Jingle All the Year: The Connected Economy Transforms Christmas in July

Christmas in July, holidays, retail, shopping

Amid the sun-soaked days of July, a surprising holiday has taken gained popularity over the last 90 years: Christmas in July.

Once one summer camp’s whimsical tradition, it has become a more widespread phenomenon, with eCommerce merchants and digital streaming platforms taking advantage of the opportunity to win connected consumers’ engagement by harnessing their year-round holly jolly spirit.

According to North Carolina publication Our State, the summer holiday began in the 1930s at all-girls camp Keystone Camp, where the campers celebrated a mock Christmas with carols, a tree and a Santa Claus.

“It was at the camp, on a blazing hot afternoon last July … that the apparition of Santa Claus, whiskers and all, stepped out from behind a curtain of green foliage. He was greeted by the delighted giggles and shouts of the scantily clad children,” a November 1933 Washington Post report highlighted on the summer camp’s website reads. “For each little girl at camp Keystone Camp, there was a gift. There was a tree, brilliantly decorated, a Yule-tide Feast — everything but snow.”

Over the decades, Christmas in July gained traction, with Paramount Pictures in 1940 distributing a film of the same name. In the near-century since, it has become a commercial opportunity for retailers and entertainment providers looking to boost summer sales and engagement.

Streaming services are getting in on the action.

On Monday (July 1), Netflix’s companion site Tudum posted a list of 11 films streaming on the platform “to Make Your Christmas in July Merry and Bright.” The Hallmark Channel runs a full slate of Christmas in July films throughout the month, with titles also streaming on its on-demand platform Hallmark Movies Now. When a PYMNTS writer searched the holiday on Spotify, they were presented with a curated Christmas in July mix personalized to their taste.

Every year, QVC, a pioneer in the shoppable content space, hosts its “Christmas in July” sale. The event features a broad selection of holiday décor, gifts and seasonal items, often at discounted prices. QVC enhances the experience with themed programming, featuring hosts dressed in holiday attire and sets adorned with Christmas decorations, creating a festive atmosphere that encourages impulse buying.

Some merchants, too, are looking to seize on consumers’ Christmas in July spirit. Artificial Christmas tree seller King of Christmas, for instance, has a sale for the holiday, and last year, the American Christmas Tree Association seized on the holiday to jump start consumers’ plans to buy a tree for the winter.

Tourist attractions are also getting in on the holiday spirit with limited-edition deals. Last July, Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp., which owns Radio City Music Hall, celebrated the holiday by kicking off its ticket sales of the Rockettes’ end-of-year Christmas show.

Christmas in July has evolved from a quirky camp celebration to a significant event in the retail and entertainment calendars. Streaming services and retailers, by embracing innovative and festive strategies, capture consumer interest and drive engagement in the midst of summer.

As the connected economy continues to evolve, Christmas in July stands as a testament to the creativity and adaptability of businesses in meeting consumer desires year round.