OPINION:All About Ashville: The best gift you'll receive

Nov. 24—Christmas is in the air everywhere. People are shopping and preparing. So many holiday events are on the horizon.

This Saturday, Nov. 29, is Christmas in the Pines Lights Drive Through. They promise an even more grand display than last year. Santa will be dropping by. As always, this will be a free event.

Santa will also be stopping by McSweeny's Dodge, Jeep and Ram in Pell City next weekend. Children are encouraged to bring their letters to take pictures and get goody bags. This is also a free event sponsored by The Arc of St.Clair, an organization dedicated to raising awareness for people with mental illnesses.

On Sunday, Dec. 4, Smokehouse BBQ and The BBQ Misfits are teaming up to host a motorcycle ride. It begins at 1 p.m. Register from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The cost is $20 per motorcycle and $5 per rider. Or just go and eat some barbecue and watch them ride. All proceeds go to Toys for Tots.

This is only the beginning, but these events remind us of the less fortunate during the holidays. We all want to help but many of us have limited resources and our own families' holidays to provide. Fortunately, there are ways in which what seems like a small contribution can be very big to those who receive it.

The Santa Clauses ringing bells outside Walmart are part of the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign. Each year, they raise hundreds of millions of dollars for families in need. That's just from the change in the bottoms of our pockets and purses. Often, we're busy shopping, so it is a good idea to have the money ready before leaving the car or the store. And, with every drop, know you are a small but necessary part of something great.

Many of us have those parties we have to attend and gifts we have to buy: offices, church groups, etc. Often we give gift card or generic gifts. Studies show nearly half of credit cards don't get used. Why not have your group sponsor a family in need? This is as easy as calling Toys for Tots, Salvation Army, often the local fire station. This is much better than just throwing your money away or yet another picture frame or slipper socks that get traded in a game of Dirty Santa.

If possible, try to get to be the one who delivers. You will be the one to see the gratitude on parents' faces and squeals of delighted children. That will be the best give you receive.