In Australia, Christmas is boiling hot and often celebrated at the beach with champagne, beer and seafood but for Northern Hemisphere people, the weather is freezing, with hearty roasted dinners, mulled wine and open fires. To get something close to the Northern Hemisphere, us Aussies of European or British heritage came up with the Christmas in July concept.
We have celebrated Christmas in July many times and have found what we think captures that festive feel.
- Go away with friends: Book either a large house or a few cabins with a central dining room. Ideally that place has an open fire and a large dining room table.
- Cold outside: So it emulates a northern hemisphere winter.
- Christmas shops: They are open all year round and are the closest thing we have to the Christmas markets in the Northern Hemisphere.
- Warm Beverages: Mulled Wine, Egg Nog and Spiced warm Cider makes all your senses think your having a white Christmas in Europe. The smells of cinnamon, orange zest and pine cones
Mulled wine is one of the cosy Christmas traditions. If you haven’t had it, here’s how it’s made. Traditionally, it is called Gluwien from Germany.
1 cup of water
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup of caster sugar
1 small whole nutmeg
1 bottle of Merlot
Splash of Brandy (optional)
Add water to a medium sized pot over a high heat. Add cloves, star anise, cinnamon stick and caster sugar. Grate nutmeg, to taste and add to the pot. Zest the orange before slicing and adding the slices and the zest to the pot. Bring to the boil and stir intermittently for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add Merlot and brandy (if using). Serve in a mug or insulated glass.
Eggnog: What better way to use local country eggs, fresh cream straight from the dairy and rum (from the distillery door)
Spiced Warm Apple Cider: Like mulled wine, mulled cider is a cold Christmas tradition that warms you up on a cold evening.
When we have a Christmas in July, we take a Christmas tree with decorations. We have a festive tablecloth, napkins and bon bons (from Perth Christmas shops). We all get together to cook a full-on Christmas dinner with turkey, ham, roast vegetables and warm Christmas pudding with custard. We get dressed up in an ugly Christmas jumper for a bit of traditional Chrissie winter fun. You can buy them online or pop into Mrs Claus Christmas Kingdom in Joondalup.
Now where to take your car full of Christmas decorations? Using all the criteria above, these are our three favourite locations are:
One of our favourites is historic Bolganup Homestead in Porongurup. The homestead has lots of rooms, so can accommodate up to 25 people. They have a huge games room with an open fire. Once we missed a brief snowfall by a week, showing how cold it can get. The Mount Barker / Porongurup region has fabulous wineries to pick up a red wine or two for mulled wine.
They don’t call it Fridgetown for nothing. In normal years the community also holds a winter festival (not in 2020). Nelsons of Bridgetown usually hold a formal Christmas in July event. (also not this year). Bridgetown has a Christmas shop (Called FATS for Food, Art, Toys, Santa) and a cidery to pick up supplies.
The Avon Valley just east of Perth includes York, Toodyay and Northam. It can drop below zero overnight in July, plus Toodyay has an all year round Christmas shop. Pick up red wine and rum for eggnog in the Swan Valley and find a place to stay with friends.
Why not use Christmas in July as a great excuse to get out in the country with friends for a bit of midyear indulgence.
Where do you enjoy travelling for Christmas in July? Comment below!