See that spike right there? That’s what happens to our traffic on this website around Halloween. People really wonder if members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrate Halloween. I hope that those who wonder got a little more insight into that answer (short answer — the if, how, and how much varies for everyone, but on the whole, the answer is yes).

I hope we will have fewer people wondering about whether or not we celebrate Christmas (although some still may wonder, given the pagan connections to some of the Christmas traditions).

At the very heart of our faith is Jesus Christ, so when the birth of the Son of God is celebrated around the world, you can believe that we celebrate with the world! To us, He is the the Life and Light of the World. Once again, when it comes to how individuals and families might celebrate the Christmas season, that will vary.

But this post is about one way we as a worldwide church community celebrate the season. It’s called #LightTheWorld.

The intention is to turn the Christmas season into a month-long focus on service. This year, the #LightTheWorld effort has been expanded to say “Light the World with Love.”

There’s a calendar of service ideas if you and/or you and your family would like to join in along the way. Or you can create your own service calendar. There’s also a child-friendly service calendar for those who have little ones.

And although the pandemic is still here with us, this year, the #LightTheWorld Giving Machines are back.*

If you haven’t heard of the #LightTheWorld Giving Machines, you can read more here. What started as an experiment a few years ago has expanded into a continually-collaborative effort in multiple cities across the United States, with nonprofits that serve people around the world. 100% of donations go to help the charity you choose, and the charities with which the Church collaborates all care about helping people one by one, just as Jesus did.

All credit card fees are covered by the Church of Jesus Christ to also serve the nonprofits to which you are donating.

Imagine swiping your credit card at a vending machine—but instead of buying a candy bar for yourself, you’re buying a sheep for a family in a third-world country. Or a polio vaccine. Or a pair of shoes. Or 100 meals for your local food bank. With the #LightTheWorld Giving Machines, that’s exactly what happens. The Giving Machines provide a way for people to follow the example of Jesus to help those in need and make the Christmas season a little more meaningful for themselves and for countless others.

You can also give online by donating to one of the charity partners working with the Church to do more good, together. Or, of course, feel free to donate to your favorite charity, with time or goods or funds or a social media share or whatever feels right for you.

The organizations featured in the Giving Machines represent a wide variety of global and local causes—all with pressing needs and the goal of helping people one by one. If you’re wondering what you should donate, consider spending a bit of time learning about the charities before visiting the machines or donating online. You might find a cause or item that resonates with you. As you give that gift, remember that your donation is truly helping someone in need.

#LightTheWorld starts on November 30 by encouraging people to participate in #GivingTuesday. There are so many ways to share more light and goodness and love. Although we can’t measure it here, we hope that this Christmas season, there will be a spike in service and good will as we each try to find ways to #LightTheWorld.

*As COVID is, unfortunately, still causing issues around the world, and there are those around you whose bodies may be more at-risk, please be cautious and considerate of others if you choose to use the machines and as you are out and about this Christmas season.