Are the “joys” of summer beginning to get to you? Are hot temperatures, high humidity, endlessly crowded parks, beaches, pools, roadways, amusements, and campgrounds beginning to grind you down — and you find yourself looking for a change?
If you think the season of giving needs to be reserved for only the crisp, sparkling days of late fall and early winter, think again! In fact, right about now, community centers, soup kitchens, animal and homeless shelters and other organizations could use a little sparkle themselves, and your help to achieve it.
In November and December, these entities are typically inundated with gifts and volunteers, but for the rest of the year they often have to make do with limited staffs and dwindling funds and amenities. Why not carry the spirit of Christmas into the summer, and all seasons of the year, by contacting groups in your community, state, and even outside of your region to determine what they need and how you can help, bringing a little unexpected joy into someone else’s life (and yours!) during the rest of the year. Whether providing monetary donations, individual gifts, or offering your time, skills, and other resources, most charitable and nonprofit groups would consider your contribution welcome and valuable this summer, whatever form it takes.
And when it comes to home and family, how about giving to yourself as well? Who said the old songs about “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” or “…and the fire is so delightful” have to mean the ones in the fireplace? A campfire makes a fun locale to break out “The Night before Christmas” along with the marshmallows, or raise toasty wieners and voices high in a rousing chorus or two of joyful Christmas carols.
Have you made it up to the attic lately? Why not dig out some colorful lights, a little tinsel, and cherished ornaments for decorating, and hang a few stockings on the mantle. Exchanging cards and gifts over a batch of yummy Christmas pancakes with maple syrup and hot (or iced) cocoa can turn just another summer morning into a fun, festive reminder that the holiday spirit knows no season–and the big event itself will be here before you know it anyway.
And don’t forget about baking! Bring the family together to bake and decorate holiday cookies, which go down just as well following backyard burgers as they do after a traditional Christmas ham. Better yet, if you invite the neighbors to bring their own sweet treats (think gingerbread!), a traditional Christmas cookie swap becomes a reason for a festive summer get together you’ll be talking about well into the official holiday season.
Celebrating Christmas in July is limited only by your imagination, or maybe by that supersized box of decorations in the attic that needs to be carried downstairs a few months early. Infusing your typical summer routine with a little unexpected sparkle, and making sure those less fortunate get to share in the spirit, can turn the long, hot days of summer into a true season of giving that (ho-ho-ho!) all but rivals December. It’s all up to you!