LIGHT the WORLD, 2016.

This year, our church put out an initiative to "Light the world" with little acts of service every day. They put out a video, and had a calendar of service ideas that would coincide with Christ's ministry while He was here on the earth.

You guys, I cannot even tell you how much participating in this changed our holiday season. Every year, we struggle between keeping our Christmas Christ-centered and trying not to get caught up in the commercialism of it all. And every year, we tend to do the latter. It's sad, but true! Usually by the time Christmas rolls around, Jordan and I are more uptight, stressed, and ready for the holidays to be over than we want to admit. But this year, the #LIGHTtheWORLD initiative changed so much of that for us.

We were much more focused on finding ways to find little acts of service we could do with the kids, rather than constantly stressing about the presents we still needed to buy. We aren't perfect by ANY means, and we definitely still had our moments of holiday chaos and stress, but this year was SO much better than years before. Our hearts were really touched by trying to "light the world," and I think that our kids' hearts were touched, too.

I always want to remember this year's Christmas season, so that we can try and do some of the same things in years to come! Here are just a few snapshots of some things we did in our small attempt to serve others this season.

One of the first things we did was write letters to the grandparents! Since all of our kids' grandmas and grandpas live in Utah, we don't get to see them a whole lot. It was so fun to write them cards and tell them how much we miss them.
^Holland wanted to join in too! He mostly just ate crayons and graham crackers. But he was cute doing it!^

Another day, we made cookies and delivered them to friends and neighbors. I think the kids had more fun making the mess than the cookies! Haha but hey, they're cute.
^Chocolate crinkles are some of my very favorites!^
^Cookie deliverers!^

One of our favorite things we did this year was to make "blessing bags," or bags filled with some supplies and food, for the homeless. The boys absolutely LOVED this. We went to the dollar store, and they helped me pick out things we could use for the bags, and then we went home and assembled them.

One of my favorite moments was when we were at the store, and I asked, "Okay guys, if you were homeless, what do you think you might want?" ...and without missing a beat, Boston said,

"Uh, A HOUSE!" haha. I was thinking more like toothpaste and gloves, but touche, Boston. You're most definitely right about that one. But if we couldn't give them a house, we thought making these bags was the next best option. (We are keeping them in our car, and we'll give them to any homeless people we see on the street!)
^Cam's face! That boy kills me.^
 They even made little Christmas cards to stick in each bag, which was completely their idea. It made my heart so happy to watch them hard at work! They are such sweet kiddos.
^The finished products!^
 For another act of service, we made and frosted some sugar cookies to deliver to one of our favorite "grandpas" in our ward who was in the hospital. They had a blast making the cookies, and it was seriously one of the most heart-warming visits to our friend that we have ever had. Brother Wolfe is such a sweet man!
^Sneaking some tastes of the frosting!^
^We love Brother Wolfe!^
 One night for Family Home Evening we had the boys each pick a child from the Angel Tree, and helped us pick out a few small gifts for them. It was so fun to see them run around the store shouting, "Oh mom, I think my boy would LOVE this present!" or "I would definitely like this for Christmas...so probably my kid would like it too." Haha. It was fun to watch their little minds focus on other kiddos and what they might need for a little while. 

Afterwards, we had to grab a little ice cream treat! Because what's FHE without treats??
^I have not stopped laughing over this photo. These boys have nooooo personality at all. Haha!^
^Holland was a BIG fan of the ice cream. Obviously.^
^Love this guy.^
 Another day, we focused on teachers! We are SO grateful for our kiddos' teachers and everything they do, so it was fun to wrap up some little gifts for them. The boys were very particular about which colored ribbons, paper, and tags we used for each teacher. It was pretty adorable to see how much they care about those sweet ladies!
^I sneakily took this photo to remember how to spell Boston's teacher's names. Haha!^

One night, we decided to join the youth of our church in spreading cheer through some Christmas carols around the neighborhood! It was approximately negative one hundred degrees (I might be exaggerating), but it was fun to get out and sing for a bit! 
^Notice Boston and Cam clear up there at the front of the pack. They were SO excited to be a part of the group!^
^Blurry selfie!^

Since Jordan is president of the Young Men's organization at church, we hosted all of the youth and their other leaders at our home for some hot chocolate and cookies after we were done caroling. I pretty much made the BIGGEST batch of homemade hot cocoa known to man...and we still ran out! We had such a big crowd. It was awesome!!
^Best homemade hot cocoa recipe ever. SO GOOD!^
^Holland, just entertaining the ladies. As usual.^
 Another day, the boys made thank you notes for our mailman. They were SO excited to give the mailman letters! It was even more adorable when the next day, the mailman wrote them each a Christmas card to say thank you. So sweet. It totally made their day!
^Camden's cute letter^
^Boston's letter with some awesome drawings^
^Cam's face!! Haha he was pumped!^
Another one of my favorite things the kids did for #LIGHTtheWORLD was to sing "I am a Child of God" together on video for our extended family members. It was pretty much the sweetest thing ever. I will always cherish that video!

We absolutely LOVED participating in the #LIGHTtheWORLD challenge this year. 
I hope we can repeat it again and again each year. 
It made for such a special holiday season! 

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