Nevis celebrated Christmas in July long before Hallmark

 interior christmas. magic glowing tree, fireplace, gifts in  dark
Christmas in July was a special holiday for residents at Pine Beach in Nevis complete with a beautifully trimmed tree and gifts for friends they saw each summer.
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Long before Hallmark Christmas in July movies started, families on Pine Beach in Nevis had their own Christmas in July celebration.

According to the Nevis news section of an old Park Rapids Enterprise (year unknown), it was a chance for families who only saw each other in the summer to make special memories together.

This is their story.

On Saturday evening, July 25, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Goodnight of New Braunfels, Texas entertained at a pre-holiday eggnog party in their summer home at Pine Beach on Lake Belle Taine. The party was inspired by a beautiful Christmas table cloth made by Mrs. Al Thompson, a resident of Pine Beach, who showed it to her friends upon their return to their cottages for the summer. They regretted it was not being used as it should have been at Christmas time. The group planned a series of Christmas in July affairs, the Goodnight party being the first. In true Christmas spirit, the ladies worked separately and in groups for the occasion, a Christmas dinner party at the Al Thompson home on Thursday evening. This included a tree trimming party on Tuesday afternoon and a children’s party on Wednesday evening that allowed the children on Pine Beach a glimpse of the tree. As each guest arrived on Thursday evening, they placed an elaborately wrapped gift under the tree. This afforded them a close look at a beautiful Nativity scene designed and made by Mrs. Goodnight. Dinner was served from an elaborate buffet table decorated with greens, cones and candies. Following dinner, Dr. Robert Murdy of Aberdeen, S. Dak., acting as Santa Claus, distributed the gifts. Children and neighbors of the beach entered into the spirit of the occasion and caroled the group from the roadway and lawn during the evening. Dr. and Mrs. Murdy were hosts at a boxing party at their summer home. Those present at the event in addition to the aforementioned hosts were Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Dietz of Groton, S. Dak. Mr. and Mrs.and Retland of Villasca, Ia., Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Edper of Aberdeen, S.Dak. and Mr. and Mrs. H.B. Hallman of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Mr. and Mrs. Dietz and Mr. and Mrs. Hallman are vacationing at the Murdy summer home. 

The current owner of Pine Beach has no information about this unique celebration.


Anyone who does is invited to send recollections or photos to

A car and a side-by-side burned along with an unsided pole shed Jan. 17 on 269th Avenue.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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