Easy Ways To Light The World This Year!
Have you heard about Light The World? It’s a campaign my church puts on every year to encourage individuals, families, and communities to serve those around them throughout the month of December. I love participating in this month of service! It’s been the best way for me and my family to remember what the holiday season is all about. Here are 101 frugal ideas to light the world. I hope they will inspire you to spread goodness and light, without having to break the bank!
Frugal Ways To Serve Your Community
There are so many people working hard in our community. I love being able to pay it back to them through a little more service and love.
1. Smile at a stranger.
When walking through the store look up and smile at those around you. You never know who just might need a little pick me up!
2. Donate a gently used toy to a local charity.
Look through your kids toys and books and find (one or two or five) to donate to a local charity.
3. Visit a nursing home to talk with the residents.
Stop by a local nursing home to get to know some of the elderly who live there. Ask them about their life and listen to their stories. Visit them again a few weeks later to continue to develop the relationship.
4. Stop and help a stranger who is having car problems.
If you notice someone on the side of the road needing help, stop and see if you can help. Look for opportunities to serve a stranger in need. Sometimes if we aren’t looking for them, it’s hard to see them!
5. Gather all of the grocery carts in the parking lot and return them back to the store.
Help a store employee by gathering all of the grocery carts in a parking lot and returning them to the store so that someone else doesn’t have to do it!
6. Ask a cashier how their day is going.
The next time you are checking out at a store, ask the cashier how they are. Genuinely listen as they tell you. Leave them with a smile and a thank you!
7. Donate food items to your local food bank.
Look around the house and collect some non-perishable food items from around your house and donate them to a local food bank.\
8. Deliver homemade treats to your local police or fire department.
9. Hold the door open for someone at the store.
Let someone else go into the store in front of you while you hold the door open for them. This is such a simple, but kind gesture!
10. Donate blood to the Red Cross.
The Red Cross always needs more blood donations, this is such a selfless way to serve. You can check the American Red Cross website to find a blood drive happening in your area.
11. Put coins in an expired meter.
If you walk past a meter that has expired, help someone out by dropping a few coins in to keep it going.
12. Pick up litter.
Go to a local park, or walk alongside the road, and pick up any trash and litter that was left behind.
13. Compliment someone on an opposing sports team.
If you attend or participate in a sporting event, give someone on the opposing team a sincere compliment. Look for their talent, and let them know that you see it.
14. Donate gently used makeup to a women’s shelter.
You can light the world in your community by donating some of your makeup to a women’s shelter. Make sure it is only gently used and still in good, usable condition.
15. Run a 5k for a good cause.
Research any races happening in your area. Choose one that is raising funds for a good cause and sign up to participate.
My sister and I use to run a 5k every year to help fight Breast Cancer, it was such a great experience to do together and to help spread awareness.
16. Check out the Just Serve website and choose a few service opportunities in your area to do.
The Just Serve website (and app) is full of service opportunities in many areas. All you have to do is go to the website and enter in your zip code. You will be shown a list of needs and suggestions of what you can do to help. Take a look at it and find a few things you can help with where you live.
17. Start recycling.
If you don’t already recycle, consider starting now to help keep our earth clean and healthy. Research how to get a recycling dumpster at your house, or find a few around town you can bring your items to recycle.
18. Thank a veteran for their service.
Call a veteran and thank them for their service. Let them know how much you appreciate them.
19. Compliment a mother with young kids.
If you come across a mother with young kids at the grocery store, pay her a compliment. The chances are she’s trying to get her grocery store shopping as quickly as she can and feels a little stressed.
All it takes is a simple, “You have well behaved kids, you must be a good mom” to change her day!
20. Donate a warm coat to the homeless shelter.
Look through your coats, gloves, hats, boots, etc. and find a few that are in good shape to donate to a local homeless shelter.
21. Leave a kind review for a local business.
Spend a few minutes leaving positive reviews online for local businesses that you enjoy. This is such an easy way to help a business succeed.
22. Offer your seat on the bus to someone.
While riding on the bus or train, offer your seat to someone who is in need of a seat.
23. Volunteer at your local animal shelter.
Are you an animal lover? Contact your local animal shelter to ask how you can help serve them. Many animal shelters need help walking, caring for, and playing with each of the animals, which is so much fun to do!!
24. Donate gently used books to your local library.
Find some gently used books in your home to donate to your local library. This is easy to do, but you might want to call your library to ask if they have any specific needs.
- Related: 10 Free Things At The Public Library
25. Have a yard sale and donate your earnings to a charity.
If the weather is nice consider having a yard sale to earn money for a charity. Let people name their price for each item you are selling and tell them where their money will be going so they can help participate in light the world!
26. Share a link to a fundraiser on your social media accounts.
Find a link to a fundraiser or charity you want to support and share it on social media to help spread the message and to give others the opportunity to donate.
27. Volunteer to clean your local church.
Bring your family to clean your local church. This is a great way to work together to do some good in your community!
28. Serve food at a soup kitchen.
You might want to consider volunteering to serve food at a soup kitchen nearby.
29. Let someone cut in front of you while standing in line.
An easy way to light the world in your community is to let someone cut in front of you in line. Whenever someone does this for me it changes my entire day and helps me to see the good in the world!
30. Volunteer to read to kids at a local hospital.
Call a local hospital and ask if you can come read books to kids who are staying in the hospital. This can be such a rewarding experience for everyone involved!
31. Candy Cane Bomb a parking lot.
A great way to serve your community is to candy cane bomb a parking lot! This is done by leaving uplifting notes attached to candy canes on windshields in a parking lot.
32. Send Christmas cards to soldiers.
Let’s support our soldiers this year by sending them Christmas cards. This is a great activity to get your kids involved in. The entire family can help make cards and to write sweet messages inside. You can learn more about this cause here.
33. Donate used electronics and gadgets to a local community center to use.
I have a few old phones just sitting around my house that we never use. These have just been collecting dust ever since I upgraded. If you can relate to this at all, consider donating these electronics to a local community center to use.
34. Volunteer to coach a youth sports team.
Youth sport leagues are always in need of volunteer coaches. If you enjoy sports and working with kids, you might enjoying offering yourself as a coach. As a parent with kids who participate in sports I greatly appreciate the time these coaches give to the community.
35. Learn CPR or another life saving skill.
You can serve your community, and those close to you, by learning CPR. This gives you the ability to possibly save someone’s life and is an important skill for us all to know.
36. Tape quarters to a machine at the laundry mat.
Leave a fun surprise for someone at the laundry mat by paying to do their laundry for them. All you have to do is tape a few quarters to some machines at the laundry mat, and you will make someone’s day!
Frugal Ways To Serve Your Neighborhood
Are you looking for some free ways to light the world in your neighborhood and with your friends? Here are a few ideas to get you started!
37. Call a friend you haven’t talked to for a while.
Think of a friend you haven’t talked to in a while and call them on the phone, just to chat (no texting!).
38. Invite a friend to join your family for dinner.
If you are going to be cooking dinner anyways, you might as well invite a friend to join your family! Maybe think of someone in the neighborhood who might be lonely and invite them over to join your family for dinner.
39. Shovel a neighbors driveway.
The next time it snows and you are out shoveling your driveway, go next door and shovel their driveway too!
40. Go caroling around your neighborhood.
Does your family enjoy singing? Go door to door one evening and carol to a few of your neighbors. This is such a fun way to bring a smile to someone’s face.
41. Share a happy memory with a friend.
Think of a friend that you share a happy memory with. Send that friend a text and tell them about the memory. Hopefully it brings some light and laughter into both of your days.
42. Offer to babysit a neighbors kids.
Is there someone in your neighborhood who might be in need of a babysitter for their kids? Offer to babysit for them so that they can run errands, get things done around the house, or just have a little free time.
43. Read a friends blog articles.
If you have a blogger friend make sure to spend some time reading their blog articles. This is an easy, but huge, way to support your friends business.
44. Make and deliver cookies to your neighbors.
One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the goodies! And I love sharing these with my neighbors. Bake a batch of cookies and bring a plate of them over to your neighbors.
- Related: Christmas Tree Cookie Recipe
45. Rake leaves for your neighbor.
Look around the neighborhood and find a few houses whose leaves need to be raked. Without letting anyone know, go rake them and dispose of the leaves.
46. Volunteer to help a friend pack or move.
If you know someone who is moving off yourself to help them pack or to move their boxes. This is a great way to make a stressful time a little bit easier for your friend.
47. Forgive someone who has hurt you.
Are you holding a grudge towards someone who has wronged you. Try to find a way to let it go and to offer that person forgiveness.
48. Help someone put up their Christmas lights.
If you see someone outside hanging their lights, stop and offer to help! This is a job that always goes much better with more hands!
49. Offer to run errands for someone.
Try to think of someone who might have a hard time getting out of the house, maybe someone elderly, sick, or just busy. Offer to go pick up their groceries, or run a few other errands for them.
50. Bring flowers to a friend.
Pick up some pretty flowers from the store, or pick a few wildflowers, and deliver them to a friend. You could bring them to somebody who is having a bad day, or just as a random act of kindness.
51. Scrape ice off your neighbors windshield.
Wake up a little early one morning and scrape the ice off of one of your neighbors cars so that they won’t have to.
52. Leave supportive and kind comments on your friends Facebook posts.
As you scroll Facebook or Instagram make an effort to leave kind and supportive comments on their posts. It always feels good to know others are reading and caring what we post!
53. Highlight someone you admire on social media.
Think of someone in your life who you look up to and admire. Post about them on one of your social media accounts to let others know about the great qualities you admire in that person.
54. Bring a friend a cup of homemade hot chocolate.
If the weather is feeling cold and dreary mix up some hot chocolate and bring it over to a friend. You just might make their entire day!
55. Visit a widow in your neighborhood.
Spend an afternoon visiting a widow who lives in your neighborhood. Genuinely listen to their stories and get to know them. Try to form a friendship that will last a lifetime!
56. Teach others a talent for free.
Do you have a special talent you can help others learn how to do? Maybe you could offer to teach them for free. This might be giving free music lessons, teaching how to sew, or gifting a free photoshoot to a family. Whatever you do best, share it with others!
57. Invite your neighbors over for a family game night.
Call up a few of your neighbors and invite them over for a family game night. This is a great way to laugh, get to know each other, and have a fun evening.
- Related: 20 Family Board Games, all Under $20
58. Mow a neighbors lawn.
Light the world in your neighborhood by mowing someone’s lawn for them. Try to think of someone who could use some extra help in the yard, and go mow without even mentioning it to them!
59. Leave a thank you note in your mailbox for your mail carrier.
Let your mail carrier know how much you appreciate them by leaving a thank you note to them in your mailbox! I love this easy way to brighten someone’s day!
60. Decorate a neighbors driveway with sidewalk chalk.
Another great way to serve your neighbors for free is to draw pictures and uplifting messages on their driveway and sidewalk. Just make sure there isn’t any rain coming that day!
61. Apologize to someone who you might have wronged.
Is there someone who you might have hurt in the past (or maybe present)? Take some time to apologize to them and to repair the relationship.
62. Offer to clean someone’s house who just had a baby.
Do you know of a new mother in your neighborhood? Or maybe someone who is expecting a child? Offer to clean their house (or at least a bathroom, or two) for them so that they can rest.
63. Brings a neighbors dumpster back to their house on garbage day.
After the trash has been picked up in your neighborhood bring the dumpsters back to the house for a few of your neighbors so that they won’t have to do it!
64. Buy lemonade from a lemonade stand.
The next time you pass by a child selling lemonade, stop and buy some from them. This small gesture can make a huge difference to young kids.
65. Introduce yourself to a neighbor you haven’t met.
Is their a neighbor you haven’t had the chance to meet yet? Take a few minutes to go introduce yourself and get to know them better.
66. Compliment your friend’s children.
Honestly, one of the best ways to serve a friend who has kids, is to compliment their kids. Tell your friend what you love and admire about their kids and you will make their day!
Free Ways To Serve Your Family
I love the opportunity to serve my family! Sometimes I think it’s easy to ignore the ones closest to us, and light the world gives us motivation to remember everyone, including our family members. Here are some light the world ideas for your family.
67. Write a letter to a grandparent.
Spend some time writing a letter to one (or all!) of your grandparents. Let them know the things that you appreciate and admire about them. Make sure to share a few memories with them to help them smile.
68. Decorate a family members bedroom door.
To serve one of your family members you live with you could decorate their bedroom door. Cut out hearts, or draw some fun pictures to tape to their door. Make sure to leave a few uplifting messages to0!
69. Call your parents, just to chat.
Give your parents a phone call just to ask how they are doing. Spend some time visiting about their day and let them know you love them!
70. Leave notes in your kids lunchboxes.
Write a few notes to your kids and hide them in their lunchboxes. My kids love when they are surprised like this at lunch!
71. Go around the table at dinner and tell each family member what you love about them.
Have a special family dinner where you tell each other what you love about each other. Give everyone a chance to have kind words shared about them. This is a great bonding activity for families!
72. Leave a note on your spouses car windshield.
Sneak over to your spouses work and leave a love note on their windshield. The note will be a fun surprise for them to find after work!
73. Spend one entire day without your phone.
Make a conscious effort to put your phone away for one entire day. Try to choose a day when you aren’t expecting any important phone calls. Use this extra time away from your phone to interact more with your family and others around you.
74. Interview your grandparents about what life when they were growing up.
Set up a camera and spend an afternoon interviewing/recording your grandparents. Ask them questions about what life was like when they were growing up. This will be a special video you can share with other family members!
75. Make a list of 100 things you are grateful for and share it with a family member.
Sit down for a few minutes and think of all the many things you have to be thankful for. Write them all down, try to think of 100, and share them with a family member. This will brighten both of your days!
76. Tell your child you are proud of them.
Let your kids know that you are proud of them. You could write them a note, send them a text, or just tell them face to face. This is something we all need to hear from time to time.
77. Hug a family member for 8 seconds.
Give a family member a huge for 8 seconds before letting go. Studies have shown that an 8 second hug will release oxytocin, which helps you to feel calm and loved.
78. Read a book to someone in your family.
Sit down with a few of your kids, siblings, or grandkids and read them a book.
79. Speak kindly to yourself for an entire day.
Make an effort to spend one day giving yourself compliments! You deserve to be treated with kindness too!
80. Eat lunch with your child at school.
Surprise your child at school by showing up to eat lunch with them! You can make it even extra special by bringing a pizza, or their favorite takeout food.
81. Leave a love note in your spouses lunch box.
Slip a love note into your spouses lunch box before they go to work. Make sure they won’t see it until lunch time!
82. Leave a kind note on a mirror in your home.
Use a dry eraser marker to leave a kind note on a mirror in your home. It will be such a fun surprise for someone to come home to after a long day!
83. Secretly make one of your siblings beds.
Sneak into one of your siblings bedrooms to make their bed for them.
84. Learn about an ancestor.
Research about one of your ancestors to learn more about their life. Share the stories you find with your family so that the ancestor can be remembered and celebrated.
85. Surprise your family by cleaning the house, without being asked to.
Clean the house (or just a part of the house) without anyone asking or expecting you to. Your family will love coming home to a clean house!
86. Compliment your sibling.
Give your sibling a compliment, just because. You might want to tell them their hair looks nice, or they are a good cook, or anything else you might notice about your siblings.
87. Make your spouse breakfast in bed.
Quietly wake up before your spouse and make them their favorite breakfast. Serve it to them in bed and let them rest and relax before having to get up.
Free Ways To Serve Your School/Work Place
School and work places can be a hard environment for many people. I think it’s so important to look for ways to serve your peers all year. Here are some ways to light the world at school or in the work place.
88. Write a thank you note to one of your teachers.
Write your teacher a thank you note to let them know how much you appreciate them and all they do for their students.
89. Tell a joke to someone to make them laugh.
Share one of your favorite jokes with a friend to make them laugh, and then listen to let them share a joke with you.
90. Get to know a co-worker better.
Try to talk to a new co-worker who you don’t know very well. Ask them questions about their life and interests and genuinely listen to their responses.
91. Befriend someone who looks lonely.
Look for someone who might be lonely at recess and introduce yourself to them. Invite them to play with you and try to become their friend.
92. Bring baked goods to your co-workers.
Surprise your co-workers with some homemade baked goods.
- Related: Easy Banana Bread Recipe
93. Stick up for someone who is being gossiped about.
If you hear a friend, classmate, or school member being gossiped about, stick up for them! Kindly let the gossipers know not to talk that way and then change the subject.
94. Donate to a teachers wish list.
Ask your local school for some of the wish lists the teachers have. Buy a few items off that list to donate to the school and teacher.
95. Write your employer a thank you card.
Write your employer a thank you card to thank him for the job you have and for being a good boss.
96. Leave a kind note on a co-workers desk.
Secretly leave a kind note on one of your co-workers desk. In the note you could share a few things you appreciate and admire about them.
97. Volunteer to be a school crossing guard.
Many schools need crossing guards to help the kids cross the road safely. Volunteer to do it for free!
98. Sit with someone new at lunch.
Sit by someone you don’t usually sit by at lunch. This is a great way to meet more people and make new friends.
99. Donate a sick day to a co-worker.
Offer one of your sick days or paid leave to a co-worker who has been ill or struggling with a family emergency.
100. Offer to make copies for your child’s teacher.
You could light the world at school by offering to make copies, put up a bulletin, or help your child’s teacher in any other way they might need.
101. Tell the principal how much you appreciate a teacher.
Make sure the school principal knows how much you appreciate your child’s teacher. Sometimes a compliment means more when it is told behind someone’s back.
There Are Many Ways To Light The World
I hope you this article gave you some great light the world ideas. There are so many ways we can light the world and brighten someone’s day, without ever having to spend a lot of our own money.
I truly believe if we all make it a little more effort to love others we can change the world for the better!