wait to get into the Christmas Spirit. So they decide to celebrate Christmas right there in the middle of July. Great concept, no?
This will often serve as the premise for Christmas Episodes in which the show takes place primarily in the summer. All the same plots, motifs, and messages of all other Christmas Episodes will still be present. In fact, expect all the characters to completely forget that it isn't actually Christmas at all.
There is some Truth in Television, as mentioned by That Other Wiki. Most holiday TV specials and movies are filmed during the summer season (so you're sweating like a pig...), and some stores do offer Christmas In July sales to get rid of all their old Christmas stock. The crafting community especially embraces Christmas in July, making all their wreaths, decorations and other Christmas crafts in July to either keep for themselves or sell at craft sales in November.
Of course, in July, less time remains before the next Christmas than how much has passed since the last one.
Of course, in the southern hemisphere, Christmas really does fall in midsummer, so Christmas in Australia is closely related. Some parts of the world, such as Australia but also places such as New Zealand, South Africa, the Falklands and parts of the Americas really do hold Christmas in July celebrations; The first four do so because the weather around July is in midwinter, around the time when the weather is more fitting to the ideas of what a traditional Christmas is in the Northern Hemisphere. Although if you go far south enough, like in the Falklands and southern Argentina, you can sometimes have a White Christmas on actual Christmas, as it's cold enough to snow in the summer sometimes.
Compare Christmas Creep, another trope about getting into the holiday spirit early (the two have overlapped more and more in recent decades).
- hhgregg did a Christmas in July commercial where their mascot, hh, sung the store's latest deals to the tune of "Deck the Halls" while mentioning it's Christmas in July. Based on the end of the commercial, nobody else is celebrating it with him.
- The Czech online store Alza had an advertising campaign called "Summer Christmas", urging people to buy Christmas presents for your loved ones supposedly for lowered prices.
- The second Tenchi Muyo! movie, Daughter of Darkness, has the crew celebrating Mayuka's first Christmas in the summer at the very end of the movie. This was mostly because the Juraian equivalent, Starica, happened at that time. It was also because Mayuka had been reborn after her death at the end.
- In the Invader Zim fanfic For The Glory Of Irk, Texas is mentioned to have its own version of Christmas during the summer (called "Tex-Mas"), which involves Santa wearing a cowboy hat, riding bison, and fighting robots. Going off of comments by the characters, it's implied this is somehow descended from the nuclear near-holocaust brought about by a rogue AI a few generations before the story's present.
- Variant: in Almost Famous, one of the complaints William's sister raises before leaving home is that their mother celebrates Christmas in September to avoid consumerism.
- The story "Christmas in July" from the horror anthology Night Thirst has a homicidal Santa who is inexplicably going about his business in the middle of summer.
- The 1990's Sesame Street Christmas Special Elmo Saves Christmas had Elmo wish it was Christmas every day. When he gets his wish, this trope occurs.
- The 1940 film Christmas in July. Oddly, the plot has nothing to do with the holiday or the phenomenon, though it's arguably the Trope Namer.
- In a later episode of The Avengers (1960s) (with Tara King), John Steed walks into a hostage situation because he is celebrating Christmas in the summer. It turns out he and his friend (whose house the killers have taken over) were in a POW camp in Asia and lost track of the date. Only later did they find out they had celebrated Christmas in summer and decided to make it an annual thing.
- An episode of The Basil Brush Show has Basil make everyone throw a Christmas party for Molly to cheer her up even though it is the middle of summer. As luck would have it, Santa Claus is staying in the same apartment block Basil lives in.
- Cheers: In "A House Is Not a Home", Diane and Sam buy a house. Diane insists on throwing a Christmas-in-May party for the elderly couple they bought it from, much to Sam's irritation.
- Doctor Who: In "The Time of the Doctor", a resident of the planet Trenzalore tells the Doctor it's Christmas. The Doctor tells him "it's July", but both were correct. The town was named Christmas, and it was also July. While visiting, Clara was also in the middle of Christmas celebrations at home. She was literally celebrating Christmas in July.
- Lizzie McGuire: Aaron Carter makes an appearance to shoot a Christmas themed music video in Lizzie's hometown. The Christmas theme is everywhere, even though it is nowhere near Christmas.
- Our Miss Brooks
- In the episode "A Dry Scalp is Better Than None", Mrs. Davis' hypochondriac sister Angela pretends to be dying. Miss Brooks, Mr. Conklin and Mr. Boynton throw her an early Christmas, Angela's favorite holiday.
- In the radio episode "The Telegram", Mrs. Davis' Uncle Corky sends a telegram giving notice that he'll be visiting for a week. A series of missteps leads to the telegram being partially burned, and interpreted as Uncle Corky saying he has a week to live. Miss Brooks, Mrs. Davis, the Conklins and Walter Denton throw Uncle Corky a Christmas party in July.
- Played for laughs in The Pacific, when Leckie returns from the hospital with presents for his friends.
Leckie: Tell Santa whether you've been naughty or nice.Runner: The naughtiest.
- An episode of The Red Green Show has Harold trying to set one up in Possum Lake. Red objects at first, but gets into the act by dressing as Santa and threatening to put Harold on the "naughty" list.
- In The Story of Tracy Beaker, the kids throw a Christmas party for Lol and Bouncer, believing that they are leaving the Dumping Ground, even though it's still summer.
- A literal case happened with The Two Ronnies Christmas Sketchbook. The special was taped in July 2005 because of Ronnie Barker's declining health (he would pass away in October, two months before the special aired).
- On Workaholics the guys celebrate Half Christmas in June, which upsets and annoys everybody around them.
- There is no shortage of instances in any Mock the Week Christmas Episode where the panelists will riff off the fact that they are filming it way earlier than seasonally-appropriate (most of the taping for the show happens in the middle of the year, while the Christmas episode being primarily a bunch of Hilarious Outtakes, cut content and tacked-on Christmas-themed games).
- General Hospital. As Stone Cates was dying of AIDS, his friends brought him a beach party in his hospital room, knowing he was too ill to actually go, and in his final days, arranged a premature Christmas celebration for him (in November, however), as it was very likely that he'd die before the actual day (and indeed he did).
- The majority of Christmas albums are released in the fall, which often means they're being recorded in the spring or summer. This can sometimes make it tricky for the recording artist to get into the "holiday spirit".
- When Elvis Presley recorded Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas in May 1971, they decorated the recording studio with trees, ornaments and wrapped boxes.
- "Christmas in July" by Sufjan Stevens.
- "The Christmas Song" (often mistakenly called "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire") got its start on a blisteringly hot day in Los Angeles as an exercise in beating the heat. Lyricist Bob Wells wrote down a list of images associated with Christmas in an effort to imagine it was cold outside for a change, which ultimately became the first verse of the song.
- Dr. Demento has a regular "Christmas in July" episode, where he plays novelty Christmas songs in July.
- In Maryland in the summer 2012, radio station 102.7 Jack FM played Christmas music for a week straight.
- Our Miss Brooks: In "The Telegram", Mrs. Davis' Uncle Corky sends a telegram giving notice that he'll be visiting for a week. A series of missteps leads to the telegram being partially burned, and interpreted as Uncle Corky saying he has a week to live. Miss Brooks, Mrs. Davis, the Conklins and Walter Denton throw Uncle Corky a Christmas party in July.
- Homestar Runner has Decemberween in July, a series of holiday shorts released in July of 2004. These include a Christmas Episode of Teen Girl Squad, Strong Bad defacing a cheesy children's book about Decemberween, and Marzipan singing a song about "Seasonal Sweaters".
- In The Kirlian Frequency the Host decides to celebrate chrismas in April because the town won't get to May. There is a comet that will come in two weeks and destroy the city along with everyone else.
- One Baby Looney Tunes episode saw the kids set up an off-season Christmas in order to get Lola a toy stethoscope she needed in order to play doctor.
- In Back to the Future The Animated Series, the Brown family and Marty decided to visit late 1800's London during Christmas to beat the heat of the present time.
- The Beatles episode "Money" has a scene where the boys are spending their concert take at Coney Island, and Ringo mistakes a mechanical funhouse clown as Santa.
- Ben 10 had a Christmas episode in the middle of summer vacation. It involves the family discovering a portal to some Christmas world and the elves wanting Grandpa Max to be their new Santa.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: No, not "Jingle Jingle Jangle", but "Fa La La La Ed", in which Ed gets it in his mind that it's Christmas, although it's July. Of course, the idea spreads to the rest of the kids.
- In Garfield and Friends, Garfield pretends it's Christmas at the height of summer to take his mind off the sweltering heat. Jon and Odie join the spirit and decorate the house, confusing the neighbors, who then take it on. This snowballs until almost the entire city falls under the impression that it really is Christmas before City Hall makes an official declaration to the contrary.
- In The Penguins of Madagascar episode "Happy King Julien Day!", Julien proclaims that the zoo will celebrate the biggest holiday of the year. Marlene assumes for a moment that it's Christmas in July, only to remember that it's neither Christmas nor July.
- The second Christmas Special of Phineas and Ferb has the boys decide to put on a traditional Family Christmas Special in the middle of summer.
- The animated Punky Brewster series had an episode called "Christmas In July". Glomer, claiming to know Santa personally, takes Punky and her pals to the North Pole workshop in July only to find Santa's on vacation. The kids manage to flummox Santa's toy-making assembly line, prompting him to return early to set things right.
- Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July featured Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer teaming up with Frosty the Snowman to save a struggling circus, and getting tangled up in an evil wizard's scheme to take over the North Pole.
- In the "Rugrats'' episode, "Let it Snow", The Pickles family decide to set up a picture for their Christmas Card in August, which leads the babies to believe that Christmas is coming early. Throughout the episode, the babies try to make it snow. It eventually does end up "snowing" due to Stu's box of laundry soap getting caught in the air conditioner.
- In one episode of the Super Mario World cartoon, Mario and Luigi introduce Christmas to the cave people to stop them from quarreling, despite it being the middle of August. Mario justifies it by saying the cave people don't know any better. Within hours, everyone's adopted 'Cave Christmas', even Bowser and his kids, who attempt a How the Character Stole Christmas on the heroes, forcing Mario and Yoshi to retake the gifts from the Disco Palace.
- The Wishfart episode "Christmas Times the Max" sees Dez grant a wish for exactly this (they even specifically call it "Christmas in July"). However, Santa Claus isn't willing to do his duties in the middle of summer (he says he can't stand heat very well), so he leaves the responsibility of organizing Christmas and doing all of Santa's duties to Dez and his friends.
- Real Life: in the southern hemisphere, the actual Christmas is in the summer.
- Australian ex-pats living in the Northern Hemisphere will do this. One newspaper report had one of them commenting that "December doesn't feel like Christmas at all. It's too cold and snowy."
- Likewise, in the commonwealth countries of the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas in July has been adopted as a way to craft a Christmas celebration in weather conditions similar to those of the Northern Hemisphere's winter.
- Countries such as Brazil at times emphasize how Santa impersonators struggle to wear the hot costume (it's something to use while venturing in the snow, after all) - even a Mall Santa, who is frequently under air conditioning.
- Even warm climates that happen to be in the Northern Hemisphere will do this; even though it's technically winter, it might feel like summer or at least not be all that cold.
- It's been noticed (and criticized) that retailers have been placing their Christmas merchandise (decorations, etc.) out on display earlier and earlier. Christmas merchandise being put out before Thanksgiving without a large amount of fanfare (since Thanksgiving isn't a major merchandising holiday anyway,) but people really started crying foul when Christmas merch and ads for Christmas movies was put out before Halloween, leaving people wondering how many holidays will get swallowed up and whether or not "Christmas in July" sales and actual sales will eventually collide.
- This tends to happen year-round with seasonal merchandise in retail stores like Walmart, Family Dollar, Dollar General et al., with Valentine's Day merchandise in January (and as of recently, late December), St. Patrick's Day decorations in February, Easter decorations in March or late February, Fourth of July merch in June, back-to-school sales in July, Halloween decorations in September, Thanksgiving stuff in October, and Christmas decorations in November.
- Electronics chain Crazy Eddie used to regularly have a Christmas In August sale.
- There are several cases of TV networks running marathons of Christmas specials in July (which is one of the four Sweeps months and thus makes for better ratings). It isn't uncommon for viewers in the USA and the UK to find Christmas specials and Christmas movies dominating certain TV Channels for part of the week in the height of midsummer:
- Cartoon Network did Christmas in July marathons back in the 90's where they'd air a bunch of animated Christmas specials in July. They started doing so again starting in The New '10s.
- Toon Disney did it as well (before Jetix came and ruined everything).
- Canadian channel YTV had a Christmas in July event around 2010.
- TV1 at one point did a marathon of Christmas episodes from Amen, Good Times, The Jeffersons, A Different World, and Living Single.
- Lifetime used to commemorate the 4th of July with a marathon of Christmas movies, eventually expanding it to the entire first week of July.
- This was then taken up by The Hallmark Channel which airs them for the entire month of July and has paired it with Christmas Creep by: (1) Making it as much a phenomenon as their actual Christmastime marathon, including specifically filming movies for this event (in 2017, several movies has a 2017 date, indicating this), (2) Including promos for "Countdown To Christmas" (the actual Christmastime marathon), (3) As of 2018, pushing the start date back to the last few days of June, and (4) Airing a Christmas movie every Thursday and Friday of 2019 to celebrate the Christmastime marathon's upcoming 10th anniversary and doing the same thing in 2020.
- The coronavirus outbreak of early 2020 prompted the channel to run a marathon of movies in mid-March in an effort to boost people's spirits.
- The AMC network has begun a " Halfway To Halloween" marathon, airing the Halloween movies for several days in mid-spring 2021.
- All of the "Shop at Home" channels in the US (QVC, Home Shopping Network) air Christmas in July specials each year. It used to serve a more pragmatic and strategic purpose though. Many companies had long processing and delivery times ("Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery" was their mantra.) Usually when something was ordered in July, it would arrive in September or October, right about the time that Christmas shopping would start to trickle into people's minds.
- British TV tends not to take note of when the Christmas episodes fall in imported American series. So you end up with little inconsistencies like the Christmas episode of Frasier airing in April, or the Barone family in Everybody Loves Raymond celebrating their Christmas in July. This is so that the networks always have plenty of under-watched episodes to put on re-runs, so that the series remains "fresh".
- The 2020 coronavirus pandemic led to several people turning to Christmas movies/music as a source of comfort. Some went so far as to put up their Christmas decorations in March, and Nickelodeon ran their first ever Christmas in July marathon that year.