'tis the season for giving.

I know that I've mentioned about a thousand times on this blog that I love Christmas music. I mean, I LOVE it. I've got holiday cds by everyone from Elvis Presley to The Barenaked Ladies. Michael Buble to Mariah Carey.

Will has even been bitten by the holiday bug...he's been listening to Christmas tunes since the day after Thanksgiving. A couple of days ago, he came home with a couple of new cds. One was by the Transsiberian Orchestra. I proceeded to make fun of him for the remainder of the day...."Transsiberian Orchestra? What is that all about? That music is no good!" (I later realized that I had confused Transsiberian Orchestra with a much cheesier group, Manheim Steamroller. Oops!) So after he introduced me to their music, I fell in love with one particular song.

It's called The Old City Bar. Which, of course, doesn't sound very Christmas-y. But the tune was slow and sort of relaxing, the singer's rough voice entrancing. The first few times I listened, I merely hummed along. But then, I found myself listening a bit closer....picking up on the lyrics. This morning as I sat, heeding the words that blared from my speakers as the Transsiberian Orchestra sang my newfound favorite holiday song, I found myself in tears as I listened to the following verse: 

If you want to arrange it
This world you can change it
If we could somehow make this
Christmas thing last

By helping a neighbor
Or even a stranger
And to know who needs help
You need only just ask

It's easy to get wrapped up in yourself during the Christmas season. It's so easy to get caught up in thinking about what you want for Christmas, or all the things you wish that you had. If only we could realize that there are so many people out there that are truly needy, in a multitude of ways.

 Some need warm clothes, or a safe place to sleep. Others simply need a friend, or a helping hand.

Your elderly neighbor may need help hanging her Christmas wreath, while the children down the road may need a present under their tree.

Someone you know may be terribly lonely this holiday season.

Times are hard due to the state of the economy. You may think that you can't help the needy because you can't do so monetarily....but think of all the other ways you CAN help.

-donate those canned goods that are stocked in your pantry
-volunteer your time to help serve meals at your local homeless shelter
-drop off a load of clothes that you no longer wear at the Salvation Army
-pick up the phone and call someone that you know has recently lost a loved one
-prepare a meal for someone that you know is homebound for the holidays

And like the song said, we can change this world. Let's spread around some Christmas spirit.

In the morning, Will and I are going to pack 1500 bags full of donated toys for tots that will be distributed to the needy children of our community. All we need to do this is a little bit of time, and willing hands to help. Easy as pie....and how great we will feel afterwards!

 'tis the Season for Giving....I'd love to hear about how you plan to help someone out this Christmas?

{image via weheartit}


Brooke said...


Sands said...

Those lyrics have me all teary eyed, oh god, it's so inspiring! It's true that we get too caught up during the Christmastime. When we are actually one of the luckiest people out there. Happiness never decreases by being shared. Thanks for sharing these lovely words, Ashley!


thedemuremuse.com said...

Ashley, you're such a sweetheart! I hope you have a great time at the community center packing the toys! It sounds like a great way to spread some holiday cheer.

ashley.warner said...

my family just had our christmas party, but it was a service project party!

we tied 2 quilts for the humanitarian center in Salt Lake City, we made 25 sack lunches for the homeless shelter, and we also wrote letters to soldiers!

it made me appreciate the meaning of Christmas more (CHRIST).

Happy Christmas dear!

Diana Smith said...

wow 1500 bags!? You are sooo awesome. Its true, we all get so caught up in presents and gifts that we need to help those who don't have as much! You are such a great example!

Natasha said...

This is such a great post. I will tell you a story that happend a few weeks ago.
We were in the "city" doing some Christmas shopping, and I found an amazing make-up pallet to buy my sis-in-law, but I also wanted to buy one for myself...so I asked the lady if they had any left, and she said "only one"...so I said "bummer I wanted to buy one for myself too, but that's ok, I just get the one for her"...so after I made my purchase the lady took the display pallet off the stand and started sanitizing it and said "here this one's for you"...I was a little confused and said "for what? how much?" and she said "for Christmas!"...I was thirlled, thanked her a million times and wished her a Merry Christmas and was on my way.
Later that night we were at the grocery store and were walking out with the groceries, Brody had Vyla and the cart of groceries, me just my purse...I noticed a lady outside ahead of us struggling with a large box of groceries, so I threw my purse in the cart and told Brody I'd be back...I reached the lady and told her I was going to help her carry the box...she replied that she was taking it to her house a few blocks over....so I told her that she could put her stuff in our vehicle, and we'd take her and the groceries home...a few seconds later the box broke, and there were groceries everywhere. In the end her and her groceries arrived home safely!
Brody and I had been listening to a Joe Nichols song earlier that week about the circle of giving or something like that...and I said to him "see it was the circle of giving!!" and he replied (confused) "oh so you started the circle?"...so I informed him that no...for me the lady at the beauty counter of the store had started it, but possibly someone before her had actually started it, and I was just passing it on....so hopefully the lady we helped would pass it on too.

Wow that was long! haha...but anyways doing something so litle for someone can often make their day...and oftentimes it can go further than that!

lindsay said...

this is a wonderful post with a much needed reminder. matthew and i are sponsoring a family with his parents. the reward of giving a family much needed clothing and a few toys that they will use until next christmas is so rewarding.

every day i wake up grateful for the things that i have...i realize more and more just how lucky i am and that i have the ability to share something with someone else that will truly appreciate it...and most importantly they NEED it!

thank you again lovely for this reminder. you are amazing!

Della said...

I re: to your question, I'm 5'7"-ish. :)

Great post! It's so hard to remember to give but at the same time it's so easy! It doesn't have to be big!

Hope your baby is feeling tons better!

Jeannie said...

Ashley this is a good post. I am so glad you and Will volunteered to help out today. I enjoy reading the comments to see how other people give back to their community by helping others. Awesome.

-Sam I Am- said...

I love this!!

Nothing beats a good song that touches your soul.. nothing ;)

{av} said...

great music = happiness. loved this post! we helped decorate our church and I volunteered in a soup kitchen earlier this month. I also sent care packages to all my cousins...it always brings a smile to my face and makes me feel better knowing someone else is better off! wonderful post :) xoxo {av}

Melanie said...

For some reason I couldn't get the sound to work on the video, but I'm totally in the holiday spirit. I've decorated my cubicle at work and have been making cookies like it's going out of style.

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Michele said...

Hi there! Fellow Bama blogger here...found you through location central. :) Your blog is BEAUTIFUL! I'm so glad to have found another Bama blogger. Can't wait to read more.

Santa 4 a day said...

Well Swoop, To day was great and I and so thankful to have shared it with you. I cought myself many times through out the day watching you. You would take each bag (What I am going to call a Santa Bag) and study the toys so hard to try and pick out just the right gift for each child. I have never seen so many people singing Christmas songs out loud for all to hear and working together so well. Everyone was happy never upset. You are a beautiful!

You should listen to me more often on my music. Oh and by the way. Manheim Steamroller is good to!!


Meri said...

I'm a sucker for the super ridiculously lit up houses and stores- the more "Christmas Vacation" it is, the better :)

vintch said...

how have i never heard of this song? thank you for sharing-it has been on repeat on my headphones at work:)

and i love what you said about sometimes we don't have to give our money to help people out. that is such a common misconception. more often than not, i believe people would actually appreciate your time MORE than money. helping out is so easy to do, yet so hard when we try to fit it into our christmas activities.

so a solution? MAKE IT our christmas activities, and let all the gift shopping, list making and hurry/scurrying fall into place around it, rather than the other way around.

beautiful post, as always.

michelle_ said...

thanks for bringing the holiday spirit up !!
i live in a muslim-dominated country., we have xmas songs and stuff in the malls, but i dont feel "that" christmas spirit i get overseas !

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