The popular term is one of those classic bits of humor where two opposing facts stand side-by-side, and together form a humorous whole. Christmas in July? Huh? Wikipedia tells us that the term first came into popularity with the release of the Hollywood movie of that title, released in 1940.
In the story, a man is fooled into believing he has won $25,000 in an advertising slogan contest. He buys presents for family, friends, and neighbors, and proposes marriage to his girlfriend. Hopefully, the story had a happy ending. We’ll have to look it up.
Fast forward to now. And by now, hopefully many of you are aware that this year, 2019, will indeed bring a form of Christmas in July to our neck of the woods in Vermont.
Because … this is the year we celebrate our 50th anniversary of the store’s founding. In this age of retailing, where the terms “traditional retail,” “bricks-and-mortar stores” and “online commerce” seem to merge seemlessly and not always happily, that’s some kind of accomplishment for a small family-owned and operated gift shop business.
So we’ve been going back through the archives and found one interesting gem – Vol. 1, No. 1 of the Christmas Chronicle, a newsletter we published for a few years back in the early to mid-1990s. It brought back a flood of memories, from when Linda and I first took over the shop from her parents, Vi and Bill Day, in 1987.
In it, we told the story of the opening of the shop in July, 1969, right after a heat wave made thoughts of a Christmas shop seem a little — irrational? But it was the Age of Aquarius, with Woodstock only six or so weeks away, and Neil Armstrong about to land on the moon, so anything was possible.
The shop – then known as Christmas Dove and part of a semi-partnership of sorts with another group of owners – was located up on the north side of Manchester inside rented quarters and shared with another gift shop known as The Enchanted Dollhouse, now long gone. Three years later, the Days moved the business to its present location in Sunderland where we’ve been ever since.
So this July Christmas will be celebrated again in the Northshire of Bennington County, and plans are under development. Perhaps we can have some sort of reunion of old friends, suppliers and customers. But if your travel plans have you coming up this way around then, you should plan to drop by for what’s guaranteed to be the best Christmas in July ever. Maybe we’ll even make a movie out of it.