Leon day is a rather new addition to the modern calendar of holidays. Who’s origins are extremely murky, even with hours of research we are left with out someone to tie the first Leon day to or even to a time when the day came to be known as Leon Day. However the actual celebration of the holiday has been pass through the generations dating back to at least the 1800s.
Christmas in July and also Leon Day are both most likely tied to retail chains who have for decades used July to mark the beginning of the Christmas market, often releasing the list of products they will be pushing during the holiday season. Craft companies embraced the tradition by releasing new and updated Christmas themed fabrics in July giving the Clientele time to purchase and build stock of handcrafted decorations in time for Christmas. Christmas in July originally began after July 4th but was ultimately pushed back to June 25 as it is the 6 month mark for Christmas.
Christmas in July
The act of celebrating Christmas in July can be traced back to 1892 with Werther, a French opera written by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet, and Georges Hartmann, the story is based around a group of children who are rehearsing a Christmas song in July, to which a character responds: “When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season.” It is a translation of the French: “vous chantez Noël en juillet… c’est s’y prendre à l’avance.” This opera is based on Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther. Christmas features in the book, but July does not.
in 1940 writer and director Preston Sturges brought Christmas in July to the forefront of national attention with his comedy film of the same name. The story revolves around a man named Jimmy MacDonald (Dick Powell), who is fooled into believing he has won $25,000 in an advertising slogan contest for Maxford House coffee Co. He buys presents for family, friends, and neighbors, and proposes marriage to his girlfriend.
in November of 1979 the true legends of Children’s Christmas released Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July Holiday Special. This was the last Rankin/Bass special to star Billie Mae Richards as Rudolph and Jackie Vernon as Frosty. The story; long ago Lady Borealis placed the evil Winterbolt under a magic spell, and put the last of her magic into the nose of a newborn reindeer: Rudolph. But now Winterbolt’s awake. He gives Frosty’s family magic amulets to keep them from melting until the Fourth of July so that Frosty and Rudolph can help Lilly’s circus and Milton can marry his girlfriend on the high-wire, and Santa will use his sleigh to make sure everybody gets back to the North Pole in time…which leaves Winterbolt alone at the North Pole on the Fourth.
Leon day captured more wide spread appreciation with the advent of Social Media, where groups of Christmas enthusiasts began to form and swap ideas and traditions. But we can’t go very far into this with out once again looking to companies who want to cash in on the mid-year Christmas spirit
Hallmark, the same company who is responsible for inventing wrapping paper over 100 years ago has a long history of cashing in on Christmas. Its only natural that they would be one of the first to jump on board for the mid-year celebration. It was recently announced that the 2019 Hallmark’s Christmas in July would begin on July 12th and run until the end of the month, airing dozens of their much beloved(?) Christmas movies and even sneaking in a few new ones to premiere.
Many radio stations across the country will take part in at least part of Leon day or Christmas in July celebrations by airing some Christmas Classics mixed in with their regular music selection.
Leon around the world
Leon Day has gained in popularity in places south of the equator where it is currently the middle of winter. Christmas for people in Australia and New Zealand always features hot weather and beach celebrations. Leon Day allows them to celebrate Christmas with traditional snowmen, sleighs and frosty decorations so commonly associated with Christmas imagery. For us in north of the equator we get to experience Christmas in the heat of the summer some even go so far as to put up Christmas trees or to have Christmas themed water fights to beat the heat.
Happy Leon Day, to you!