I don't suppose anyone is actually ready for the Christmas countdown yet, afterall, it IS only July. I don't know where the tradition of Christmas-In-July began, but I know fabric stores hold sales in July to introduce new holiday prints so crafters can begin holiday projects and gifts. Celebrating Christmas in the middle of the summer seems to have caught on to some extent, and I've noticed more and more stores, churches, and restaurants offering Christmas-In-July experiences.
Kathy's Kitchen, a family-owned restaurant in Germantown, Ohio, presented quite a Christmas feast yesterday. A Christmas tree had been decorated and placed in the family-friendly dining area and the menu listed roasted turkey with dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. I have it on good authority from two dear friends that the meal was as good as any they'd had for a "real" holiday dinner.
The church I attend is celebrating Christmas-In-July on Sunday. I help choose songs for our contemporary services and it felt a bit odd this week to be browsing through the likes of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Silent Night", but I chose the songs we needed for the service and then did an online search for sources that might carry candy canes year-round. I thought it might be fun to hand out candy canes as people entered the sanctuary, just to keep in the spirit of things, you know. I found a few candy store locations and called them, but no one had candy canes in July, even though my online searches indicated they did.
I've never been particularly enthused about celebrating Christmas in July. I sometimes find it difficult to be ready for the actual celebration in December! But this year, since I was involved in choosing songs, I thought I might as well adopt a holiday spirit, so I've been pondering what I could do to add something festive to the celebration (short of finding some candy canes). An idea came to me as I talked with my friend Deanna yesterday. I'd been wanting to bake cookies, but it's been so hot I'd refrained doing one of my favorite things. Well, that's not the only reason I haven't been baking. When I bake cookies, I also tend to eat them, so I was eliminating that temptation.
The instant I had the cookie idea, I was taken back to a time when my daughter was small - she was probably five or six years old - and had became bored during the summer months. She wanted to bake cookies and I suggested it was too hot to do that. She said, "Not if we bake Christmas cookies!". I suppose she thought baking holiday cookies would remind us of cold snowy winter days. So bake Christmas cookies we did, and we had a wonderful time.
If I baked Christmas cookies in July back then with my daughter, I could certainly bake some this weekend for the Christmas-In-July celebration. I decided I'd set up a mini-Christmas party outside the sanctuary. A table covered with a red checked cloth and decorated with a small brightly lit tree will greet people as they enter the foyer. They'll be invited to partake of festive looking cookies arranged on Christmas platters, and even though I located no candy canes, I did find red and white peppermints which I'll display in a bowl on the table. That should put people in the Christmas spirit, if only for a short time. Maybe celebrating Christmas in July won't be so bad. Now for the hard part - deciding which cookies to bake . . . .