It has been extremely hot across the country this summer so far. Everyone is wishing for some relief from the heat. Aren’t you? As we think about the fall and winter, with those crisp cool nights we know we can‘t change the season, but we can dream of “Christmas in July!” That is what many people do year after year. It’s an unofficial holiday which refers to a Winter-Christmas-themed celebration held in July.
The specific beginnings of the “Christmas in July” tradition are not very clear, but it is believed to have started in Europe, as a way to celebrate Christmas in the summer. It has been said that a group of Irish tourists who went on vacation to Sydney’s Blue Mountains in the summer months of July in 1980. This may have been the original start of this unofficial holiday. Away from the summer temperatures in their country, they were overjoyed at the sight of snow in the mountains. It is believed that these travelers convinced the owner of a local hotel in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales to hold a party called, “Yulefest.” The idea was an instant hit and now each year in July they hold a Christmas Party. Hence forth “Christmas in July,” became a tradition and continues to this day with a festival and many celebrations.
In the Northern hemisphere there are parties that are given in July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of the holiday but with warmer temperatures. In the midst of the scorching summer months, people have parties which may include Santa Claus, ice cream, and cold foods. In the United States, this festival has become highly commercialized. It is used more often as a marketing tool than as an actual unofficial holiday. Many retail stores offer specials “Christmas in July” sales that started around 1950. Restaurants offer special discounts and even television stations show re-runs of Christmas specials. Hallmark for example, will show Christmas movies all month long. The Home Shopping networks (HSN) and QVC have also included shows that are titled “Christmas in July,” with special sales. This is mainly because most retailers tend to sell overstock of their Christmas items to make room for next year’s inventory, and before the “Back to School” shopping period begins in August.
My readers know that I love anything Christmas! This concept is a wonderful way to spread cheer and have fun in the summer no matter what way you celebrate “Christmas in July.” It is a great way to deal with the heat of the day. My recipe this week gives us the opportunity to celebrate the summer and “Christmas in July” together. It is called a “Raspberry Trifle.” This recipe is adapted from “Taste of Home” magazine. You can make it ahead of time and refrigerate so it is nice and cold, especially for summer parties. Each spoonful is a bit of “Christmas” as you can taste the sweet berries, mixed with a creamy center, and just a touch of chocolate all wrapped in one simple bite. Try to stay cool and remember Christmas is 5 months away from today!
Yield: 12-15 Servings
1 loaf (10-3/4 ounces) frozen pound cake
1-1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup of sugar, divided
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 packages (10 oz each) frozen, raspberries, thawed
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 box of fresh raspberries
3~quart glass trifle bowl
Slice cake into 18-20 slices about 1/2 inches thick, set aside. In a bowl, beat cream with 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, beat cream cheese, lemon juice, vanilla and the remaining sugar. Fold in 2 cups of the whipped cream; set aside for topping. Drain raspberries, reserving juice; set berries aside.
Line the bottom of a 3-quart glass bowl with a third of the cake slices. Drizzle with some of the raspberry juice. Spread with 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture. Sift a 1/4 of the cocoa over the top. Sprinkle with a 1/3 of the berries. Repeat layers twice. Top with the remaining cream cheese mixture, whipped cream, and sifted cocoa. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with fresh raspberries.
I have a “Christmas in July” gift for you…A special cocktail to keep you cool and in the spirit of Christmas….
“Limoncello Raspberry Cocktail”
1/4 cup of Limoncello
2 tablespoons of fresh Raspberries
Combine Prosecco and Limoncello in a small pitcher. Place a spoonful of crushed ice into each, of 2 Champagne glasses and top with raspberries. Pour mixture on the ice and raspberries in the glasses. Serve immediately.
Till Next Time………
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