Many, many moons ago, I lived with my cousin Julie (and our friend Elise, who we called Weez ... if you'd ever heard her laugh, you'd know where the nickname came from) and we would celebrate Christmas in July. Every year, we'd decorate our apartment. Put up a tree, throw garland around the place, make fudge and sugar cookies, watch holiday-themed movies... you get the picture. Every year. We'd have a Christmas party and invite our friends and family. One year we assigned our Cousin (with a capital C) Greg to read from Luke. Another year, I made both homemade eggnog and peppermint ice cream and we had so many friends/family come to the party that it had to go out onto the lawn. The year we lived in the blue house, we had a standing invitation to anyone who knew us to come over on Friday night to watch a Christmas movie with us. We'd publicize the week before what we'd be watching (Holiday Inn, White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life) and anyone who wanted to come over for sugar cookies and a bit of holiday cheer was welcome.
Our house was a party. Who's kidding who? ... We were a party!
And one of the serious perks of living in Utah was the celebration of Pioneer Day on the 24th. Pioneer Day is a state holiday in Utah, so I'd be off work that day (giving us more time to bake and prepare - Julie was a teacher, so she was off all summer, anyway). ... Also, Pioneer Day was one of the two times a year that fireworks were legal. For the day of, prior to and after the holiday, fireworks were legal. Julie and I used to "carol" with sparklers. Up and down the halls of every complex in our ward, we'd go. One of us would light the sparklers while the other knocked on the door, so we'd be perfectly poised, sparklers in hand, ready to get out one quick verse of "We wish you a Merry Christmas (in July)" before the sparklers burned out. We had it timed perfectly, the singing would end right when the sparkler burned out.
Christmas in July was a magical thing. It's amazing, how easy it is to feel the spirit of Christmas as soon as you start to decorate/bake/watch movies/sing holiday songs. We had a whole lot of fun in those years, and we made a whole lot of memories. Not a July 25th goes by that I don't remember sparklers, peppermint ice cream, sugar cookies, my grammy's jingle bell earrings, and the BYU 3rd Ward. Christmas is too fun to only have it once a year...
And so I say to you, my internet friends... Merry Christmas (in July), and may the rest of your year be glorious and bright!