Christmas in July | Madison Edition

We’ve heard the phrase Christmas in July before but often it’s for a fundraiser or an adults only party. Who wouldn’t go for this? It’s fun and an easy excuse for a mid-year escape to a time that for most is a symbol of happiness. 

For whatever reason, my kids love Christmas and they aren’t afraid to express it year round. They’ve always been like this. Even my oldest at age 1 carried around a stuffed Christmas tree that played ‘Oh Christmas Tree’. My other two were soon to follow. Could this obsession possibly be genetic? That’s a topic for a different article! What else could it be? Maybe it’s the bonus family time. Maybe it’s the extra treats. Maybe it’s the beginning of snow sticking around. It wouldn’t take an expert to realize it probably has a lot to do with the presents! 

Who can blame them right? Regardless of what you celebrate and the time of year, holidays can be magical and heartwarming. It’s a cup of cocoa on a chilly day or a hug when you desperately need one. It fuels you!

The idea of Christmas in July feels different to me this year. It has a more meaningful purpose. A different value. Normally it never surprises me to hear a random toy playing Christmas music in our house or my son reading my daughter ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’. Christmas is a constant in our house. But when I heard Home Alone playing in the car the other week, it hit me. We need to place importance on the things that are valuable. The fluff can go- maybe forever. Our family made a decision. 

Our version of Christmas in July will be to focus on giving back to ourselves. It might sound selfish but this is the perfect time to focus on strengthening family relationships via fun and activities. Not presents. There will not be any presents, just priceless moments with family. Maybe when they’re older my kids might thank me for it. Ha! Who am I kidding. They might agree that they had fun but they likely won’t thank me. So far we’ve tried a few adventures to kick off our family Christmas in July. 


We checked out Marshall Boats [also consider Wingra and Brittingham Boats depending on where you live locally]. They’ve got a great set up. Online rental system; pick your boat and time, pay, and sign the waiver. Wear your mask, grab a life jacket and paddle while they set up your freshly washed and sun exposed boat. Off you go. It was smooth and easy and a great way to spend a morning. It got the kids doing something they don’t regularly get to do. Eventually they will become paddle experts, but this time it was a windy adventure. We’ll be back!

Park Hopping

We wandered over to Indian Lake County Park and Governor Nelson State Park for hikes. Most people wore masks. Everyone was polite and stepped aside while passing. Bonus: the trails are wide at these parks and dogs are allowed. Both parks did not disappoint. The views are spectacular!

Biking + Exploring

We’ve also biked the Pheasant Branch Creek Corridor Trail which runs through Middleton and is mostly in the shade. Can’t beat that on a hot day. It follows the creek and has ample bridges. Before they were built, stepping stones were the only way to cross. Don’t be in a rush. It’s fun to stop and jump the rocks. There’s also a new trail called Great Sauk State Trail that runs between Sauk City and Prairie Du Sac. It’s a mix of sun and shade and runs alongside the Wisconsin River. A few other highlights include a Vietnam era helicopter near the VFW and a hydroelectric dam in Prairie du Sac. Need to stop for a quick picnic? There are benches and shaded nooks with great views. Bike care stations with repair tools are accessible on the trail as well. If you park at the Sauk City Riverfront Park, there’s a new splash pad and playground. 

We’re filling up July with more warm fuzzy family moments that feel like Christmas! [I promise I’m not always this bubbly.] I have a feeling many of you are also partaking in local activities that you might otherwise miss in a non-pandemic year because of summer sports or travel conflicts. What other fun local spots have you found?


Lyndsey Battaglia
Lyndsey was born and raised in New Orleans which instilled a deep passion for architecture, history, and FOOD. She and her husband James are proud graduates of UW-Madison. Go Badgers! They live in the Madison area with their 3 active children. Lyndsey is a freelance writer and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. When not working, she can be found running her kids around to swimming, ballet, basketball, and skiing. They all love new adventures, travel, cooking, being outdoors, reading, biking, and trying to keep up with their new puppy.


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