Christmas in July anyone? We could certainly do with some cheer, in whatever guise it comes.

In a basic sense, Christmas in July is a way for some people in southern hemisphere countries to enjoy the festivities to a winter backdrop, as their chilly season falls in June, July and August. They still celebrate Christmas in all its sunny glory in December – and that remains their proper festive season, regardless of the heat. But in the northern hemisphere, Christmas in July is an excuse to bring out the decorations and give a Yuletide twist to summer activities.

The term was given notoriety with the release of US movie “Christmas in July” in 1940, but the phrase had been used as early as July 1933 at a summer camp for girls in North Carolina, USA where they celebrated with a tree, presents and a visit from Santa Claus.

A large Christmas in July luncheon was thrown in New York in 1944 to encourage early mailing for Christmas. It was a combined effort by American Army, Navy and Post Office officials to get parcels to servicemen and women in a timely fashion during World War II. This lunch was repeated in 1945.

Shops and advertisers started using Christmas in July themes around 1950, promoting summer sales. Even now, stores sell off old Christmas stock in July, especially in the United States and Canada. Indeed, such is the need to find reasons to celebrate amid the world’s problems, we sense there’s renewed support for Christmas in July.