Light ‘Em Up is a movement of families lighting up the world with kindness. It doesn’t matter your age, location or means, we believe each person can impact the life of another. With a simple thank you or expression of love, your one act of kindness can start a ripple effect goes well beyond one neighbor. When you invite your family to begin this new tradition, hearts begin to change. Enjoy the difference. Join us!

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START HERE with ALL the Links You Need:

Background – First Blog Post on Light ‘Em Up

Light ‘Em Up: 100 Ideas To Try With Your Family

Light ‘Em Up: Classroom Starter Ideas for Teachers

Light ‘Em Up: Gift Tags for Treats

Light ‘Em Up: Planning Document for a Family Meeting

Top 10 Ideas from 2014

No Guilt Pledge For Moms!

Logos for bags or decor for groups



Start local.

Right where you are,  there are people EVERY day that need encouragement and kindness. Your garbage collector. Your postal carrier. Your police officers and school teachers and pastors. What about the homeless community? Right within the miles around your house, there are plenty in need. Start local. Search Facebook to see if your city has a “light em up” group (example Greenville). If not, start one! So much good can happen when we work together for our city. And let our kids be a part of something big.


Give in Secret.

Light ‘Em Up was born as a way to extend our faith. We want to shine the light of God in a tangible way. For our family, it’s also important that they learn it’s not about us getting glory or credit. So, as our kids grow – we want them to do more giving in secret. In the beginning, we loved them seeing the recipient’s face and realizing the impact of generosity. Now, we are finding such joy in being sneaky. Finding ways to give big and run away – so people don’t know it was us. They feel loved and will never know how it happened.


Make it your own.

This program was never designed to add more to your overstuffed holiday schedule – it was actually about changing the focus. Making it about giving over getting. You must make it work for your family and your unique community and schedule!  My sister does ONE Light ‘Em Up party with friends and their kids. It’s not extra holiday pressure. Some people love doing one little act every day and they use their advent calendar. Don’t let something good turn into something that is a burden. While some friends might find joy in lighting up the entire city with treats. Your family might pick a family in need or pay off a layaway. Make it your own.




Light Em Up Gift Tags 2014


Why families?

This started because I had young kids at home and found limited ways they could serve. Many ministries had age requirements. I wanted my family to experience generosity together as a holiday tradition – so Light ‘Em Up was born. However, Light ‘Em Up is for all ages and stages. We have teens and single women and everyone in between from every continent doing great acts of kindness. Here’s a few ideas from last year.


Why Gift Tags?

I found my kids were really brave and walking up and saying thanks and that was about it. It left the strangers confused – so the gift tags helped explained what just happened. As they get older, they are able to explain “we are just spreading joy!” People are left with an impression and it is ON PURPOSE that I leave off my name and Light ‘Em Up – I want it pure. For them to feel loved not sold on anything. Download NEW and REVISED gift tags in 2016 – with some of your FAVORITE ones repeated!

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Why just Christmas?

It started out when I was OVER the consumption mode of Christmas and I wanted my family to focus on giving. We still give to our kids, we just wanted the tone of our home to be on others. However, we found it was contagious – and now Light ‘Em Up is who we are all year round. You can find us and many of the families in this community “lighting up” communities year round (Mother’s Day or Summer or anytime).


How do I share?

You can send friends to “” (it will get them to this page) or use this hashtag for getting and sharing ideas #LightEmUpActs on Instagram. We have a new Instagram page! @LightEmUpActs ! Join us!

PLEASE send your ideas and photos and stories  – not in a “look at me, I’m so generous” kind of way – but in a way that inspires others to light up their communities. You know the difference. If you want to share in secret. Email me and I will get your idea out there. courtney(at)courtneydefeo(dot)com



What if I face resistance?

You will. Your kids might or those you approach will resist this. Forced kindness doesn’t feel loving. Just invite your kids to come anyway and just see what happens. Let the stranger pass and say “have a nice day.” Total kindness with “no strings attached” isn’t normal in our culture, so people think you are selling something. Don’t be offended. Just smile.

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