It’s the most wonderful time of the year to roast chestnuts on an open fire. New Zealanders have developed their own Christmas traditions under the December sun, but they also long for an excuse to share a mid-year feast with family and friends.
During a typically cold month, a compelling theme might be the trick to fill seats. So, chuck a puffy jacket over your ugly sweater, and bring in merriment and a buzz of activity, because Christmas in July awaits.
Here’s a few tips to help introduce Christmas in July to your venue.
- Embrace the elements: Christmas in July is about providing a winter wonderland experience that Kiwis only see on TV. For diners, the main appeal might be rugging up to a warm fire or heater, watching the rain outside, and having a jolly good time from a toasty location. It doesn’t matter what dish your venue specialises in, the focus should be on warming the belly and the body, and letting everyone know about it.
- Make a thing of it: July can be a bit bleak. There isn’t a single public holiday across the country. Because of this, there’s a chance to carve out new traditions and boost business with a big drawcard. Christmas in July is a really good chance to bring in live music, create a unique dish or menu or offer a special deal that brings people through the doors. If you can, consider turning it into a weekend or a week. Long enough for it to be engaging and profitable, but not too long that it becomes stale.
- Lean into the festivities: For many New Zealanders, this might be their first chance at a winter Christmas. And for those who miss travelling due to COVID-19 restrictions, it might be the closest thing to an oversees holiday. This is an opportunity to bring in large bookings, so organise and go big! Put up a Christmas tree and hang stockings on the mantel, add a tray of cookies, a spiced hot chocolate or a round of eggnogs – if you can – to your menu, and bring Santa in. Whatever traditions you choose to implement, commit to it. If you create a fun environment, people will bring a festive spirit.
- Bring in your own experiences: Everyone has their own Christmas traditions. Be it through fried chicken, tamales or Swedish saffron buns, Christmas in July is the perfect platform to introduce diners to your own cultural practices. People are always seeking authentic experiences, and Christmas in July doesn’t have to be a replica of what others are doing. It’s a chance to show off what you do best.
- You aren’t limited by your venue: Christmas in July is typically embraced by large venues with plenty of space. It’s perfect for pubs, hotels and bistros – especially those capable of serving a long lunch with all the trimmings. But this holiday can be celebrated by any venue. At the end of the day, Christmas in July is whatever you make of it, and the experience can be customised to suit your venue, clientele and sensibilities. Have fun with it!
Disclaimer: This guide is general in nature and does not take into account your individual circumstances. Before acting on any information, you should consider whether this is right for your business.