DIY: Light the World Service Christmas Tree Tradition

I’m so excited to finally share our Light The World Service Christmas Tree!!!! It’s a fun and beautiful way to teach your kids about service during Christmas time. I initially shared it over on my stories (@twistmepretty) and was overwhelmed with the positive response. It’s probably the best idea I’ve ever had…said brushing dirt off my shoulder haha. Okay, so let me tell me you a little bit about it and where the idea came from.

Light The World Service Christmas Tree 

Light the World Calendar

Every December my church puts out this amazing “Light the World” calendar. It’s an amazing resource for families to remember service projects and become closer to Christ.  Christ is the ultimate example of service and December is the perfect time to slow down and remember what matters most. The calendar helps give ideas on how you can serve in your community (big or small), in your family and in your faith.  We had such an amazing experience participating in it last year that when I saw this little tree at Target I had this ah-ha moment… and our Light the World tree was born!! 

Capturing Service

Every time our family participates in service, I snap a picture of it on our little polaroid camera. I plan on writing the date and the event on each of the cards. Then, I hang them up on our tree! I took these pictures the first week of December because I had every intention on sharing this earlier but alas– time slows down for no one! It’s a lot more full now and I’ll share some new pictures of it next year. You get the idea though.

So the tree is full of pictures and I’ve started collecting little baby ornaments to put on them!  We’ve also collected a couple little scribbles from the kids, our Christmas card and Polar Express tickets.  I plan on pulling it out every year and adding more memories to the tree.

The Camera

Fuji Film Instax Mini 8 | Fuji Film Instax Mini 70

We’ve had this little Instax camera for a couple years and I’ve used it occasionally. This year we’ve obviously used it a bunch more and every time I’m so disappointed in the picture quality.  I’m looking into other options for next year… possibly the 70?  Do any of you have any recommendations on good polaroids? My niece told me the color in the photo will develop better if you set it in a dark space, like in a book. This has made the colors develop more true but I still feel like there might be something better out there?!

Weekly Service Themes

Week One: Light the World

The theme of the first week in December was “Light the World,” so everyone focused on ways to serve those in need globally. My sister and I went to Walmart with the kids one night and purchased everything we needed to make hygiene kits for refugees. A few days later, she brought over chicken noodle soup and we made treats and hot chocolate. We learned about the refugees and started putting the kits together. It didn’t take much effort at all and the learning experience for my kids was priceless. It helped them understand just how amazing their lives are, hopefully helped them experience some gratitude for their circumstances and ignite a small burning in their little hearts to do more for others.

Week Two: Light Your Community

The second week was “Light Your Community,” and one of our favorite projects was making our neighbors little treats! I took so many pictures of it and I’ll share that in another blog post – probably next year haha, but you can watch what we did in my Instagram highlights titled “Christmas”.

Week Three: Light Your Family

The third week was “Light Your Family.” Our big activity that week was hosting all my family (30+ people!) for dinner and then doing the nativity with the kids. All the kids dress up and we have a narrator that reads the story of the Savior’s Birth while singing Christmas hymns in between.  This is one of my personal favorite events in December!  Life just gets so busy and it’s one of the few times my side of the family gets together and slows down.

Week Four: Light Your Faith

The final week is “Light Your Faith.”  This week we’ve been focusing on reading the scriptures as a family and making prayer a bigger priority in our lives.  

How It’s Made Us Feel

This little tree, in tandem with the Light the World calendar, has brought our family together in ways I couldn’t even have imaged. Service and gratitude are beautiful things and they’re often times forgotten in a loud world full of needing and wanting more more more!  It’s so great to know that when we slow down and remember the reason for the season, when we think of Christ and try to be like Him, try to lift as He lifts– that we are blessed beyond measure. We are so grateful for what He has given us, and we love building this tradition with our family.

Christmas is our favorite holiday! It’s not because of all the presents or all the treats and fun activities… It’s because we work a little harder on having the light of Christ in our home.

I know it’s a little late to participate in the Light the World campaign this year, but save this post for next year! When Christmas rolls around and you’re looking for ways to get involved and honor our Saviors birth, you’ll know where to find some great resources! I hope you guys have a Merry Christmas and I’m so grateful for all you have done for my family and I. This blog wouldn’t be possible without people reading it. More than that, you have lifted me up through some dark times and I’ll always cherish you for being there for me when I needed it most!

And for those of you who are new to the blog– welcome! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe! Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! 


Abby Smith

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