Dreaming of a Naples Christmas


Lois Bolin Old Naples Historian

Christmas is a wonderful time for kids of all ages– the aroma of once-a-year treats in the oven, the excitement of decorating for holiday festivities, the joy of being with family and friends, the anticipation of gifts under the tree – all the things that create warm memories that linger throughout our lives.

Many hope to awake to a snowy Christmas morning, even when the frosty precipitation is highly unlikely to fall where they live.

Why is the connection between snow and Christmas so strong? Experts say it’s because songs and stories, which bring back those mages year after year, have created the tradition of an idealized white Christmas holiday.

Ace Collins, author of “Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas,” said, “I don’t know that without “Jingle Bells” you would have had that direct association with snow in the United States because the majority of Americans don’t see snow over the holidays.”

While the song written in the mid-1800s, has nonmention of Christmas, the images of snow and sleighs became associated with winter merriment and happiness. This merriment was the inspiration for our 2018 City of Naples Christmas theme inspired by the drawing of eight-year old, Home School student, Haley Jacke, who said that while it doesn’t snow in Naples, we can dream.

Yes, we will be “Dreaming of a Naples Christmas”, which includes snow, Miss Haley, if you visit Third Street South Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday during Thanksgiving week and in December, your white Christmas will be every Thursday night at 7 pm.

Yes, it’s all about the kids, which is why we have the perfect Honorary Grand Marshall, Myra Janco Daniels, founder and former CEO of the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, Florida, responded to the plight of more than 10,000 school children in Collier County who came home every day to an empty house. Mrs. Daniels agreed to chair a capital campaign to raise $5 million dollars for the construction of The Salvation Army’s new Fran Cohen Youth Center, which was officially dedicated in April 2017 with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by local dignitaries, Latchkey League members, Salvation Army representatives and many others.

On Tuesday, December 11th at 6 pm, the City brings together children of all ages to enjoy the “new and improved” parade entries.Weaving their way from Third Street S. down to 5th Avenue S. rounding the bend towards City Hall on 8th Street S., entries will need to remain in full spirits to impress the judges and the Collier County Veterans and their kids or grandkids who have reserved seating across from City Hall.

Special thanks to the VFW 7721 and the 7221 Auxiliary for hosting the seating. Can’t make it to the parade? Not to worry – tune to the City’s Comcast Channel 98 to watch the parade live as it passes City Hall. You can also watch live streaming on naplesgov.com and on Facebook.

If you are busy shopping, don’t forget to set your DVRs. The filming is sponsored by SWFL Veterans Alliance and hosted by Dr. Lois Bolin along with a surprise co-host.

Speaking of Veterans and kids, we have a good combination of both in our co-host who sport a never-ending smile. Garrett Richter, CEO of First Florida Integrity Bank, and a Vietnam Veteran, who was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, a Bronze Star and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, is dreaming of Naples Christmas and the fun he is going to have.

Our Honorary Judges will command their post at City Hall with the daunting task of determining the 9 category winners, who will receive their awards in front of City Council the following week.

We thank Reg and Sandra Buxton of Life in Naples magazine for being our Grand Prize sponsor and Matt Moen for hosting a nice cream social for our parade Theme Contest winner as well as our long-time supporters, Naples Princess, Barbatella, Sea Salt, Philip Douglas Salon and Whitman Designs.

The Committee, Judges and film crew look forward to sharing in a moment to slow down and remember the meaning of it all.

Until next year, we wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and, Happy New Year and hope your best days in 2018are your worst days in 2019.

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