Deck the halls
Andrea Smith perspex owl decorations in red and white, $10 each; and wooden owl decoration, $15.
Poplar plywood Christmas trees, from $74.95. Buy it here.
Eco plywood wreath, $119.95. Buy it here.

Merry Christmas (in July!)

Isn’t Christmas magical? Cosying up next to the fire with a mug of mulled wine and freshly baked shortbread biscuits while snow gently falls outside… Of course, Christmas in Australia is quite a different story. The soaring summer temperatures make this rosy picture enough to make you break into a sweat – literally! But why should we miss out on the fun of a ‘traditional’ Chrissy? With the cooler months upon us, now is the perfect time to don that reindeer jumper your aunt from England sent you and throw a Christmas in July party.

The great thing about Christmas in July is that you can make it what you like. Free from the family obligations of the December celebration, it’s a much more relaxed, anything-goes affair with the opportunity to start your own traditions. hardtofind. site editor Alison celebrates Christmas in July with a huge pot-luck dinner with 30 of her nearest and dearest, whereas creative director Natasha prefers a more intimate affair with just a few friends and presents for the kids.

Whichever way you decide to go, here are some of our tips on how to throw a great Christmas in July celebration:


  • Give the Christmas decorations a second outing! If you don’t have a tree, hanging ornaments from a few dried branches can make a lovely table centrepiece.
  • Christmas warehouses are a great source of discount crackers, but if you don’t have any in your area, make your own and fill them with small gifts such as stationery items.
  • Can’t be bothered pulling out all the fairy lights and baubles? Try a wall decal to add a festive touch. Best of all, they’re reusable, so you can take them down after dinner, ready to use again in December.
1. Anne Black porcelain ‘snowflake’ heart, $25; 2. ‘star’ 3D Nordic Christmas ornament, $8.95; 3. small wooden Christmas decorations (pack of 6), $41.60; 4. Christmas-themed Japanese washi tapes (set of 5), $19.95; 5. oversized acrylic decoration, $25.16; 6. eco hemp dyed decorations, $9 each. Shop the collection.

Gifts and garb

  • Kris Kringle has a lovely informality about it that perfectly suits the Christmas in July spirit.
  • Or instead of presents, exchange cards with friends – the cheekier the better!
  • Rug up! Embrace the cold and wear your favourite scarf, gloves, beanie or jumper – it’s a special occasion after all.
Naughty or nice?
‘Naughty or nice’ gold-foil cards with gold-lined envelopes (set of 10), $40. Buy them here.
Tea towel
Christmas rules tea towel, $20.95. Buy it here.


  • In this weather, is there any better place to be than the kitchen? Indulge in duck fat potatoes, glazed ham and a roast with all the trimmings.
  • Get into the ‘spirit’ with some eggnog and mulled wine. Well, it is Christmas!
  • Don’t forget a sweet finish. Lyndey Milan shares this easy recipe for brown sugar shortbread stars which are perfect with a cup of hot cocoa (they make a great gift, too!).

shortbread stars
Lyndey Milan’s brown sugar shortbread stars. Recipe Lyndey Milan, Photography Steve Brown, Styling David Morgan.


Brown sugar shortbread stars

Makes 40
Preparation 20 mins (plus 1hr chilling time). Cooking 10 mins

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⁄4 cup (60g) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1∕3 cup (75g) caster sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 cups (300g) plain flour
  • 1⁄4 cup (40g) rice flour
  • 1–2 tbs demerara sugar


1 Using an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, caster sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the flours and beat on low speed until just combined.

2 Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and gently knead each until smooth. Form each portion into a 10cm-diameter log (or one slightly larger than your cutter). Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and roll gently into a cylinder. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

3 Preheat the oven to 170C (150C fan-forced). Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

4 Cut logs widthwise into 5mm slices, then cut slices into star shapes using a star cutter. Place on prepared baking trays. Sprinkle with demerara sugar.

5 Bake for 10–15 minutes or until just firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (they will firm up more on cooling). Biscuits will keep, refrigerated for 2 weeks.

Christmas cheer plate, $24.99. Buy it here.

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