Christmas in July? Bah Humbug!
July finds me in one of the biggest churches in Washington, D.C., during itsr First Annual Children’s Book Fair.
All around me, authors are selling books: some teaching children about business and saving money; others about self-esteem; another about a girl’s entrance into puberty; a few titles about bullying.
Books were being grabbed up in eager little hands with the willing pockets of their parents. Everyone was selling books. Everyone except me.
My novel was about the birth of Christ seen through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy. Adults loved the story-line, loved the different point of view to a familiar story, but they put the book down and walked away.
Here I was in a church and totally baffled. Why wasn’t Christ selling?
Then it came to me. Maybe people aren’t ready for a story of the birth of Christ in the month of July. Maybe Christmas is only for December and December alone. Christmas in July, for some, may just be Bah Humbug.
I have to admit, when I hear or see anything about Christmas before October, I cringe. It’s way too early to even begin thinking of the holiday and buying those gifts for the family.
I remember relishing as a child the decorated shop windows with Santa’s elves wrapping gifts while a toy train ran under the branches of a Christmas tree decked with all the trimmings.
In November, great. In July, no way!
But apparently retailers believe July is the perfect time to sell Christmas — they had to come up with some excuse for holding a sale, any sale, between July 4 and Labor Day. This is the time consumer spending drops and stores find their income decline proportionately.
Christmas in July sales can be found everywhere and cable stations are showing classic Christmas movies. Yes, in July. Bah Humbug indeed. Who started this mess in the first place!
Believe it or not, a girl’s summer camp is to blame.
In July 1933, Camp Keystone decided to lift the spirits of the children after the end of their school season. They decided on the best spirit-boosting theme all children loved. They bought a Christmas tree, exchanged gifts with good-old Saint Nick looking on.
Christmas in July was such a success it became their tradition. But Christmas in July didn’t become a national phrase until Hollywood’s 1940 movie aptly named Christmas in July about a young man who thinks he has won $25,000 and proceeds to buy presents for the whole town.
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