Christmas in July


It Wasn’t Always About Advertising

For the past 70 years, North American advertisers have used the concept of “Christmas in July” to sell everything from overstocked holiday supplies to furniture and automobiles. But, did you know that this advertising trope has origins in a late 1930s and early 1940s charity campaign? It gained national attention when the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, DC held an annual Christmas celebration in the middle of July to collect donations for their global missions. “Christmas in July” has its roots in generosity, and I think it’s time to get back to them.

Giving Knows No Season

Charities that serve the most vulnerable in our world need donations year-round, and the opportunities to give during the summer are abundant. Often-overlooked items like toiletries, sunscreen, water bottles and rain gear, are just as important as mittens and toques. Food banks continue to seek donations, and sometimes put out a special appeal for seasonal items like garden produce. A variety of non-profit summer camps and youth charities need support. Check-in with your usual ‘Christmas’ charities and ask what they need most during the summer months and grow your giving from there. Of course, we are not just limited to giving money and gifts.

A Fun Summer Activity with Kids

With children on break from school, the summer season is a great time for families to volunteer their time together. Many people take some time out to serve their communities in the run up to Christmas, but opportunities abound during the summer months as well. Local homeless shelters need individuals to help serve the hungry year-round. Non-profit summer festivals welcome volunteers for a variety of tasks. Food banks partner with local families in growing fresh produce. And we can always give back to our communities by taking time to clean up pathways and parks. Families looking for a more adventurous opportunity to give might consider a family vacation that incorporates a service project for the local community.

Giving Back and Growing Closer

Five years ago, a late-June flood hit the city of Calgary. Tom and Sandra Smith’s* neighbourhood escaped damage, but homes just five minutes down the road were destroyed. On Canada Day weekend, they got together with their family and friends as they always did.  However, instead of barbecuing, they spent the extra day off working knee-deep in water and mud, helping to clean-up a flooded home.  Much to their surprise, they found that serving their community was a great way to spend time together, and the family has volunteered together many times since. Sandra says, “the warm feeling of giving back and working alongside family and friends is really special. That time volunteering not only helps those in need, but brings us all closer together.”

Get Out and Give This Summer

Canadians will soon be inundated with flyers announcing “Christmas in July” sales at retailers across the country. This year, I challenge you to respond with radical generosity. Instead of heading into a store, head out into the community and spend part of your summer giving back. You might find it’s the best deal yet.

Talk to a Gift Planning Consultant about our Flexible Gifting Accounts. Choose the charities you want to give to, when you want to give, and receive one tax receipt. Abundance Canada will coordinate the rest on your behalf. It’s that simple. Connect with us today!

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals

Contributed by Darren Pries-Klassen

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