The Heart of a Naples Christmas

by Lois Bolin

Old Naples Historian

Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol was released on December 19, 1843, and has never been out of print since. Its timeless character, Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy, bitter, stingy man said, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas,’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding!” Yet, on one Christmas Eve, Scrooge is transformed.


The newly released movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas, captured the tale of Scrooge and how one writer and one book revived the most noted holiday of the Western world.

Few know of the story of a debt-ridden and dejected Charles Dickens who wrote this small book just before Christmas in 1843 – a book he had hoped would keep him from debtor’s prison. After his publisher rejected his manuscript, Dickens used what little funds he had to self publish, A Christmas Carol.

Magically, Dickens’ book breathed new life into a holiday that had fallen into disfavor, weakened by lingering Puritanism and the cold trendiness of the Industrial Revolution. Yes, Victorian England was in dire need of an antidote for the country’s malnourished souls and Dickens’ imagination was just the tonic it needed. This Tiny Tim size booklet ignited a spiritual renewal throughout the land because it stroked a universal longing in the masses and that longing was inner peace.


When Christmas is over, we can count on the breakdowns – the taking down of lights, ornaments and evergreens as well as the meltdowns – facing large crowds to return those “what were they thinking” gifts and holding off those sugar cravings as we threaten the kids with no more pie, cake or X-Box until they write those thank you notes.

Who can forget Hurricane Irma when many were without water, gas and lights for weeks on end? While there were no lights in many communities there was another kind of light, which cast a glow across Southwest Florida. Without an organized central agency, other than our first responders and those awesome linemen from around the country, local citizens launched into overdrive to help their neighbors far and wide.

While I cannot mention all who played a role in those efforts, I would like to mention a few individuals that I had the pleasure of working with: Katie Schweikhardt, Kristin Downey, Amber Philips, Kathy Holbrook, Kristin Wearden, Sara Cox, Don Treglow, and Jon Bates.


Carrying this light forward, on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, the City of Naples Christmas parade will once again bring together children of all ages with its theme, The Heart of a Naples Christmas, which is dedicated to our first responders and volunteers who came together in our community’s time of need.

Our Honorary Grand Marshall, who will serve with our Grand Marshall, Mayor Bill, is 92 years young and long time city resident, Polly Crews, who is still volunteering. This past year she helped to launch the SWFL Gold Star Mothers chapter.

Our Honorary Judges will command their post at the corner of 5th Ave South and 6th St. South with the daunting task of determining the 10 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 an ice cream social for our parade Theme Contest winning entry from Waves of Wonder Montessori School.

Can’t make it to the parade? Not to worry – tune to the City’s station, Comcast Channel 98 to watch the parade live as it passes City Hall. You can also watch live streaming on and 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.

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, Wayne Smith (my hubby) and I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and, Happy New Year and hope your best days in 2017 are your worst days in 2018.

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