Light ‘Em Up FAQs

 What if I’m on a tight budget?

I don’t think 25 of these is doable, is it?

Which were the BEST ones from last year?

How do I display ideas?

What if I have many kids and small kids? Help! How?


Bottom line (see the mom pledge in this post) – NO GUILT!

You start small and do only a few and make this work for your family!

What if I’m on a tight budget?

There are so many of these you can without spending money and many more with spending very little. Print the GIFT TAGS at home and use ribbon and paper lunch bags from home. My friend Katie is making her boxes from paper grocery bags for treats.


Consider focusing on some of the 100 Ideas that involve serving others versus those that require money or treats. You can try the sidewalk chalk surprise greetings on neighbors’ driveways or babysitting for a friend or sweeping a porch. You can make homemade cards or nice handwritten letter to police men or firemen in the area. I would scroll the list and circle all the ones that can be accomplished for free or with little spending. Or, focus your efforts on ONE day in December versus trying to do something every day.


I do believe it is doable depending on your other Christmas commitments. I found myself cancelling and opting out of other “busy” Holiday activites because this was so exciting for our family. We intentionally made a shift for how we would use our time and what traditions would make memories in our kids hearts. However, I will probably not do the Advent system this year and lock us into a specific task per day. I love the mystery of who we will meet. I love being at a store and having a neat conversation with a clerk and locking eyes with Ella and then a grin – because WE KNOW… we have found “our girl” for the day. She’ll reach in my purse – grab a candy cane and say Merry Christmas. Ella is on this and gets it. I will do well over 25 because it’s so thrilling – but doing tiny things. If you decide to do a few this first year – that’s huge! I would read the list with your family using the Family Planning Document and print the iMOM Planner and write on that which ones really capture your hearts. Some require planning and time to prepare. Did any of you try 25 last year? Comment below from your experience for new folks.



I LOVED hitting up the mall the days before Christmas. It’s so festive and the mall employees are NOT expecting little kids to come up with candy canes with tags on them and simply say THANK YOU. I would echo in words “thank you for working so hard – when we know you’d rather not be working right now or be with family”. We got tears, hug and free stuff. 😉 The candy canes  were always with us and the girls were obsessed with giving them to people everywhere. I loved the trash can thank you poster and candy treat. I loved walking through Publix and watching Larson hand a flower to deli person and cookie lady and meat man. This year, Katie has encouraged us to learn their names. So personal. Love it! What about you guys? Favorites from last year? What’s on your list for this year? I am TOTALLY going to send treats up that bank shoot thing. heehee. Ron thinks I’m getting arrested this year. Possible. Ha!



Oh, so many ways. If you are going Advent style – 1 per day. You can use whatever advent system you have.


Or, make your own Advent Calendar – so many ideas on Pinterest.


If you like to be spontaneous, you can pick the ideas you love from the 100 Ideas list and

1) just cut them right out of the list


2) write our favorites on cute scrapbook paper

and toss in a fun jar


The fridge is an easy place.

Use the iMOM planner to write your favorites.

Or,  the 100 Ideas List with your favorites circled.


Remember, THIS IS FOR YOUR KIDS! The whole point of this is teaching them generosity through an adventure and experience. As they feel the joy of giving to others – they will get it. They will see how faces LIGHT UP and how they did that. And, how they were able to show them a little piece of God’s love. So, definitely get their input on what sounds fun to them. Who they would like to encourage. And, think about what you already do in a day. Who you will already see. Do you go to carpool? Could you make a snack for all the moms in the line? Do you go to the park every morning? Can you tape quarters and post-it notes for kids that come later in the day with encouraging notes like “You’re great at the monkey bars!” or “Great swinging?” Do you have shopping to do? Pack your stroller with candy canes and let your kids choose who to light up.



Great question! No. They are the 50 ideas from last year with 50 NEW ideas. Most of the newer ones are sprinkled up front.  Some of my favorite new ones I have circles – (16) coffee to parking attendants in cold garages, (17) going to a favorite retailer or restaurant with handwriten note from our family “why we love X so much” and give to manager, (84) thanking the person that cleans public restrooms, (26) sneak attack daddy’s office with notes and treats, (14) finding a way to surprise our pastor and local church office – thanking them for how they grow us and inspire us.

If you are new, here are some links.

The blog post and passionate soapbox on GIVING vs GETTING that started this in 2011.

The blog post telling my heart and why I believe families should lock arms and do this for 2012.

The FILES! The plan! The how to do 2012 Light ‘Em Up.


comment below.


Poor ole Thanksgiving. Feeling guilty you get skipped.

I really do love you.

And, I’m still using my banner and I’m thankful for a God that moves through people and children

and loves all of us even when we mess up and aren’t perfect. I am exhibit A.

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