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July 05, 2023

Celebrate Christmas in July in Philly with skating, feasts and Santa sightings

Take a reprieve from the sweltering heat this month with winter-themed activities throughout the region

Holidays Christmas
Christmas in July Provided Image/Center City District

Celebrate Christmas in July in the Philadelphia region by rollerskating with Santa at the Rothman Orthopaedic Roller Rink, enjoying specialty holiday feasts at River Twice and snapping photos with Santa at the Philadelphia Zoo.

In the midst of brutal heat, some Philadelphians may need a reminder of cooler weather ahead. Luckily, Christmas in July is underway with plenty of activities to get residents into the spirit of the holiday season. 

While the origins of the summer Christmas celebration remain shrouded in mystery, one of the first known celebrations of Christmas in July occured at North Carolina's Keystone Camp in 1933, when founder Fannie Holt put up a giant Christmas tree to celebrate the holiday in the middle of a balmy summer, Vox reported.

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More modern festivities tend to involve mid-year retail sales, Christmas carols on the radio and holiday movies streaming all month long. In Philly, Christmas in July is typically celebrated each summer with concerts, early holiday shopping and lots of Santa sightings. 

For those looking to get into the holiday spirit even as temperatures reach record highs, check out this list of Christmas in July events happening throughout the region. 

Go rollerskating with Santa at Dilworth Park

Rothman Orthopaedics Roller Rink will celebrate Christmas in July on Saturday, July 8 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. A sun-kissed Santa will skate alongside Dilworth Park visitors and stop for photos. Guests can wear holiday t-shirts while making crafts and enjoying cranberry lime sangria, roast turkey sandwiches and gingersnap cookies. 

Watch a holiday-themed concert from Opera Philadelphia

On Thursday, July 13, Opera Philadelphia will perform a free outdoor Christmas in July concert at Jack Curtis Stadium in Pennsauken's Cooper River Park. The family-friendly opera, "Amahl and the Night Visitors," will run from 8-9:30 p.m., though performers are also expected to play some holiday songs. Visitors should bring their own chairs and blankets. 

Take photos with Santa at the Philadelphia Zoo

After making a pit stop at Dilworth Park, Santa is heading to the Philadelphia Zoo from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 22-23 to spend time with his favorite animals and take photos with zoo wanderers. Christmas in July is free with regular zoo admission. 

Shop for early holiday gifts at Human Robot Brewery

Human Robot Brewery's Jenkintown location is hosting a Christmas in July Sip & Shop on Wednesday, July 12 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Guests can shop for holiday gifts from 15 craft and artisan vendors while enjoying 25% off wings and discounts on Human Robot beers. Visitors may even catch a glimpse of Santa walking around in summer attire and munching on a schnitzel sandwich. 

Sip festive beers and earn prizes for costumes at Victory Brewing Co.

Victory Brewing Co.'s Philadelphia taproom is celebrating Christmas in July from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Friday, July 7 through Sunday, July 9. Guests can enjoy Victory's holiday brew, Merry Monkey, for $5 a glass while enjoying brunch and photo opportunities with a summer Santa. There will also be a best-dressed contest and a present-unwrapping competition. 

Indulge in holiday feasts from Philly chefs at River Twice

River Twice in East Passyunk is hosting a Christmas dinner series featuring several big-name Philly chefs. Tickets are $150-$175 a night and reservations are open now. The schedule includes Alex Talbot from Curiosity Doughnuts on July 18, Kevin McWilliams from Laurel on July 19, Alexandra Holt from Roxanne on July 20, Chutatip "Nok" Suntaranon from Kalaya on July 21 and Alex Kemp Roussy from My Loup on July 22.