Light ‘Em Up 2011

This was originally shared on my first website – was shared 40K in a couple days and pinned over 180K times in the first year. It has been more than humbling to watch God move through generosity of this community. It is now Chapter 12 in my book!



The 2012 Light ‘Em Up Plan is now available. Click here!

100 ideas, Updated GIft Tags, Classroom Ideas, Coloring Sheets and more.

So sorry about turning the comments off below.

Due to all the interest, the spam invaders were driving me crazy. Send email to info(at)lillightomine(dot)com with questions.

 To say I AM FIRED UP is an understatement!!!

My head was spinning yet again and I FINALLY GOT CLARITY around what I wanted to teach my girls this season.

And, I thought you might love it too.

And, then I did the math on if we all did it and told our friends.

 It’s truly outstanding the impact we could have in our communities and in our little ones hearts. You should be warned. Longest. Post. Ever. Scroll down to the logo if you want to get there – but it needs the story behind it.



Just type in “Christmas” into Etsy and Pinterest and shoot me now.

 Or, the number of notes and reminders I need about the hundred ministries and organizations that need things through the school and church.

OH, and I cannot let my kids miss out on ONE not ONE single one fun thing to do. They must sip ever hot cup of cocoa, sit on every Santa’s lap, get every present on their list, ride the Pink Pig 194 times, blast Christmas carols, wear an edible Christmas ensemble daily in December and make cookies oh my! Oh, and don’t forget that dang elf that I’ll forget every morning and have to pry my half-open eyes at Ron and motion for him to move it AGAIN because I forgot.


From 2009 I think?

Oh, and don’t even get me started on my stack of Christmas cards to address and stamp.

So, I get overwhelmed too and frankly I have regrets from years past. There were years when I think I was in the mall EVERY OTHER DAY and spent THOUSANDS of dollars in just weeks and didn’t really think of another person. That’s “giving”… but is it really? Or was I just abusing the ‘budget pass’ of the Holidays to feed my shopping addiction?


This is what our family looks like when BUSYNESS take over. No one has fun.


This year, I’m hitting the pause button.

What can we stop doing? What SHOULD we be doing?

What is the right thing to do FOR THIS AGE and FOR MY HOME?

Mine are 2 and 5. What message am I sending them about Christmas?


The world says you GET, GET, GET! And, honestly, it’s exciting. I do let them believe in Santa. However, I will fight and do all in power to remind them that THE REASON and our hope is found in the fact that the most amazing man every to step foot on this earth was born on Christmas Day. And, that is something to talk about.

 And, that he taught us something very magical – how to LIGHT UP THE HEARTS OF PEOPLE.

He taught us how to be last and how to serve. He taught us how to give and that it’s way better than receiving.

Am I deleting all gifts? No way! Am I deleting Santa? Not this year.

 I am simply cutting the list and focusing.

First on the chopping block is this guy.


A few of my friend’s just spit out their coffee. I KNOW, people! He is crazy great and cute and made for creative people like me. He just stressed me out – and I HATED the conversations in my home daily. It brought up good/bad behavior. What did he say to Santa? Was I OK today? Will I get my presents? And not to mention the daily web of lies that made me uncomfortable. (ELF lovers – don’t tune out. Keep him and keep reading.)

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT OUR ELF? He reminded me that Christmas is SO exciting for little ones. They LOVE the thrill of counting down and each day. They love the anticipations and the magic.

I believe I JUST EXPERIENCED IT this weekend, just in a different way. That same magic and creativity and fun can still happen with other activities. It can happen when you simply focus on everyone else around you and how you might simply light up a stranger through kindness.

To rest my heart and make it work this year, I landed on this. And, I am PUMPED!!

light-em-up_logo_fin We are simply spending our time on random acts of kindness. Before you click away because you think you’ve seen this. I’m about to HOOK YOU UP with over 50+ ideasto choose from. And, they are FUN and easy. I have gift tags and a family planning document and of course the ideas!


Did I invent this? No people. Random acts of kindness is about innovative as peanut butter and jelly – but who is really doing it? Who is committing to it for 25 days? If not all month, could we commit to 10 times?

Think of the conversations, the photos, the memories, the SNEAKING around to try and be anonymous – because it’s not about OUR glory – it’s about HIS GLORY.


Think about the unnoticed being noticed. Think about the hardest working people in your city getting the EDIBLE FACES of your kids with sincere hearts handing over a precious work of art and a genuine MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


I have been working on “encouragement” and “Christmas” product ideas already – so much of this was in my head. However, I do want to give credit to a couple of blogs that inspired me. I saw this girl last year I think that did a countdown on kindness and loved it. I saw this one recently on Pinetrest which led me to this one and LOVED LOVED LOVED how they focus on your birthday. It says so much about these ladies that they take a special day for themselves and make it about others.

Same thing for this, let’s take a season and a time in our kids’ lives that is normally about CONSUME, CONSUME – what all can they GET and work the system because its’ CHRISTMAS… and let’s turn the tables.


Let’s GIVE. Let’s SERVE… in a very easy, tangible way for our little ones.

Am I a crazy psycho mean mom taking fun? Oh no, people – we will be having fun. I guarantee you. There will be giggling and sneaking around places we shouldn’t be. And, we will eat fun things and sing and drink hot cocoa all of the way. We just have a different mission this year. Our mission is lighting up others through kindness.


(NOTE TO FAMILY: you will get gifts. Not sure when or how thoughtful… but I’ll get to it. J No one panic.)

Another disclaimer: I AM IN LOVE with my church and their partner organizations. Ron/I fully support whatever they send our way in terms of financial giving opportunities and even the Operation Christmas Child, food drives, etc. Almost all of the ministries have rules and regulations for good reasons on when little kids can get involved serving.

THIS WAS A HUGE A-HA FOR ME …. I didn’t want to wait.

The regulations do not mean they are too young to get it and be the hands and feet of Jesus.


I didn’t want to hear NO, your kids can’t serve and walk away. When they are old enough, I will use my kids to step right up and join the programs already happening. No need to recreate. As Andy Stanley says – let’s just put wind in the sails of those doing such a great job.

For this year, I wanted my kids to SEE and WATCH and DO what scripture says.

I wanted them to feel the JOY and even the uncomfortable moments of stepping out in fear and trusting.

We’re going to spend HOURS and DAYS out in the community anyway, why not just tote a bag full of stuff and be praying and ready for how God is going to intersect us with a life or opportunity to LIGHT EM UP!

OK – holy soap box. I’m done. I said I was fired up.


Set a time, like um, pronto – to discuss with your family – to determine is this right for you guys?

If you know already it’s not – I have some other tips/suggestions at the bottom.

 You will talk through things like a budget for this (consider the GIVING IT UP FOR GOOD post – that’s how I’m paying for it).

give it up for good logo The document will also talk about how you will execute…

Countdown approach or …


Or, FUN! Put one in each pocket or door of your advent calendar!


Or, just print the list out for fridge or cut for jar or board…


And much more.



We have over 50 so you can choose which ones you love…. Some examples include…

Surprise message for a friend in their driveway


Treat for your server in the drive-thru


Flowers to the amazing cookie lady (This is my neighbor’s boys who did this with Kidstuf through or church. Awesome! Didn’t even know that bc my kids aren’t old enough.)

 IMG_20111119_192007 (2)

Hold the door for some patrons for a few minutes


Bring some carts in from the parking lot


Tape some quarters to bubble gum machines




Download and save the tags or print if you’re going to use


And, holy moly – just have some fun. This DOES NOT need to be another thing on the list to stress you out… REALLY! If you have a plan that’s working in your home and you love it. Awesome.


Just an idea, that I think has HUGE potential for our communities

and His kingdom, but might not be for everyone.


TwitterFacebookPinterest! This could be really, really exciting to see so many get involved.

FACEBOOK will be our hub of storytelling. So, upload photos, please. I want to see your children in action and hear how it’s going. Especially when you think of one that wasn’t on the list that others could enjoy trying.

SO VERY excited about people in our community that will benefit from some kids serving hand in hand with their mothers.




Great precious book for little ones when introducing the reason of the season

Great new version of the Elf – similar pros, less cons (in my humble opinion)

This ebook looked sweet and affordable!

And Jesse Tree devotional from Ann Voskamp – anything from her site is divine!!!



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  1. My friend Marianne Richmond sent me to your blog and I love it!! I want to use your random acts of kindness for my daycare kiddos. Do you happen to have the jpeg files that I could update to say daycare instead of our family? Awesome idea!!

  2. LOVE THIS!! I never read entire blog posts and I NEVER comment because I don’t “have time” BUT I read ALL of yours….amazing and exactly how I am thinking and feeling. You nailed it and I printed it all for my family to do! I have 3 kids, 3, 6 & 8. We do not do the Elf, but saw another great idea about A Christmas Angel….THANK YOU for your creativity, honesty, and thoughtfulness. You are a blessing!! I printed your ABC scripture cards a few years ago, but didn’t realize it was you. Will become a follower!

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