Research says celebrating Christmas early is actually good for your health!

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People have been celebrating Christmas in July for decades, but this year it has an extra special meaning. In December, my family canceled our big family Christmas because of the pandemic. Rather than gathering with 20+ people, my parents and I spent a quiet holiday at home. But now that we're all vaccinated and it's relatively safe to gather again (here are a doctor's tips for gathering post-pandemic), we've planned an epic family Christmas celebration in July.

We're going all-out to make up for missing last Christmas: We're making all our favorite Christmas cookies and candies, playing festive games, and exchanging gifts. And while it'll be too hot to don our Christmas sweaters, you can bet we'll all be wearing fluffy red Santa hats ($18 for 12, Oriental Trading Co.) with our shorts and t-shirts.

No matter what your pandemic Christmas celebrations looked like last year, gather the fam and plan a fun holiday party this summer.  Whether you host a gift exchange or get a head start on this year’s Christmas crafts with your kids, these Christmas in July ideas will help you bring joy to the world this season. Plus, a lot of these ideas can actually help alleviate some stress come December. After all, there’s a reason we always start preparing for Christmas in the summer! So crank the A/C, put on your ugliest Christmas sweater, and start celebrating. 

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Two girls decorating holiday cookies at a table
Credit: Carlina Teteris/Getty Images

1 Bake Christmas Cookies

If there’s one holiday tradition we can’t live without, it’s baking our favorite Christmas cookies year after year. To celebrate in the summer, whip out Grandma’s classic recipes, or use this time to try out a new recipe. That way, you’ll know exactly what to bake when the busy holiday season rolls around. If you don’t feel like turning the oven on and heating up the kitchen, try one of our delicious no-bake Christmas cookie recipes instead. 

candace cameron next to a man in a black coat in the snow
Credit: Courtesy of Crown Media

2 Have a Christmas Movie Marathon 

There’s nothing like a Hallmark Christmas marathon to remind you that cooler days are coming. If you need a break from the heat, turn on the A/C and tune in to Hallmark’s Christmas in July marathon. Or, gather the family for a showing of one of the classics, like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or A Christmas Story

buffalo check canvas art with hanging wreath sideboard
Credit: Brie Passano

3 Make a Christmas Craft

The holiday season is notoriously busy, and once Thanksgiving is over, it seems like we can never find a free weekend to decorate the house for Christmas. This year, spend a few days in July working on festive Christmas crafts that can be used as holiday decor. That way, you’ll be ready to deck the halls as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is put away. These farmhouse-inspired Christmas crafts are a few of our favorites. 

album cover of Bing at Christmas
Credit: Courtesy of Walmart

4 Listen to Christmas Music

Research has proven that listening to Christmas music can help calm you, and that’s not just limited to the winter months! After all, we could all use some stress relief after the past few months. Even if you can’t host a full-on holiday party this summer, you can still get in the Christmas spirit by playing a few of your favorite carols. This classic Bing Crosby Christmas album ($13, Walmart) is one of our favorites to stream while we celebrate the season pool-side. 

DIY white stamped clay ornaments bright velvet ribbon
Credit: Adam Albright

5 Make Christmas Ornaments 

I love giving handmade Christmas gifts, but I always find myself scrambling to finish them in the days before the holiday. If you’re looking for a way to wind down while celebrating a few months early, consider making Christmas ornaments with the family. These 26 Christmas ornament crafts are easy enough to make in an afternoon (the salt dough handprint ornament makes a great sentimental gift!).

minimalist christmas tree with diy wood ornaments
Credit: Marty Baldwin

6 Decorate the Tree for Summer

Just because the calendar says July doesn’t mean you can’t put the tree up! If you’re going all out for Christmas in July, consider setting up a faux Christmas tree for a few weeks, or display a small tabletop tree. After all, the sunflower Christmas tree trend fits the summer season perfectly. You could also use faux flowers to create a fun summery floral Christmas tree or buy a bright rainbow tree.

Create your own DIY Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar.
Credit: Alice & Lois

7 Make an Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

We typically start Advent calendars on December 1, but we love this DIY acts of kindness Advent calendar so much, we can’t wait to start doing it twice a year. If you don’t already have one, it’s easy to put together: Choose a set number of good deeds to accomplish (think: writing to a senior pen pal, organizing a rainbow hunt, or filling all the parking meters on a busy street) this month and write each one down and place it in a numbered envelope. Then, choose one activity to do each day. Plus, once you create the numbered envelopes, you’ll be ready to go again come December 1. 

we wish you a merry christmas card
Credit: Carson Downing

8 Do Good Deeds

Helping out a good cause is always at the top of my holiday to-do list, but many places actually need more help during the summer months. So many people donate to shelters or food banks around the holidays, but donations tend to trickle down once the holiday season has passed. We recommend calling the organizations in your area and asking what their current needs are and how you can help from home. You can also contact local senior centers to see if you can drop off Christmas in July cards for the residents there. A sweet encouraging note on a festive holiday card (or one of our free templates) is sure to brighten anyone's day.

wrapped gift
Credit: Jason Donnelly

9 Exchange Gifts

Who says you can’t host a gift exchange in July? Gather your squad by hosting a swap party of gifts you’ve crafted yourself or throwing a white elephant party. If you’re feeling creative, come up with a theme for the gifts that fits the season (think luau-inspired gifts or things you could use for a pool day). If you need help coming up with a gift, we’ve got 20 white elephant gift ideas that won’t be re-gifted

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