Light the World for Kids 2022

Oh man, it has been a long time. But I’m back at it for a quick Christmas post.

This year’s Light the World campaign is a bit simpler than years past with just a list of 50 simple suggestions to spread light and cheer.

50 is more than I can handle right now, and I wanted something geared more towards my kiddos needs and abilities to participate. So I put together my own simplified list with 17 ways to Light the World. I also made a blank one if you wanna fill in your own with some of my ideas and other things that work for you.

I have recently discovered the awesome ability to print things on GIANT paper using a printing service. Through Staples it’s called a blueprint under their document printing, I believe other services may refer to it as engineering prints. It’s regular paper, not a poster (read lots cheaper than a poster), but you can print it real big and put it up on your wall so the kids can see and enjoy it better than a little 8.5×11. I’ve been doing this with a quarterly calendar and bucket list since the beginning of the summer and they love it. I printed my Light the World as an 18x 24 but you can go as big as 36×48.

– Tell Christmas jokes

– Learn to say Merry Christmas in a different language

– Make a card for someone far away

– Gingerbread stables

– Temple lights

– Donate food

– Donate a toy/book

– Sing Christmas songs

– Spend time with friends

– Nativity movie night

– Read a Christmas book

– Live Nativity

– Celebrate miracles (Hannukah)

– Giving Machine

– Christmas Devotional

– Christmas Sequencing (3 part sequencing for little littles) (6 part for pre-school- first grade) Older kids could cut and glue pictures from magazines

– Bethlehem Dinner (we eat Middle Eastern food for Christmas Eve reminiscent of the types of food Jesus would have eaten)

Light the World with your Kids!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the church’s Light the World campaign each year and have had so many wonderful experiences finding ways to keep the kids involved. They love it and have become very service oriented because of it. I also like to find ways to focus on Christ through any activity we participate in throughout the month.

This year is obviously going to look very different, but I think with some creativity we can make it even more special and meaningful this year.

The calendar produced by the church this year is very social media heavy in order to promote safe socialization which is a little hard to involve little kids in so here’s some ideas to bring it beyond social media and on the kids’ level. Take pictures and videos of what your kids are doing and share them as you are comfortable on social media or just with family and friends, and then at the end of the month look through the pictures and videos together of everything you have done to light the world.

1- Giving Tuesday- choose an organization you want to donate to. Use physical cash or money if possible so the kids can actually see it. You could use a physical donation slip and envelope at church for the humanitarian fund and have the kids put the money in and hand it to the Bishop. Or if you can find one of the fun coin drops (you know the ones where the coins circle around until they drop in) gather whatever change you can find and have some fun while you donate.

2- Hero Highlight- write letters/ color pictures to send through Operation Gratitude.

3- Peace on Earth- learn about another culture (or a few cultures) that has a celebration this time of year. There are tons of children’s books available on Youtube. Here’s two that I really like:

The Story of Hannukah

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns

4- The Christ Child- watch The Christ Child then make gingerbread/ graham cracker stables. We typically use a peach ring for the manger, sour patch kids to make the Holy Family, and animal crackers for the animals.

5- Pay it Backwards- make a Thank you card for someone

6- Fast Relief- depending on age and other health factors- consider having your kids fast in a way that is appropriate for them and for your family. While a traditional fast suggests we go without food for two meals you could shorten that to one meal, or only eat very simple and plain foods. Then select food items to donate to a charity. (You could also do a typical fast offering- however for young kids they will understand better if they see the actual food being donated.) Tonight is also the First Presidency Christmas Devotional

7- Signs of Christmas- decorate someone’s door or do sidewalk chalk in their driveway.

8- Health Caring- decorate disposable masks with Christmas stickers so the kids can have a festive mask when needed. Discuss how we can show appreciation to health care workers and help keep everyone healthy.

9- Words of Love- read some Christmas books together, then pick a book to send to a friend or charity (or both!)

10- Light the Family Tree- Print pictures of your family as far back as you can (I have a set that goes back to mine and my husband’s great grandparents). We use them regularly for family home evening so they are worth having and laminating. You could put them on your actual Christmas tree, get a mini tree (or rosemary bush!), or make a fake tree on a wall or fridge.

11- Treats Times Two- make (or buy) treats to drop off

12- Shop with Care- find a small local business to support- we love going to petting zoos in December to remind us of the animals in the stable. You could also just find a small business to buy some Christmas presents from, or find a small restaurant.

13- Serene Sunday- try to get out and spend some time in nature or just enjoy your Christmas tree and talk about how Heavenly Father and Jesus created the earth for us to enjoy.

14- Social Sing and Serve- more info will be coming about an online event this day so check out LightTheWorld.org/sing but if that event doesn’t work out with the kiddos just gather the family and sing your favorite Christmas songs. Some from the hymn book, some from the Children’s Songbook, and some just for fun. If you can convince your kids to sing on camera you could do some virtual caroling to loved ones near and far!

15- Love Mom and Dad- make cards or crafts for grandparents/ or adopt some grandparents in your neighborhood or see if you can drop off something to a local nursing home.

16- Shining Star- make star frames out of popsicle sticks and let the kids pick whose picture they want in their star.

17- Christmas Dinners- Donate more food to a food bank, or make some freezer meals (or sides) and take to someone who could use some help (either financially or timewise) with their holiday meals.

Green Bean Casserole is easy (and pretty inexpensive) to put together in bulk then divided into disposable pans to be frozen. Or there’s a lot of breakfast foods that can do the same so they can just pop them in the oven the day of!

18- Christmas Stories- snuggle up for a Christmas read-a-thon and movie marathon. Some of our favorite Christmas movies:

  • The Star
  • VeggieTales- Little Drummer Boy, Saint Nicholas, Christmas Star, etc.
  • The Grinch (great for talking about repentance)

19- Letters of Light- write letters/ draw pictures for missionaries you know in your family, serving in your ward, or serving from your ward/stake.

20- Looping Luke 2- Use one of these sequencing activities to help your kids learn and tell the Christmas story. Film them telling the story. You could also take turns telling part of the story.

This page has a 3 part (great for really little ones) and a 4 part sequencing coloring pages.

This page you have to sign up for the newsletter to get the free printable. It’s a 6 part (good for right around kindergarten) that comes pre-colored and in black and white to be colored (great for the older kids to get more involved!)

Even older kids could get involved by drawing their own or using pictures from church magazines to make a collage.

21- Together Time- Continue your Christmas story and movie marathon- there’s plenty to go around! Invite friends or family from far away to watch at the same time so you can feel connected across the miles and talk about your favorite parts of the movie after.

22- Sharing Light- find a light display to visit

23- Gifts from God- wrap a box in paper that can be written/ colored on (most gift wrap won’t work super well). Have everyone write or draw pictures of the gifts they have received from God on the outside of the box. Keep it under the tree as a reminder.

24- Goodwill to Fam- Have a special family dinner (we eat Middle Eastern food to get a taste of what Jesus would have eaten and use an oil lamp like those that were used in Biblical times) talk about why you love each other. Write down what the kids say to each other so they can look back on it down the road.

25- Light of the World- Put mini flashlights or glowsticks in the kids’ stockings. Read John 8:12 together about Jesus being the Light of the World. Look at all of the pictures and videos you made throughout the month as you worked to Light the World!

26- Light 2021- Use the printable below to set goals for how you can continue to Light the World throughout 2021. We like to use this dice activity from the Friend to help us set goals.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Come Follow Me Family Home Evening for Little Ones- Dec 2019

One year down!!!!  Sorry this post is a little late, I’ve been busy on the blog lately with Christmas stuff.  Check out my Have a Merry Kondo Christmas and Light Your Family to Light the World posts, both are intended to help you simplify this season and focus on Christ.

I really hope your family has a wonderful Christmas season and am so excited to start studying the Book of Mormon together in the New Year!

 

Dec 2-8 God is Love

Song: Stars Were Gleaming pg. 37

Materials: Christmas light display

Take your kids into a room with only a small amount of light (maybe your Christmas tree).  Explain that Jesus and His love light the world.  But if we are mean to people then we end up in darkness- turn off the light or unplug the tree.  Talk about how dark it is, how sad it is, and how hard it is to move around without the light.  Then explain that when we show love to people it brings that light of Christ into our lives- turn the light back on.  Then if possible load up in the car and go for a drive to see Christmas lights in your neighborhood or other nice light displays.  While you drive talk about nice things you could do for people.

 

Dec 9-15 Glory, and Power be Unto the Lamb Forever

Song: Have a Very Merry Christmas pg. 51

Materials: Picture of Jesus knocking at the door, treats for neighbors

Show the kids the picture of Jesus standing at the door knocking (in the manual at the end of this week’s lesson) and read them the verse “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Talk about how people need to wait until we open the door before they can come in our house, and we do the same when we go to other people’s houses.  Explain that Jesus is the same, he can’t come into our house and our lives unless we open the door for him.

Take turns knocking on the door and letting each other in.  Then take treats to neighbors and knock and wait for them to answer.  Carol to them if that’s something your family feels comfortable doing!!!  (Unfortunately my husband doesn’t sing and my kids don’t sing on command, and somehow it’s less cute for me to solo on a doorstep- but MAYBE I can convince them this year!!!)

 

Dec 16-22 Glad Tidings of Great Joy

Song: Picture a Christmas pg. 50

Materials: Christmas videos (see my list in my Light the World post)

Movie night!!!!  Sit back and watch a few Christmas videos!  You might want to include the newest video the Church produced this year.

 

Dec 23-29 He That Overcometh Shall Inherit All Things

Song: When I Am Baptized pg. 103 (emphasize vs. 2)

Materials- Goal Dice from Friend (scroll down),Goal setting sheet, Jesus Learned and Grew, Plan of Salvation Printable

Review the Plan of Salvation using the printable above or other pictures.  Explain that in the Book of Revelation, John tells us more about the Celestial Kingdom and how we get there.  John said, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things.”  Inherit all things means getting everything Heavenly Father and Jesus have in the Celestial Kingdom.  In order to get there we need to overcome, or always work to improve and do things better.  The best way to do that is by setting goals or resolutions.

Read Jesus Learned and Grew from the friend.  It leaves out wisdom, so explain that he also grew in wisdom which means he learned important things.

Roll the dice and set a goal for each area.  You could write the goals down on the charts that the church has recently created for the new Children and Youth program, or you can use the goal setting sheet I created- I like it better for little ones because…pictures!!!!  I also like to add a picture to correspond with each goal.

 

 

 

Image by monicore from Pixabay

 

 

Light your Family to Light the World

In my last post I talked about how a few years ago I had a Christmas breakdown when I got super overwhelmed by Christmas festivities and thought, “This isn’t about and Jesus and it’s not even fun.”

That post gave ideas on how to shop to avoid the overwhelm and keep the fun things actually fun.  This post is going to focus on how to keep the season about Jesus.

I’m by no means anti-Santa (or as my husband said it, “You’re not antee Santee.”)  But I feel very strongly that I need to make sure that Jesus is getting much more focus.  My kids will learn about Santa with no effort on my part, but learning about the real miracle we are celebrating is going to take some effort on my part.

The past few years I have been posting a daily activity count down and have tried to align it as much as possible with the Light the World campaign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This year I decided to stray a little from that pattern because I’ve realized recently that I just can’t keep up that daily level of activity.  Between my current energy level, figuring out how to fit everything in with a kid in full day kindergarten, and my husband having a significantly longer commute than in the past, I’ll be honest, my daily Thanksgiving activity plans have kinda tanked and I’ve realized that I need to simplify more and more.

Also, this year’s Light the World suggestions are smaller and simpler and someone already did the work of creating one specifically for kids.  So if you are looking for a simple thing to do every day then I would definitely suggest checking out A Year of FHE.  She’s got a really great calendar going on!  Although admittedly I did chuckle a little when I saw that the activity on the church produced calendar was, “Think of someone for whom you’ve had negative feelings lately.  Try praying for them.”  And the corresponding kid activity is, “Pray for your parents or care-givers today.”

But, I did want to give some suggestions of a few larger activities to try and fit in, or how to take things you already do and tie them in to Christ, as well as a few of my own ideas for incorporating kids and this year’s Light the World campaign.

 

Activities:

Christmas parties– we’ll have at least two just for fun parties this year.  Explain that the scriptures say that we should have joy.  Also Heavenly Father and Jesus want us to have good relationships with our friends and family so having fun with them is a great way to prepare for Christmas.

 

Light displays– No Mesa Temple lights this year 😦 but we like to get over to Glendale Glitters- explain to the kids that Jesus is the Light of the World so when we see the Christmas lights we remember Him.

 

Live Nativity– Dec 6-7 at Grace Lutheran Church in Glendale, they do a hay ride that will pick you up from Glendale Glitters then take you back

Dec 13- we’ll have a live nativity and petting zoo at our church building at 325 W Coral Gables Dr. in Phoenix

Dec 13-15- First Baptist Church in Chandler has a huge event that sounds really neat

 

Movie Nights– there are tons of Christ-centered Christmas movies to enjoy together as a family this season.  Pop up some popcorn, make some hot cocoa, and sit back for a low energy but Christ-centered activity!  Here’s some faves:

  • Veggie Tales! (You can buy DVDs from their website, or most can be found digitally on Amazon)
    • Little Drummer Boy
    • Saint Nicholas
    • It’s a Meaningful Life
    • The Toy that Saved Christmas
    • The Star of Christmas
    • The Best Christmas Gift (haven’t actually seen this one yet, but I’ve never met a VeggieTales I didn’t like)
    • Beauty and the Beet (not specifically about Christmas, but winter themed and has Christmas music)
  • The Star
  • Joy to the World
  • So many short clips on the Church website!

 

Petting Zoo– if you can’t make it to a Live Nativity with a petting zoo, I definitely encourage you to seek out a petting zoo somewhere.  A couple years ago we started this tradition, I explained to my son that we would see some of the animals that were there when Jesus was born.  He hopped out of the car at the farm and immediately started calling out, “Jesus, where are you baby Jesus?!”  It was absolutely adorable.  I explained that we wouldn’t actually see baby Jesus, we would just see animals LIKE the ones that were there, but I think seeing the animals really helps make things more concrete for little ones.

 

Gingerbread Stables– this is a fun twist on gingerbread houses, and my kids love it.  We use sour patch kids for the people, a peach ring for the manger, and I get animal crackers for the animals.

 

Service Project– find a larger service project that your family can participate in together.  Here’s some ideas:

  • Treats and cards to the NICU or another group that is meaningful to your family (my 3 year old spent 10 days in the NICU so this is important to us)
  • Pick a Christmas tree angel or family to provide presents to.  Have the kids help pick out and wrap the gifts
  • Kits for asylum seekers and recently arrived refugees- my kids have loved helping to buy some of the items, putting them in a back pack and delivering them to a local assistance group.  We go through Gathering Humanity.
  • Food, coats, etc. to a homeless shelter

 

Christmas Eve– I like to make Middle Eastern food (lamb meat, goat cheese, pita bread or naan, olives, and baklava for dessert) and we eat by the light of an oil lamp similar to the ones they would have used in Christ’s time (admittedly I use a little tea light candle instead of oil).  Then we read and act out the Christmas Story from Luke 2.

 

Light the World activity ideas:

Here’s a few additional ideas to incorporate younger kids into the Light the World activities:

  • If you’re in an area with a Giving Machine– get over there!
  • Invite someone who might be lonely (like a widow, or someone living far away from family) over for dinner and/or one of your movie nights
  • Take treats and carol to some of your neighbors
  • Make cards for your primary teachers
  • Make cards and maybe a small gift* for school teachers
  • Set New Year’s Resolutions using the categories from Christ’s life- wisdom, stature, favor with God, and man.  I love this from the Friend to help younger kids set goals in these areas.

 

* I’m going to get on a little soap box about teacher gifts for a second- if you want more info on gift giving this time of year read my last post.  As a former teacher and the daughter of two current teachers, let me talk to you about teacher gifts.  As I said in the other post, I do not want this to come off as ungrateful, of course we are so grateful for students and their families thinking of us.  But at some point it can turn into a burden instead of a blessing.  So before you grab lotions, a candle, a knick knack, or a water bottle, etc. consider how well that would work if you got 30 of those a year every year.  For my mom, she can’t handle scented lotions or candles at all, so while it’s kind and sweet, she feels bad because she turns around and re-gifts, donates, or eventually just has to throw them away.  Candy, again, think 30 kids giving you sweets- ain’t nobody need that much sugar in their life.  Crafts made out of school supplies- I have heard unanimous agreement from teacher friends that rather than receiving a wreath made out of crayons, they would prefer just to receive the crayons.

So stick to a note from your kid, school supplies, and/or gift cards to places like Target or Amazon!  Because a note on gift cards, if you get small amounts to random places, you end up spending more of your own money, so at least with Target or Amazon, most people just shop there regularly anyway so even if it’s a small amount, it’s helping reduce their cost, but also they will probably get them from other people as well.

 

 

Photo by javier gonzalez from Pexels