Winter Blog Posts

Scarecrow of the Week–Valentine’s Scarecrows–Sow in Love

Sow in love

Sow in love

St. Charles Scarecrow Festival 2014

 

Celebrating Traditions–St. Valentine’s Day Cards

St. Valentine’s Day is a tradition dating back centuries.  It originates in ancient Rome where on February 13-15 a lottery was held to pick a mate in which to spend the next year with.  Two of the three saints named St. Valentine were martyred in this day in 3 A.D.–one for marrying Christians which was against Roman law at the time.  It was declared a church holiday as early as 496 A.D.  It became a common practice to pass notes on this day which evolved into picking a sweetheart for the day.  This is also the day it was believed that birds choose their mates thereby heralding the first day of spring.

The practice of sending actual St. Valentine’s Day cards originates in England circa 1400.  What is referred to as the first actual Valentine is a letter written in 1416 by Frenchman Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife during his imprisonment in the Tower of London.  This first Valentine itself is bittersweet as she died before it could reach her as the Duke was imprisoned in various English castles for nearly 25 years.  The original letter still exists and is held at the British Library in London.  Incidentally the oldest surviving Valentine written in English is also held there.  This was written by Margery Brews of Norfolk to her fiance John Paxston in 1477.

Vintage Valentine

Vintage Valentine

The practice of sending hand-written Valentine’s Day cards does indeed first appear circa 1400 in England.  Another long-standing belief is that King Henry VIII established February 14 as St. Valentines’ Day in a royal decree in 1537.  By 1601 St. Valentine’s Day has become part of England’s “popular consciousness to the extent that…William Shakespeare mentions it in Ophelia’s lament in Hamlet:

“Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s [D]ay

All in the morning betime

And I a maid at your window

To be your Valentine.” [2]

By the 17th century it became commonplace for friends and lovers from all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection like hand-made cards, chocolates, and small gifts on St. Valentine’s Day.  Some of these traditions found themselves brought to America with the colonists.  In fact their popularity grew with imported “writers” from England that were actually booklets that had various “be my Valentine” messages that one could copy onto decorative paper and send.  One popular “writer” even had responses.

Late 18th century and early 19th century Valentines were often religious in nature.  It wasn’t until 1847 that the first American mass-produced Valentine made from–what else but–English imported embossed paper and lace was produced.  They were created and sold by Esther Howland of Winchester, MA, who is commonly referred to as “The Mother of the Valentine”.

“The popularity of sending and receiving [Valentine’s] cards [in England] grew alongside the improvement in postal services and methods of printing to the point in the 1830s where postmen needed refreshments to help with the unprecedented number of cards they had to deliver.” [3]  In America the Valentine didn’t truly become a tradition until during the Civil War (1861-1865) “when [V]alentine cards often depicted sweethearts parting, or a tent with flaps that opened to reveal a soldier.” [4]

 

Vintage Valentine

Vintage Valentine

“By 1900 printed cards began to replace hand-written letters due to improvements in printing technology.  [Indeed] [r]eady-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings were discouraged.” [5]  It was in the Victorian era with advancements in printing and then the introduction of the “penny post” that sending Valentines became even more popular.  The penny postcard Valentines were most popular during 1890-1917. [4]  Sometime in the late 1800s sending Valentine’s cards fell out of fashion only to be revived sometime in the 1920s.  Contrary to what some believe–Hallmark did not create this holiday.  Hallmark’s first Valentine card was not produced until 1913.

Valentine’s Day now accounts for 25% of the cards sent each year according to the Greeting Card Association. [1]   Today 180 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged in a holiday that in 2014 reached $17 billion in spending.  [6]

 “Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

~ An Old Irish Blessing

Marian (McCoy) Boveri

[1]  Valentine’s Day History

[2]  History of Valentine’s Day

[3]  Valentine’s Day in Britain–History and Folklore

[4]  History of the Card

[5]  The Legend of St. Valentine

[6]  Valentine’s Day Statistics

 

 

Oldest Valentine

Winter Harvest–Decisions Like Seeds Determine the Harvest

The way to experience a bountiful harvest is to decide on what you want to see yielded in the field.  Harvests need to be created purposefully through planning and making the right decisions.  On the surface this may appear to be an easy thing to do.  Yet proper decisions do require some heart-felt reflection.  Without taking the time to reflect upon the true harvests you want to see in your fields, you may be planting the wrong seeds. It is in planting the wrong seeds that you first run the risk of reaping the wrong harvest.   Indeed as you well know–you reap what you sow.  Each decision itself becomes a seed planted in the field.

Each decision is a seed.

Each decision is a seed.

How do you determine the right seeds that need to be sown in the field?

Start with asking yourself:

  • What is the purpose of the harvest?
  • What do you want to see growing in your field?
  • How will this harvest impact your life?

This will help you formulate the proper decisions that will determine the direction of your planting.  Knowing the purpose of the harvest determines the decisions on what to plant in the field.  In the end the outcome of the harvests is dependent upon the choices and decisions you make regarding the seeds that are planted in the fields.  Strategic decision-making and planning is necessary to achieve the harvests you desire.

It is essential that you continually assess what is growing in the fields in order to make the right decisions on how to cultivate, nourish, and protect the harvest.   If what you have planted isn’t growing and bearing fruit, make sure you take the time to stop and reassess the field.  If you find something growing in the field that you did not expect or want, it may be that you have to plow the field under and begin again.

The key is to take the time to make the decisions that are needed to insure a bountiful harvest.

  • Take the time to reflect on your life and what you want to see in it.
  • Gather the seeds that need to be planted in the different fields of your life.
  • Make sure that what you want growing in your fields is actually growing there.

Remember, it is up to you to decide what harvests you want to see in your life.

What will you decide to plant in your fields?

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~ An Old Irish Blessing

Marian (McCoy) Boveri

Winter Season–Preventing an Accidental Harvest

As January comes to a close, the planning time for this year’s harvest should be well underway.  If you want to see a bountiful harvest in your life–it will require planning.  Taking the time to actually sit down and decide on what you want to see growing in the fields of your life is essential to successful harvests.

Deciding on the direction you want your life to go in and the results you would like to see at the end of the year depends upon you.  Your harvest is directly dependent upon what you do or do not plant and cultivate in the fields of your life.

What will your barn store?

What will your barn store?

Whether or not you take time to plan the harvests you would like to see in your life–it remains that something will indeed grow within the fields.  Even fields that lie fallow grow something–though it may only be weeds or leftover fruits from a harvest past.

  • Do you want to harvest what you desire in your life or will you end up with an accidental harvest?
  • How often have you come to the end of the year, looked back on the goals you hoped to achieve, and realized that the cupboards were bare?
  • How often have you planned the harvest but failed to cultivate or plant the seeds?
  • How often have the fields in your life produced an accidental harvest?

If you don’t take the time to figure out what it is that you want growing in your field, the time will still pass and the growing season with it.  It is possible that some of what you want to see in your life will pass you by if you don’t use the opportunity to be deliberate about what you plant in your fields.

Take time to review the fields of your life and reflect upon the past harvests.

  • Did you plan the harvest or receive an accidental one?

In order to maximize the potential of your harvest:

  1. Identify the field
  2. Determine the harvest and its timing
  3. Select the seeds
  4. Prepare the field
  5. Plant the field
  6. Cultivate the field
  7. Watch over the field

Will this be the year that you grow a bountiful harvest or an accidental one?

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing

Marian (McCoy) Boveri

Winter Harvest–Ice Harvesting: A Winter’s Crop

Although the ice trade still exists today, its heyday was during the 19th century ice harvesting which was commonly referred to as the “frozen water trade”.  While snow and ice had been collected and stored for use in summer for as long as anyone could remember, it wasn’t until a 25-year-old Boston entrepreneur, Frederic Tudor, set about to commercialize the harvesting of ice that it became a booming business.  However, Tudor’s first harvest that he attempted to sell didn’t go over so well.  He sent a ship full of ice to sail and sell in the West Indies in 1806.  Upon the ship’s arrival though no one was interested in the product as people just didn’t understand the benefit of everyday use of ice!

Prior to this ice was only available to the wealthy who had the means to afford their own ice houses.  It was not a product that had mass appeal as it does today.  For the most part the storage and preservation of food was not reliant upon ice.  People just didn’t understand the concept of cooling down a drink with ice.  Physicians didn’t understand how ice could reduce fevers either.  People simply didn’t know that they needed ice.  While the use of ice houses, a building insulated allowing for the storage of ice into the summer, was commonplace in wealthier households as early as 1660 in England, the everyday use of ice simply did not exist.  In addition, ice harvesting was a dangerous business.

So in order for the frozen water trade to become successful, Tudor had to convince people that they needed ice.  He took it upon himself to go about the country convincing bartenders to sell chilled drinks and taught restaurants how to make ice cream.  It wasn’t long before people fell in love with the idea of a cooled drink.  By 1821 Tudor had created a real market for ice in several cities.  Now that Tudor had created a market, he set about to develop tools to ease the harvesting of ice.  It was in1826 that Tudor’s foreman, Nathanial Wyett, came up with the idea of using horses to plough cut the ice. [1] For in truth frozen ice became a field in need of harvesting.

Ice harvesting commenced when a foot of ice was on the river or lake.  This typically occurred in January through March in the New England area and in December through February in Norway, two major geographical areas of ice harvesting.   A crop that was dependent upon nature to freeze the field.  And just like any other harvest–the field had to be cultivated in order for it to yield.  Once the water started to freeze it was essential to keep it clear of snow as the snow would slow the ice from freezing at a deeper depth.  So the field was cleared of  weeds just like any other field.  Only the weed that needed to be cleared from the field was snow.

Once the field was ready for harvesting it was then cut or ploughed into long rows and then once again cut across the rows to create the blocks.  Interestingly it was often off-season farmers who worked at the harvesting of winter.  The harvesters  came and cut along the ploughed lines in order to release the ice from the field.  Ice was pulled from the river or pond with ice tongs and sent off in wagons to be stored in ice houses.  The ice harvesters wore special corked shoes and the horses had spiked horse shoes allowing them to work on the ice.

As with all crops, weather can have a positive or negative impact on the harvest.  Mild winters, referred to as “open winters”,  impacted the ice harvest as it was essential for the ice to be 18″ thick in order for the horses and men to work safely on the ice.  Unseasonably mild winters resulted in ice famines, of which 1880 and 1890 being the most extreme.  These ice famines led to the development of commercially produced  ice.  Ice harvesting eventually disappeared  for the most part in the early 20th century as it then no  longer was considered primarily a winter harvest.

At the peak of its production at the end of the 19th century, “the U.S. ice trade employed an estimated 90,000 people in an industry capitalised at $28 million ($660 million in 2010 terms), using ice houses capable of storing up to 250,000 tons each” [2]

Click this link to watch a fascinating and historic way of ice harvesting — Ice Harvest Film circa 1919

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing

Marian (McCoy) Boveri

 

[1]  http://mentalfloss.com/article/22407/surprisingly-cool-history-ice

[2]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_trade

Winter Season–Developing a Harvest Strategy

Winter is the time to live off the harvest of the previous season.  It is also the time to develop a strategy for the next harvest season.  Even when the fields are covered in a blanket of snow the farmer is planning the harvest.  This can make the difference between a successful harvest that can sustain you or a failed harvest that leaves you without proper sustenance.  Winter is the time to develop a harvest strategy.  It is the time for planning the next harvest.

Even when the fields are covered in a blanket of snow the farmer is planning the harvest.

Even when the fields are covered in a blanket of snow the farmer is planning the harvest.

Looking ahead brings life and meaning to the season of winter.  It cultivates hope and anticipation for all the blessings that the harvest can bring.  Without developing a strategy, however, the harvest is in danger long before the planting is to begin.  Knowing what seeds need to be planted in order to grow the crop that will yield the desired harvest is essential.

Your life is a farm that has various fields within which you can grow a successful harvest.  Just as the fields on a farm require planting with certain seeds in order to reap a specific harvest, the different areas of your life require the same.  It is essential that the farmer knows what he wants to harvest in order to do so.  It is essential that you know what you want to harvest in order to reach your destination.  If you don’t know the crop that you want planted in a field, how can you expect it to grow?  Planning can bring clarification.

The farmer takes time to plan the crops he will be planting for the upcoming harvest season.  He is intentional about what he plants.  He plans the sowing of his crops so that he can receive the harvest he desires.  Just as the farmer plans his harvest, you too need to take time to plan the harvests you want to see in your life.  Determining the goals you want to see accomplished will help you to determine the seeds you need to plant to receive the desired harvest.  You need to plan the harvest you want to see in your life.

Considering the various fields within each of the areas you want to see a harvest in your life can help you determine what seeds need planting and what fields need to be put aside for another season.

  • Fields of Faith
  • Fields of Family
  • Fields of Home
  • Fields of Health
  • Fields of Business/Career
  • Fields of Finances
  • Fields of Friends
  • Fields of Leisure
  • Fields of Self Development

Start planning your harvest by asking yourself some basic questions:

  • What fields need cultivating?
  • What shall the harvest of these fields be?

Once you know the fields you want to cultivate, you will know what to plant in those fields.  You may discover that there are fields that need to be put aside this year.  When a field is put aside and left unsown it is considered to lie fallow.

  • Are there fields that need to lay fallow this year?
  • Are there fallow fields that need to be reclaimed this year?

Just as a farm has different fields that can yield a harvest depending upon what is planted within, your life has different fields that yield a harvest depending upon what you plant and cultivate.

What do you plan to harvest this year?

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing

Marian (McCoy) Boveri

Winter Season–Living Off the Harvest

Fall harvest celebrations were traditionally held to express thanksgiving for the abundance of plenty that could be stored up and lived on during the scarcity of the cold and dark winter.  Historically winter’s survival was dependent upon the harvest.  A poor or lost harvest meant certain desperation as concern for survival was indeed a real and pressing problem.

Winter's Harvest in the Barn

Winter’s Harvest in the Barn

Winter is a time for living off of the harvest.  In modern life, full dependence upon what can be harvested and stored is uncommon as food is pretty much accessible year-round.  If you look at the harvest as the results you have in the various aspects or fields of your life; however, the harvest does indeed once again become important to store up in order to survive life’s winter seasons.

What do you do if you find that your time of plenty was not so plentiful?  How do you live off the harvest when all you can see are lost hopes and dreams?  What do you do when your daily life has become a struggle just to survive?

Being caught up in the need to survive–even on an emotional level–can lead you to living in a suspended “crisis mode” known as “fight-or-flight”.  This primitive protective mechanism was important when confronted with a saber tooth tiger that required actual physical activity in order to survive.  However, today’s saber tooth tigers and failed harvests are oftentimes psychological stressors such as missing a deadline, traffic delays, financial issues, and such that do not require actual physical activity to escape immediate danger.  Nevertheless, the same “crisis mode” of “fight-or-flight” gets activated.

What you may not realize is that constant stress can cause you to actually get stuck in this “crisis mode” and start living everyday in mere survival.  When you get stuck in living in survival your decisions become impacted negatively.   Your ability to cultivate the seeds needed to have a good harvest is inhibited.  In essence, you get stuck living in the winter with no harvest stored in the barn to sustain you.  Excessive stress and a life lived with continual short-term emergencies lead to becoming overwhelmed.

So how do you change out of this “survival mode” and back into cultivating positive attitudes and beliefs?  How do you move away from focusing on just the short-term survival and start focusing on long-term results?

  1.  Increase your physical activity.  On the surface you may think, “How does exercise change my world?”  It gives your body a chance to engage in the “fight-or-flight” and burn off all the excess stress hormones.  This will lead to a clearer mind and more introspective thinking.  Even 10 minutes of activity will help regain clarity.
  2. Change your environment.  What you surround yourself with will impact your stress level. Changing your physical environment to reflect a more peaceful reality is essential.  Sometimes this may be getting out of toxic relationship or leaving a stress-filled job.  Changing your spiritual environment by seeking an understanding of your God-given purpose and direction will change your focus from just surviving to long-term thriving.  Spending time in prayer will help to bring peace and clarity.  Resolving to release negative feelings of worthlessness, shame, and guilt will help to build a more positive environment.
  3. Change your perceptions.  One of the easiest and effective ways to change your perceptions is to use affirmations.  Affirmations have the ability to change your beliefs through continuous repetition by replacing the negative thoughts with more positive ones.  Focusing on affirmations can also help to quiet the mind which is key to moving beyond the anxiety and fears into a place of clearer understanding, truth, and love.

What ways will you start storing your harvests in order to survive the winters of your life?

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~ An Old Irish Blessing

Marian (McCoy) Boveri

New Year’s Traditions: Create a Harvest of New Year’s Resolutions

The end of the year brings with it the tradition of reflecting upon the previous year and making resolutions for the New Year.   Resolutions are made based on the outcomes you would like to see in your life in the upcoming year.  These resolutions essentially define the harvests you would like to see in the fields of your life.

This year I will...

This year I will…

New Year’s resolutions often get a bad rap because it would appear that many people tend to forget about them just a few weeks into the year.  They oftentimes end up like many dreams in life—never getting off the ground or coming to fruition.  If you truly examine what “resolution” means you will discover that by definition it is the “act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.: the act of resolving something”.  [1]   What happens with a lot of resolutions is that people resolve to do something but fail to “find an answer or solution” [2] to achieving that very thing.

In other words resolutions often fail because solutions are not found to achieve them.  If you look at resolutions as harvests that you want to see in your life, you see that the resolutions themselves define the fields you want to yield a harvest in.  And as you well know—the crop that is harvested is determined by the seeds that are planted.  Just like the harvest, resolutions need care and tending in order to grow.  A good and abundant harvest requires a lot of hard work to cultivate the seeds that are planted.  But first the seeds have to be planted!

So how do you do things differently this year?  How do you come to the end of 2015 and celebrate an abundant harvest?

  • The key is to actually put the work into our resolutions.
  • Find the answer on how to bring about the result.
  • Plant seeds of doing in order to reap the harvest.
  • Turn the resolution into a goal with specific measurable results–make it S.M.A.R.T.
  • Determine the time in which the resolution comes to harvest.

How to harvest a S.M.A.R.T. goal:

  • Specific–What harvest do you want to yield? Know the specific crop you want to grow in order to plant the right seeds.
  • Measurable–How will you know that the seeds you planted are growing?  Know the specific milestones needed to cultivate your harvest and measure the growth.
  • Achievable–Can you grow this crop in your field?  Know what you can grow in your field and what will grow well in your field.
  • Relevant–Is this the crop you want growing in your field?  Know what needs to grow in your field in order to nourish your life or business.
  • Time-bound–How long will it take to grow this particular crop?  Know when the harvest will be and use this deadline to plan accordingly.

What harvests would you like to see in your life in 2015?

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing

Marian (McCoy) Boveri

 

[1] www.merriam-webster.com resolution

[2] www.merriam-webster resolve

 

Christmas Traditions–O Christmas Tree–How Lovely Are Your Branches!

Christmas Tree Plate Godey's Lady's Book December 1850

Godey’s Lady’s Book
December 1850

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree, How lovely are your branches! ~ from “O Christmas Tree”

It’s time to celebrate Christmas and one of the many traditions that have come to be associated with this holiday is the Christmas tree.   Whether it’s a real evergreen tree that was harvested at a tree farm or bought at a favorite Christmas tree lot or an artificial tree that is put up year after year–it is truly a welcome addition to the home at the holiday season.  The practice of bringing greenery and evergreens into the home during the winter is as old of a practice as can be remembered.  Decorating the home with greenery was in truth originally a remembrance and promise of the harvest to come.

It is said that in central Europe the practice of hanging a decorated evergreen tree upside down or creating a symbolic tree made of wood in the shape of a triangle as a symbol of Christianity became commonplace in certain areas as early as the 12th century.  Legend has it that this practice originated with the 8th century monk, Saint Boniface from Devonshire, who went to Germany to teach the word of God.  As trees were an important part of the inhabitants’ beliefs, the monk used the evergreen tree with its triangular shape to teach about the Trinity.

Another Christmas origin can be seen with the medieval practice during the 15th and 16th centuries of decorating an evergreen tree or branch with apples (representing the forbidden fruit) and wafers (representing the Eucharist and redemption).  This was done for plays performed on Christmas Eve which at that time was also known as Adam and Eve’s Day.

  • It is commonly held that the origin of displaying a Christmas tree as we know it was in Northern Europe, most likely Germany, during the 16th century.
  • The first written record of the “Christmas” tree was in Riga, Latvia, when in 1510 a local merchant’s guild decorated a tree with roses, danced around it in the marketplace, and set it ablaze at the end. [1]  This same written record refers to these same events occurring as early as 1476. [2]
  • In 1530, there is a record of trees being sold in the marketplace in Alsace, France (then in German territory) for the purpose of being brought into the home.  There was a law that restricted their height to 8 shoe lengths (which is slightly over 4 feet).  [1]
  • Early Christmas trees were decorated with fruit, nuts, and other edible foods.
  • Putting lights on the tree is said to have originated in the 16th century with Martin Luther who upon seeing the light of the stars shining through the evergreen trees, put candles on an evergreen tree as representative of “Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas.” [3]

While the Christmas tree was brought to America as early as 1747 by Pennsylvania German immigrants, it was still not a common practice as late as the 1840s.

  • The first record of a public display of a Christmas tree in America was in the 1830s in Pennsylvania by German immigrants.
  • It was actually Queen Victoria of England and her German Prince Albert that brought the tradition of setting up and decorating a Christmas tree into mainstream practice.  As Queen Victoria was popular with her subjects, what she did and what she wore quickly became trends.  A picture of the Queen and her husband standing around a decorated Christmas tree was widely circulated in London in 1848.  The same picture sans crown and mustache to make it more appealing to the American public was published in Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1850 (pictured above) and the Christmas tree soon became an accepted and practiced Christmas tradition.
  • In 1851 Christmas trees began to be sold commercially being randomly harvested from the forest.
  • By 1870 putting up a Christmas tree was a common practice in America.

In the end the use of greenery in the home has always been symbolic of the light shining in the darkness, the hope and promise of new growth, and everlasting life.  What better way to celebrate Christmas, which is truly about the hope and promise of a Savior that comes to be the light of the world, than with a Christmas tree?!

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. 

~ an Old Irish Blessing

  1.  (http://www.realchristmastrees.org/dnn/education/historyofchristmastrees.aspx)
  2.  (www.firstChristmastree.net)
  3. (http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/trees.shtml)
  4.  (http://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas-trees)

Holidays and Seasons–Christmas in July!

 

Merry Christmas!

Well almost–there are only 6 months more to go.  But wait–it really is time to celebrate Christmas–in July.

Some may wonder if the retailers have finally succeeded in bringing Christmas earlier and earlier to the point of absolute madness or could there be another reason for all this celebration?

Certainly there is some truth in using Christmas in July to create sales opportunities especially since there are no real holidays after Independence Day and before Labor Day.  Creating a holiday in between is a great way to stir up sales–but retailers aren’t really to blame for starting this second Christmas celebration.

Before we look into its celebration, it is interesting to note that the first known recorded mention of Christmas in July was in the opera, “Werther”, written in 1892.   In the story children practicing a Christmas song were admonished:  “When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season.”  Guess even back then no one really wanted to see Christmas come before its time.

  • The first recollected celebration of Christmas in July happened in 1933 at Camp Keystone, a girl’s summer camp in North Carolina, where it was decided to hold a Christmas party at their camp-out complete with a Christmas tree, presents, and a visit from St. Nick.  In 1935 the National Recreation Association’s magazine wrote “all mystery and wonder surround this annual event”.
  • Of course what better way to popularize something than through the movies?  The next known boost to this holiday was through the 1940 movie “Christmas in July”.
  • Perhaps the most noble early celebration of Christmas in July comes in 1942 at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.  The pastor, following a practice from a former church he had attended in Philadelphia, collected gifts and donations early in order to distribute to missions worldwide in time for Christmas.  Things didn’t move quite as quickly back then as they do now.
  • A Christmas campaign was instituted in July 1944 by the U.S. Post Office and the U.S. Army and Navy in conjunction with the American greeting card and advertising industries.  A luncheon was held in July in New York to encourage early mailing for service men and women stationed overseas to assure the mail would reach them by Christmas.  One must imagine that this most surely lent itself to a frenzy of Christmas shopping in July.  A true retailer’s dream come true.  Is it any wonder then that Christmas in July is something retailers quickly took a liking to?
  • By the 1950s Christmas in July sales were commonplace in the U.S.  It was a great way for the retailers to clear out last season’s merchandise in preparation for the coming season.  Christmas in July was officially here to stay.
  • There remains another Christmas in July origin (also known as Yulefest or Yuletide) which is centered around the thought that countries in the southern hemisphere who have their winter during this month want to celebrate Christmas during the cooler season just like their northern hemisphere counterparts do.  As July is typically the coldest month, social gatherings during the winter easily led to festivities reminiscent of Christmas.  In Australia, Christmas in July has become a big event with stores advertising just as if it were indeed Christmas and people decorating their homes and gathering to celebrate as well.  It is believed to have originated with (or at least promoted by) an Irish group who upon seeing snow in July while visiting Sydney’s Blue Mountains thought it perfect for celebrating Christmas.

Whether or not you like the idea of celebrating Christmas twice–Christmas in July is here to stay.  In the end–a little Christmas taken in its true spirit is something we all could do with having a little more of.

Merry Christmas!

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.  ~ an Old Irish Blessing