Families everywhere have the opportunity to make the Christmas season a little brighter — for friends, neighbors and complete strangers.
Mother and author Courtney DeFeo devised Light ‘Em Up in 2011 with her young children in mind as a way to embrace the Christmas season and focus on giving rather than receiving in a way that families can experience together. By doing random acts of kindness, parents can teach their kids generosity at an early age through fun experiences.
The concept was an immediate sensation. Families around the globe have embraced the program.
“Any family can change their neighborhood or community — often, all it takes is a simple gesture, act of kindness or genuine ‘thank you’ to make someone’s day so much better,” said DeFeo, author of “In This House, We Will Giggle.”
“Just think about who in your community could use a simple ‘thank you,’ ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘we appreciate you’ this year,” she added. “Maybe it’s your garbage collector, school volunteers or the crossing guard? Don’t forget to look at the people you see and interact with every day.”
Ideas can be simple and affordable. Some simple ones for starters include:
- Place a dollar bill and some change (to cover tax) along with a note in a plastic baggy and leave randomly in the local dollar store
- Deliver a warm blanket to someone who is homeless
- Write simple greetings — such as “good morning” or “have a great day” — in chalk on neighbors’ driveways
- Attach thoughtful notes to candy canes and deliver throughout the community
- Take a warm beverage to a parking attendant or someone else who works outside
- At a fast food restaurant, pay for a stranger’s meal
- Leave gift cards to restaurants, coffee shops or stores in the mailboxes of neighbors
“Doing good for others is very addictive, and when generosity is an experience and not a lecture, kids love it,” DeFeo said. “It doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition, and it’s contagious, too. Once you start surprising the community, neighbors will want to join in the fun, and it will snowball from there.”