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Christmas in July - Getting Festive In Winter

As we all know, Christmas in Australia is an entirely different affair compared to the rest of the Western world. Brits enjoy Christmas with a roast dinner and a mulled wine by the fire, protected from the cold snowy weather outside. It’s a far cry from our blazing hot sunshine and barbecues on the beach!

Western festive culture is based around this traditional white winter Christmas, but unfortunately we are on the wrong side of the world to be able to enjoy this on December 25th. However, there is a solution: Christmas in July!

What is Christmas in July?

It’s when we Aussies treat ourselves to a white winter Christmas. With our British and European heritage, many of us have a strong attachment to the tradition of a cold festive season. As our July is the coldest month of the year, it’s perfect for replicating the conditions of the northern hemisphere winter.

It doesn’t replace our usual Christmas though. As well as a hot roast, pudding and mulled wine in July, we still enjoy seafood, barbecues and beer in December.

How Christmas in July started

The story goes that in 1980, a group of Irish tourists visited the Blue Mountains, around 2 hours west of Sydney, seeking a winter climate they were more used to back home. They requested a hot roast meal at their Mountain Heritage accommodation, which eventually became an annual event. Snow, cosy log fires, roast dinners, minced pies, pudding and festive spirits – people started coming from far and wide to partake.

Other operators in the Blue Mountains started offering a Christmas in July experience as well, further cementing the celebration of Yulefest as an annual event.

What is Yulefest?

The same thing, basically! It’s the name given to the three-month celebration of winter in the Blue Mountains. Rather than celebrating Christmas in July on a certain date – it’s more seasonal up in the mountains, which makes sense for the businesses hosting. The longer it goes on the more customers they can attract.

What date is Christmas in July?

The whole month! This gives businesses plenty of time to put on events that draw in the crowds and increase profit. In the mountains it is throughout the winter period, but the rest of us can choose when we celebrate.

A Ho, Ho, Homicide murder mystery event in Perth takes place in early July, while events in the Blue Mountains are hosted throughout June, July and August. There’s no set date because it’s not a formal holiday or occasion, therefore you can pick and choose what date/s suit you and your customers best!

What to do for Christmas in July?

There are many options for businesses looking to put on an event. Many hotels turn their rooms into winter wonderlands with Christmas trees, decorations and festive menu offerings. Restaurants can do the same – turn their dining spaces into idyllic Christmas settings with a log fire, fake snow, fairy lights and three-course turkey dinners.

Making it family friendly is important. It doesn’t matter what month it is, kids love Christmas and that’s what families will look for. Though of course, plenty of adults will still want a good time.
Even something as simple as encouraging patrons to sport Christmas jumpers at a live music event in your Irish pub will help generate a party atmosphere! It’s not about extravagance, people just want to be together and have festive fun in the winter.

What equipment do I need?

Traditional Christmas dinners with turkey, roast potatoes, pudding, veg and gravy take a lot of preparation and cooking time. Serving this festive feast is a great way to get customers through the door, so ensure you have the following equipment to meet demand:

Food processor for chopping carrots, stuffing
Bain marie for serving gravy. Or a soup kettle
Chafing dish if serving via a long buffet
Gastro pans 
Baking tray for Yorkshire puddings
Ice cream maker for dessert

Is it too late to get involved?

No! Christmas in July is growing every year, with social media proving a handy tool in spreading the word. As more businesses embrace it, customers will follow. A celebration across the whole month of July can provide a big boost to profits, so taking the time to understand what your customers are looking for is key to ensuring success.

Whether it’s fun murder mysteries, dinner by the log fire or festive themed live music, there is increasing demand down under from people wanting to spend their money and have a good winter Christmas.

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