salmon fajitas recipe
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You don’t have to pull out all the stops to celebrate Christmas in July; a few festive recipes will do the trick, and these fit the holiday theme while being perfect for a sweltering summer day.

It’s late July and a lot of us are just plain sick of summer. Just one step into the scorching humidity and we instantly melt into gross puddles of sweat. Of course, a lot of us aren’t going out anyway. It might feel like there’s not much to celebrate, but blasting the air conditioner and pretending it’s Christmas might be just the thing you need to raise your spirits.

The farmers markets may not be boasting a bounty of cranberries or chestnuts yet, and you probably definitely don’t feel like roasting a turkey, but trust us, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate winter flavors, Christmas colors, and general holiday spirit into your summer kitchen. So get ready to deck the palm trees with tinsel and blast some Mariah as you cook up a storm (or don’t!) and beat the heat with these oh-so-cool holiday treats.


Frozen Hot Chocolate

You don’t have to go to New York’s Serendipity to get your hands on this famous drink. Plus, it’s way more affordable to make it yourself. The bev is rich, creamy, and evocative of cozy December nights, yet it’s still chill enough to chase away the summertime sweats. Get the Frozen Hot Chocolate recipe.

Piña Colada

Classic Piña Colada

Bochkarev Photography/Shutterstock

A piña colada is a summer no-brainer, but its snowy white color also fits into the festive theme’s color scheme. Garnish with a green pineapple leaf and a bright red maraschino cherry and the holiday allusion is complete. Get our Piña Colada recipe.

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Slushy Cherry Old Fashioned

slushy cherry Old Fashioned frozen cocktail


This is as red as Santa’s suit but features one of summer’s best fruits. It’s wonderfully slushy too, which obviously evokes winter but also cools you down when the snowy season is far, far away. Garnish with a fresh cherry on its stem for the requisite touch of green! Get our Slushy Cherry Old Fashioned recipe.

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Main Dishes

Grilled Turkey and Ham

smoked turkey recipe (smoking tips)


Sure, an oven-roasted turkey is the holiday entree of choice, but you can give it a summer-y twist by throwing it on the grill. We swear this is a real thing you can do and not a made-up concept we invented to excuse us from ever eating hot dogs again. Get our Smoked Turkey recipe. If you have a gas grill, the fine folks at Butterball have you covered. Either way, you can gobble down on this Thanksgiving bird all throughout the year. If you prefer pork, get this Grilled Ham recipe.

Mozzarella and Basil Grilled Pizza

grilled pizza recipe


If you need to keep it meatless, grill pizza! Load it up with red tomatoes, green basil, and white mozzarella cheese and, yes, you have the colors of the Italian flag, but also those of Christmas! Get our Mozzarella and Basil Grilled Pizza recipe.

Salmon Fajitas

salmon fajitas recipe


One more meaty option (though it’s easily made vegetarian too): fajitas. Red and green bell peppers, snowdrifts of crumbed cotija cheese, and plenty of verdant avocado and fiery hot sauce, plus the meat, meatless protein, or other veggies of your choice—all easily prepared on the grill if there’s no way you’re turning your oven on (though if you do, everything can cook on the same sheet pan). Get our Salmon Fajitas recipe.


easy watermelon gazpacho recipe


If cooking is completely off the table (gotta keep cool in the kitchen, after all), you can always blend up a batch of gazpacho—better yet, two, to fulfill the red-and-green color requirements. Get our Cucumber and Green Grape Gazpacho recipe and pair it with our Tomato Gazpacho recipe. Or make our Watermelon Gazpacho recipe with the basil oil and cucumber garnish and you get both shades in one bowl.


Heirloom Tomato Salad

herbed heirloom tomato salad


When heirloom tomatoes are in season—that’s right now—you can usually find a bold and beautiful mix of colors including, you guessed it, red and green. It’s an easy way to pay homage to the holiday theme while eating super seasonally. Get our Heirloom Tomato Salad recipe.

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

grilled steak with green bean and tomato salad


Summer produce in general is bright and fresh, often in color as well as flavor. This green bean and cherry tomato salad is on-point for a Christmas in July celebration, or any given picnic, potluck, or BBQ for that matter. Get our Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad recipe.

Related Reading: Is It Safe to Host a BBQ This Summer?

Smoky Cucumber Tomato Salad

smoky tomato cucumber salad recipe


And one more vibrant veggie option: this crunchy and refreshing cucumber and tomato salad. It goes with anything grilled, but is also the perfect crisp complement to snacky dips and spreads like hummus and skordalia—so you could build an entirely no-cook meal that’s still Santa-approved. Get our Smoky Cucumber Tomato Salad recipe.


Peppermint and Eggnog Ice Cream

Since everyone’s pigging out on ice cream to cool down anyway, why not take it a step further by making a flavor even more reminiscent of the cold weather months? In other words, break out the leftover candy canes! Trust us, they can still be of use once July rolls around. This Spiked Peppermint Eggnog Ice Cream recipe combines two classic Christmas treats (and bourbon), but if you don’t want the booze, we’re partial to this plain Peppermint Ice Cream recipe. You could also try making eggnog ice cream on its own, or even gingerbread ice cream if you’re craving something with a little more spice.

Ice Cream Snowmen

If you’re just looking for a way to dress up store-bought ice cream (no shame in that game), stack your scoops to resemble a snowman—or other snow person, as you please. If you want to up the ante, follow Martha Stewart’s lead and roll the scoops in shredded coconut; not only does it have a tropical taste that will transport you to the beach (see also: piña coladas), but in an ironic twist, it also looks like snow! Either way, you have an adorable no-bake dessert that’s perfect for your party.

Grilled Coconut Apple Crisp

Grilled Coconut Apple Crisp recipe


Speaking of coconut, if you’re firing up the grill for your main course anyway, keep it going through dessert. This coconut-apple crisp straddles the line between summer and fall flavors—coconut, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and orange juice, just to name a few—and it’s cooked on the grill in a disposable aluminum pan (but a cast iron skillet works as well). Get our Grilled Coconut Apple Crisp recipe.

Related Reading: How to Grill Dessert

Hula Gingerbread Men or Board Short Santa Sugar Cookies

If you are brave enough to turn on the oven in 90-degree weather, you might as well make some classic gingerbread men. But when it comes time to decorate, give them a summery edge. Add a hula skirt or bikini top with the power of sprinkles and frosting! If you’re looking for inspiration, this Hawaiian Style Gingerbread Men cookie recipe will have you saying “Mele Kalikimaka” all year long. Or you can put Santa in some swim trunks with this sugar cookie and royal icing recipe.

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This post was originally published by Jessica Gentile in 2018; updated with additional text, images, and links by Jen Wheeler.

Header image by Chowhound

Jessica is a former Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
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