It’s Christmas in July!

Phyllis Lifestyle 34 Comments

The very thought of that makes me tremble, but the reality of magazine publishing is that Christmas is celebrated year-round. Here at Hoffman Media, we are finishing the Christmas covers of our magazines…in July. And what’s more, we are writing all these wonderful articles and taking fabulous photos of Christmas scenes and settings, finalizing the season’s offerings.

Most of our editorial work is shot during the prior season, especially if it involves an outdoor scene or a major Christmas tree indoors, but the finishing touches are being completed right now. The hardest part of Christmas planning is predicting the trends and décor that will be in fashion. Most of the time, the traditional colors and themes still reign supreme, but the newer items have to be sourced in the current season so we can give our readers the information to find them.

I start planning my Christmas in July and so do many other people. My mother is already making her beautiful handmade ornaments that she crafts ever-so-carefully. They are beautiful. This year she is doing felt birds with sequins and trims. I love them. She also paints blue and white ornaments for me. Yes, I know you are thinking, “More blue and white?” Yes, and especially at Christmas! It is the perfect complement to red.

My husband and I collect firemen nutcrackers in honor of his career, but they are hard to find. If you find any that are really wonderful, please let me know. I am dreaming of…Christmas in July.

How early do you start your Christmas shopping and planning?


Shop our Christmas in July sale!

Comments 34

  1. Hello, Phyllis! I start planning for Christmas in March. My home doubles as a house museum on weekends from Memorial Day weekend through the end of the year, and it is crucial that the planning starts in March. Several theme trees are chosen, then during the warmer months, ornaments, decorations and such are gathered and tagged, to be retrieved the day after Thanksgiving. (Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and the rule is, no Christmas decorations are up until the day after Thanksgiving!) This year, five theme trees will be decorated (most will be table top trees). A tradition here at The Cottage is to somehow incorporate the White House theme somewhere, whether it be an entire tree, or the decorations on the Fretwork between the Entry and Parlor. Therefore, I have to think on my toes when the theme is announced! And, I host a tea party right after the last tour on Sundays, and it is fast becoming a local tradition. Many recipes come from your magazines and books! I enjoy your Christmas publications and look forward to many more. Thank you, Phyllis, for making my world a little more beautiful than it was before!

  2. Phyllis,
    I begin my Christmas Decor mid~October on the years that we host Christmas On Crooked Creektt.
    However, my husband and I have a Fall Booth for our gift and home decor business
    made from repurposed and handmade merchandise and that began early in June.
    Shopping is usually completed in September. I have an extreme allergic reaction to
    cinnamon and evergreens and must avoid those retail stores that are strongly scented.
    Looking forward to the upcoming Christmas Season. . .as Christmas is my favorite Holiday.
    The floral arrangement in the silver compote is exquisite, dear one!!! Inspirational!

  3. In our family Advent is the lead time to prepare for Christmas by fasting and preparing baking for Christmas. It is the birth of the Christ Child and the celebration of the Mass…thus the name Christ Mass nea Christmas. We ready the French meat pies a tradion in our family and when the family was at home our youngest daughter was born on Christmas. It became special for her as she celebrated the same birthday as Baby Jesus and because of this she had the privlege of placing Baby Jesus in his crib on Christmas morning as you see it can not be earlier as He was not yet born.

    Enjoy your posts and last evening finally purchased the Cottage Bliss magazine I have eyed for several weeks. Thank you for the beauty of these special issues.

  4. I have begun making Christmas items for my website….it seems once the end of July comes along it’s a mad dash to prepare for all that Christmas entails. I truly love the season of hope and all it’s beauty. I look so forward to all the publications of Victoria’s Christmas issues.

  5. Writers, merchants, etc. also have to plan way ahead. But as a consumer, I’m not into but one season at a time, I guess. Just not in the mood for Christmas yet. It has been so cool here this year, we are just starting to get into summer. My daughter loves to watch “cold movies” like “Dr. Zhivago” , to cool off in hot weather. I think it was the Hallmark Channel, that has been having so man Christmas in July movies. Haven’t watched any of them, although I often watch those channels. Just not in the mood. Save it for Christmas. I guess they will have Spring Break movies at Christmas! 🙂
    I am one of those people who like to shop on Christmas Eve l Like all the people out, bustling around, music, and great sales!
    But I don’t drive anymore. And our family has about died out and those left don’t want to do much. My daughter does all the shopping, buys for her older sons. She decorates with her decorations, and my things are all stored away. (My daughter and her boys live with me. And I just have one sister who comes for Christmas dinner. We used to have our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve because the family had stores and stayed open late. The we had Christmas dinner on Christmas Day. Lots of family and only two children, my sister and me!)
    My daughter buys what she wants for a present, and I pay for it. She buys the boys their gifts. My sister is so hard to buy for. If she wants something, she buys it herself. One year, before my vision “went”, I painted a t-shirt with a picture of our great-grandparents’ Victorian home on it. First think I have ever given her that I think she liked. But she said it is too nice to wear!
    Last year my daughter decided that we were not going to do presents, just have Christmas dinner, because my sister is so hard to buy for, and she doesn’t know what to get us, either! We ended up with my daughter buying lot of presents. We had already found a Paula Deen pan to give my sister. So, on Christmas Day, my s sister came, and my daughter had tons of gifts for the boys,
    My sister came in with little flashlights for each of us, stocking stuffers! She said she thought that we weren’t exchanging gifts! Well, the food my daughter cooked was good!
    We had a lot of holiday birthdays in our family. My uncle was Dec. 15, his sister was Dec. 19, one grandson is Dec. 20, another aunt was Oct. 18, my daughter, Oct. 20, , my birthday was Jan. 2. I never had to go to school, or teach! on my birthday. It was always a school holiday! 🙂 My dad was January 8. My mother, Feb 11. Grandfather was March 17, his sister, March 19.
    We would have family dinners together. And each would have their favorite dishes. Parties for us when we wee kids. Even despite late Depression and War years. Holidays and Sundays were big family days.
    Now I’m focused on what to get for my sister for her birthday, Aug. 1 ! She doesn’t live nearby, so I don’t see her except for holidays, and that is for a very short visit. Art supplies are usually good, but she buys what she wants! Since I can’t see very well, I may give her some of my smaller canvases and miniature frames, etc. She likes to work tiny and I need a whole wall! 🙂
    I’ve noticed a lot of stores and organizations are having “Christmas in July” this year. Too early for me! I’m thinking ice cream and watermelon, swimming pools and air conditioning!
    I can’t read normal print anymore, but I wish I could read all the pretty magazines, cards, etc. I can see some tings by enlarging to 1,000%, in simple, black, bold print. Which means online or enlarging on the computer. I’m sure that I am not alone since a lot of people seem to have this same problem., AMD and related eye problems.

  6. I look forward each year to the new Christmas issue ! It is Christmas again and again as I have all previously published Victoria’s from years past . Each one is a gift !
    As for the “fireman nutcrackers” …
    Try “The Christmas Haus” in New Oxford , Pa . I saw a fireman on their website…
    Several years ago , I bought a German nutcracker @ the annual
    “Kutztown Folk Festival” in Pa , but I cannot remember the name of the vendor. You may want to call or check their list of vendors past .
    Good luck in your search .
    You could always take a trip to Germany ! For certain , you would be in ” nutcracker heaven ” !!!
    Finally – my wish is to have “Victoria” come to my home monthly . Will this ever be a possibility ??? I can only hope and pray …

  7. Funny this note came today as yesterday the treasure of a talented young decorator who helps me in decorating my home for Christmas called and we put the decorating date on the calendar. Years ago I found my holiday decorating needing a fresh eye to work with some old things and help me incorporate some new. Refreshing for my things easier for me and great for my friends as I can concentrate on food and invitations. And with all my Victorias all bundled together for inspiration I thank you and your staff for your wonderful creative ideas. Your people are out here waiting.

  8. Someone gave me a New Christmas Tree, because they were moving, Why not think Christmas in July. I like the idea of using red roses,something total different.

  9. I haven’t completed the summer edition of Cottage Journal but I am already peeking at the fall edition. My husband was a firefighter as well and I look anywhere we visit for decorations. He needs his own tree just dedicated to firefighters. He has all the clothtique ones. They are also hard to find. I am always on the lookout wherever I for something that others collect. You just never know so keep an open mind!

  10. You are spot on! I always start planning & shopping in July. When Dec arrives, I am ready and stress free.

  11. I was born on December 18th and my son was born on Christmas Eve. I have loved Christmas and having a Christmas birthday my whole life. Actually, right about now is when my mind starts to anticipate the cooler months and the Christmas season. I start making lists (some mental, some actual) and plan what I want to accomplish (decoratively, spiritually and socially) this Christmas season. As my children are now older and no longer mail wish lists to Santa, we decided we would rather make great memories as a family than try to fill the space under the tree. I fill their stockings with lots of little surprises and then the “big” gifts are theatre tickets for the whole family to enjoy Broadway shows during Christmas break. It’s a new approach that has brought us a lot of joy while still having the Christmas morning surprise with the stockings. And what could be better than New York at Christmastime? I put aside money all year so that when we decide what shows we want to see, I’m not racking up the credit cards. With the gifts easily bought, we as a family enjoy the season decorating, baking, listening to Christmas carols, gathering with friends and seeing local Christmas-themed theatre (in which my children are usually performing). It’s a season of joy that I eagerly anticipate each year and it’s never too soon to start thinking or planning for Christmas!

  12. Just love hearing all about Christmas in July. I too am a fan of the longer Christmas lasts the better. Throughout the year I buy Christmas gifts for friends and family whenever I see something unique and special but some times i forget where I’ve hidden them! I also love looking through my scrapbook filled with Christmas recipes and ideas for decorating. I have also kept many past issues of Victoria magazine…they are timeless
    and always serve as inspiration. I love going to the year round Christmas shops,especially the one in Cape May New Jersey and another one in Niagara on the Lake,Ontario,Canada. This year my friend already got us tickets for the Donny and Marie Christmas show…only 5 months to go!! Just this morning I heard “Ave Maria” on the radio and I thought to myself can’t wait for Christmas!

    1. When you buy a special gift for Christmas, enter on your calendar in December where you put it. I lost some ornaments for 3 years and decided I would use this method so I wouldn’t loose anything again. Works for birthdays as well. Just enter it on their month or put it in the back of the calendar book.

  13. Margaret
    I usually start my Christmas shopping at the Craftman’s Classic Craft Show which is the first full week-end in August every year. This somewhat high end show with wonderful one of a kind gifts for every budget.
    I cherish all of my Southern Lady magazines but if the truth be known the Special Edition Christmas issue id my all time favorite. Thank you for continually delivering a 1st class product.

  14. I usually start buying in January if I see something I know a certain someone would like. I try to buy for my grandchildren throughout the year, but it is getting harder as they get older. Their tastes change more rapidly especially with what action figure or Princess is popular. I start knitting in the winter or March if I know what I’m making for someone. Every year I start or try to start making my Christmas cards and Thank You’s in September. I have to start this earlier as it runs into the Thanksgiving cards. I wish Christmas in America stretched out longer like in some European countries. There is so much to do, see, experience; never mind all the crafting, buying, menu planning and parties, teas. Every year I say I’m starting earlier.

  15. Christmas is a frame of mind that I try to keep all year so I do have 2 gifts purchased already – if you see it – get it. I will start my crocheting next week. When we moved to North Carolina, I was so overwhelmed by the Fall beauty, I decided to send out Thanksgiving cards and that gave everyone on my list our new address. I have kept that tradition and admit to feeling a bit smug when everyone else is scrambling in mid December to get their cards out along with everything else. It also takes a little of the ‘commercial’ out of the holiday.

    1. Hi Lin…any ideas as to how I can get myself going on christmas crafts. I always start too late and there are so many other things occupying my time in the fall. I have the ideas but need the inspiration to just “do it”.

      1. Hi Roma,
        I understand! It gives me the willies to see holiday crafts when we are still dealing with humidity. I do the count down backwards. When does it have to be done to mail or wrap or give, and how long will it take. What else am I doing in that time frame? This year, I plan on crocheting a Christmas blanket for each of my two daughters and I will give it to them at Thanksgiving, so that really changes my schedule. But really, I don’t plan to be doing crafts in December. I save that for all the things I didn’t get done on time 😉
        Also, I like to crochet on airplanes, but blankets are too big, so I will save the sweater for my grandson for my Oct. flights. Once you see the whole picture, you almost panic and get things going!
        Have fun

  16. Have been following Ribbon in my Journal ever since you started it. I absolutely love it as well as your magazines! Everything you do is done with such grace and beauty and just strikes a cord within me. Not only that, but I love reading the comments made by your bloggers and get a lot of good tips from them, too. Just like your magazines, The Ribbon in my Journal has become a “Keeper”. Thanks for sharing!!!

  17. I start buying whenever I find a gift.Three have been bought so far this year.I did a blue display on an old chest of drawers on year and I put blue in the triangle of my corner hutch.Christmas does not have to end in December.My albumns bring joy when I see pictures of relatives who are in heaven and remember Christmases past.Your magazines are fabulas.

  18. I start thinking about it early in the year-when the snow is still around, then August comes around and I send out Christmas list requests. Some think it’s way too early but it’s so much nicer to enjoy the season without the shopping issues.

  19. Well, I make lists when the idea comes into my head, but I really don’t begin thinking seriously about Christmas until after Labor Day. It seems to make my summer more enjoyable to not plan ahead too far; to simply enjoy the moments. But — of course —- I don’t publish a magazine. 🙂

  20. I love all the holiday magazines as they pop up in the stores. Hallmark recently ran a week long marathon of holiday shows and I found myself getting in the spirit oh so early.

    Several years ago my family decided to take a different approach about gifting. With five sibs and I can’t even remember how many nieces and nephews any more because the “great” are now out numbering them…we all pick a charity to support and no gift giving.
    Getting together is more about connecting as family…especially with so many of our children starting their own little families or off to college and not being able to always be together like we were when they were young. It has been a huge hit. As for friends…we have a no gift rule too. We do however make a point of catching up for lunch or dinner in December and find the presence of our time is more lasting. I will admit once in a while I show up with a bag of my homemade caramels:)

  21. Phyllis, your magazines never disappoint! I especially anticipate fall and Christmas magazines. Even in the sweltering heat of July, I also start planning for Christmas. Blue is my complimentary color for Christmas too. Can’t wait for the most wonderful time of the year! Thank you for all you and your team do to bring joy to our world!

  22. I shop all year….starting with the after Christmas sales on 12/26 the year prior. I buy for the same people, know what they like, and this way I’m spending a little all year rather than a huge amount in Dec. Has always worked for me. The trick is KEEP A LIST so you don’t buy a million gifts for the same person.

  23. In July, of course — especially if I’m crocheting or doing needlework for people. Makes my husband crazy. Also, all of the magazines are starting their fall covers — the pumpkins are out!!! Working on Halloween needlework and looking for wreaths for the door!

  24. Much the same with Church choir directors! I am working hard on my adult and kids’ choir Christmas presentations!

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