While Europeans enjoy their sunny days of summer, we Aussies are stuck with chilly weather and gloomy drizzles. But since everyone else gets to have their Christmas goodies in winter, why shouldn’t we? We might not have snowmen and ice sledges, but we can still have our own kind of fun. And the best part is … we get two Christmases every year!
When Europeans people host a Christmas in July party, they use beach themes and sunny surprises, because, for them, it’s a summer party. For us in the Southern hemisphere, it’s a more Christmassy affair in terms of weather, so there should plenty of egg nog and hot chocolate to warm your guests. In fact, your party can be as close to a typical Christmas party as you’d like.
Christmas isn’t Christmas without a tree. Since it’s the middle of the year, you’ll have to settle for an artificial one. If you already have a family Christmas tree, dig it out of storage. If not, you can buy a regular tree from the store, or you could get creative and make your own tree at home.
You can craft a tiny one-foot table-top tree using Styrofoam cones, double-sided tape, and lots of candy. It makes a fun centrepiece, and comes with its own candy presents! You could also make a little wire tree by coiling some wire around a wine bottle, pulling it off, and decorating it with baubles, and party favours.
Your celebration can be held indoors or outdoors, but whichever location you use, be sure to keep your guests warm. If you don’t have a permanent form of indoor heating such as a fireplace, you can get a portable indoor heater for the occasion. If you can find one that uses wood fuel, it would be a great way to create a Christmassy ambience. Some wood stoves have an open top and live flames, so guests can roast marshmallows.
Warm your guests’ insides with traditional Christmas drinks: flavoured brandy, egg nog, rich creamy hot chocolate and marshmallows. For your more classy guests, offer a range of fruity and spicy cocktails garnished with holly sprigs and candy cane.
If it’s a particularly dry day and the weather allows it, you could have your Christmas party outside instead. You could host it on the balcony, or put up some temporary shelter in the yard. If you own an outdoor pizza oven, pizza parties are a great way to chase away the chills, and you can have lots of Christmassy pizza with red and green toppings. Tomato, mint, basil, and if you feel inspired, you might even throw in some broccoli and spinach. Be sure to offer lots of booze and barbeque goodies to make up for the green pizza though.
There are lots of other ways to build up the Christmas feeling. You could make it a fancy dress affair, just for an extra bit of fun. Ask your guests to dress up in Christmas theme. They could come as elves, reindeer, or for those with religious leanings, archangels and lambs. Or they could simply wear outfits with accents of red and green.
Christmas isn’t Christmas without presents, so it can be fun to have a stocking for each of your guests. You don’t have to go all out or spend as much as you would on actual Christmas, but your guests will appreciate some Christmassy party favours. Maybe some candy for the kids, and miniature bottles of Christmas brandy for the grown-ups.
If you’re the kind of person that plans ahead, you might even have some Christmas cake leftover from December, and you can pack that for your guests. Just make sure it was the kind of cake that had staying power. Some kinds of brandy-laced cake can stay fresh for up to a year, so if you have any of that, it makes a good gift, and the touch of alcohol will lift spirits too, pun intended.
Depending on the kind of guests that you have, you could rehash some Christmas favourites to get the mood right. Traditional carols may feel out of place, but there are plenty of pop versions of Christmas songs, so host a Karaoke session using those. You might even restrict the playlist to songs about Christmas in July.
And finally, throw in a few party games to get everyone moving and having fun. Musical chairs is always a hit, but you can also play white elephant, or indulge in some Christmas movie trivia or Christmas film charades. Whichever option you decide to go for, have a great party!