Ho ho how to celebrate Christmas in July

10 Great ways to ring in ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ during Cape Town’s winter 

Do you cherish the Christmas season? Then why not celebrate it twice a year!

Christmas in July is the Southern Hemisphere’s mid-year chance to observe all of the wintry Yuletide traditions that come with the merry December holiday.  

Cape Town has taken the occasion to heart, with many of the its restaurants, wine farms and even surrounding towns hosting festive occasions jam-packed with everything from tinsel to eggnog. And to help you make the most of the upcoming 25th of July, we’ve scoured the city for Christmas-y events as well as given you some top tips on how to deck the halls at home.  Tra la la laa!

1. Christmas in July Festival in Tulbagh
The folks from the quaint town of Tulbagh turn their dorp into a winter wonderland from Saturday, 28 to Sunday, 29 June 2014. The family-friendly affair promises a host of festive fun, including Yuletide-inspired eats and warming drinks, a craft market, art and photographic exhibitions, cheese and chocolate tastings and a live music concert. And of course, there’ll be plenty to keep the young tykes happy as elves: think pony rides, a jumping castle and an appearance from Santa himself. We guarantee that you’ll have yourself a merry little Christmas at the 2014 Tulbagh Christmas in Winter Festival

2. A Starry Night at Stardust
From Monday, 21 to Thursday, 24 July 2014 this restaurant-cum-dinner theatre is serving up a three-course Xmas feast. Patrons will be delighted not only by the mouth-watering menu (think prawn avo ritz martini, roast beef, stuffed turkey and Xmas pudding) but by the talented troupe of singing waiters. If a silent night is what you had in mind, then this isn’t for you – expect to be dancing on the tables by the end of the evening.
118 Sir Lowry Road | Woodstock | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 462 7777

3. Dinner Dance at Nitida
Make your way to Nitida Wine Farm on Friday, 25 July 2014 for a merry meal and more. The winery’s Cassia Restaurant will be serving up a three-course menu – and in the spirit of giving, proceeds go the Iris House Children’s Hospice. The feast includes includes a choice of two starters and two mains followed by a delicious dessert (hint: a twice-baked camembert soufflé, roast turkey with chestnut, cinnamon and orange stuffing and a sticky toffee pudding are on the cards). What’s more, there’ll be giveaways, a raffle and an auction on the go. Stave off the winter cold with some dancing or else warm up by a crackling hearth in the estate’s beautiful Saffron Room. Tickets cost R275p/p and include a welcome drink, three-course meal, a goodie bag, Nitida wine, lucky draw and raffle ticket. The evening starts at 7pm.
Nitida Wine Farm | Tyger Valley Road | Durbanville | + 27 (0) 21 559 0800

4. Dinner at Peddlars on the Bend
The classic pub-and-grub spot Peddlars on the Bend is encouraging locals to embrace the holiday spirit of giving and join its team at a mid-year Christmas dinner on Friday, 25 July 2014 in support of SARDA, an organisation that offers therapeutic and recreational horse riding for disabled people. For just R189p/p, guests can feast on a three-course buffet, which includes all the Noel-themed favourites: glazed gammon, stuffed turkey and gravy, roast potatoes and seasonal veg. There are even some choice options for vegetarians, like spinach and ricotta cannelloni for a main. For sweet lovers the dessert offering promises trifle, brandy pudding with custard and mince pies. The affair starts at 6:30pm.
13 Spaanschemat River Road | Constantia | +27 (0) 21 794 7747

5. Wine Dinner at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa
On Friday, 25 July 2014 Azure Restaurant at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa is presenting an exquisite food and wine pairing. While the evening doesn’t promise a Christmas theme, we’re sure that the gourmet fare and gorgeous vino will leave you feeling sufficiently cheery. Foodies are invited to come quell the winter blues with a four-course meal prepared by expert chef Christo Pretorius and the superb wines of Villiera. The evening costs R545p/p, including the meal, paired wines, still and sparkling water and gratuity.
Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa | Victoria Road | Camps Bay | +27 (0) 21 437 9029

6. Winter Wonderland Festival in Gordon’s Bay
The seaside town of Gordon’s Bay, located just 50 minutes outside of the Mother City, hosts its magical annual winter festival once again this year, from Friday, 27 June to  Sunday, 21 July 2014. The charming event calls on local establishments to dress in fairy lights and offer up delicious eats and family-friendly activities designed to get even the Scroogiest of Scrooges in the festive mood. Visitors shouldn’t miss the Carnival Weekend, a fiesta that promises street parades, fun fairs, live music and more from Friday, 4 to Sunday, 6 July. Guests can also expect wine tastings, fine fare, three different markets, a beer tent (which will also be serving glühwein) and plenty of activities for the little ones for the duration of the festival. While there’s no charge involved in attending the merry affair, certain activities do carry a price.

7. Wine Tasting at Pepperclub Hotel & Spa
Every Thursday, between 3 and 31 July, the Pepperclub Hotel & Spa is presenting a complimentary, Christmas-ified wine tasting. The intimate evening will be held at the hotel’s chic Paparazzi Bar & Lounge and promises wines from some of the Cape’s finest wineries (Steenberg, Groot Constantia and Saltare Wines are on the cards) and some Xmas-inspired snacks. Forget the snow; this event will have you dreaming of a wine Christmas. The tastings run from 5:30pm ‘til 7:30pm. No bookings are required.
Corner Pepper and Loop streets | City Centre | +27 (0) 21 812 8888

TIPS FOR HOSTING YOUR OWN XMAS IN JULY PARTY

8. Decorate Your Home
For those intending on going the whole hog in July, there’s always the possibility of dusting off the fake tree from last year (if you have one) and stringing it with twinkly lights and tinsel. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there are plenty of other solutions. Christmas stockings can be hung up by the fireplace or over a bedpost, and alternatively, knitting a Xmas stocking or embellishing an existing one with ribbons is a great way to get the family fired up for your Christmas party. You could also string up ornaments from the ceiling or place them strategically around the home. And if all else fails, simply hang up some fairy lights – they instantly make any space more cosy and festive.

9. Secret Santa
A much as you may deny it, part of the Christmas thrill is definitely unwrapping your way through a mound of gifts. Okay, so maybe a heap isn’t in keeping with the mini Christmas – but that’s where Secret Santa comes in. The game calls on the host to place the names of prospective guests in a hat, and then each guest draws a name (alternatively one person can take the responsibility of assigning names). Party attendees must purchase gifts for the person whose name they’ve drawn without letting on who they’re purchasing for. It’s best to set a price limit to avoid any awkward gift-giving. Then it’s simply a matter of receiving and trying to guess who gifted which present!

10. Sip on Something Festive
Why not whip up a batch of something tasty? For the traditional at heart, we suggest opting for the classic Yuletide drink eggnog. Alternatively, whip up a pot of glühwein – this hot, spicy drink is sure to keep your guests in good spirits.

Bu Georgina Selander

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