"We're going do our best to just celebrate and make it feel special even though we can't be with all of our family and friends," says America Ferrera, who's teaming up with Estrella Jalisco to cover electric bills for other families

By Topher Gauk-Roger
December 10, 2020 10:08 AM
Credit: Estrella Jalisco

America Ferrera is making this unusual holiday season a bit brighter for families in need.

The actress has teamed up with Estrella Jalisco on their Holiday Lights Program to help people light up their houses for the holidays by giving free holiday lights and covering their electric bills.

"Obviously it's been a tough year for all of us — for some more than others — and this program brings some brightness and a little bit of relief to families during this holiday season," Ferrera tells PEOPLE exclusively.

With the Estrella Jalisco Holiday Lights Program, the beer brand and Ferrera are encouraging people to put up colorful holiday lights for the chance to win a gift card to cover home electric bills or additional decorative lights. To enter, reply to the Estrella Jalisco Holiday Lights Program social post using the hashtags #EstrellaLights and #Sweepstakes on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and be entered to win one of 400 $100 gift cards.

Ferrera, 36, is a mother of two and understands how challenging it can be for families to worry about electricity, a need only heightened by the current coronavirus pandemic.

"I was raised by a single mom, so I'm well aware of how much stress the electricity bill can be and what a relief it is to have the lights on, especially during the holidays," she says. "This time of year can be hard for people on a good year. We'd like to think of the holiday season as as a great, cheerful time, but it can also be a really difficult time."

"In a year where we don't get to easily be with the people we love and to be with our families, I think it's incredibly important that we all seek things that bring us joy, and also find opportunities to spread joy," Ferrera adds.

Like many, the star has been anxious for the holiday season to bring some much-needed joy to this difficult year. "I feel like I was ready to start Christmas in September," she says with a laugh. "I was like, let's move on to the holidays, let's start wrapping this year up!"

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The Emmy winner is the type of person to put up her holiday decorations as soon as she can, admitting, "My Christmas tree goes up the second Thanksgiving is over. That's my rule! Thanksgiving ends and then Friday, I go get my tree, and the first thing I do is put on all the lights. It truly makes me so happy and I usually keep my Christmas tree and my lights up way longer than it should be."

Although Ferrera doesn't keep them up all year, you can expect to see the festive display at her household well into the new year. "I definitely go into the next year most of the time. By the end of January, my husband's like, 'Okay time's up! The tree has to come down.'"

The former Superstore actress and producer reveals she and husband Ryan Piers Williams are keeping their holiday plans "super simple" this year, focusing on their two young children, son Sebastian "Baz" Piers, 2, and 7-month-old daughter Lucia Marisol.

"This is [Lucia's] first Christmas, which she'll never remember, but it's my 2-and-a-half year old's first Christmas really getting excited and and having an understanding about the holidays and celebrating," she says. "Luckily he doesn't know what he's missing from any other year, but we're going do our best to just celebrate and make it feel special even though we can't be with all of our family and friends."

Submissions for the Estrella Jalisco Holiday Lights Program are currently being accepted until December 17.