Operation CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: A Naples Family Tradition Operation
The holiday season is a time where traditions come to out to shine and The City of Naples Christmas Parade is one of those times that bring together children of all ages in the spirit of community. It is a time where families teach the rituals and traditions handed down throughout the generations.
This year’s Parade theme is very befitting for our Honorary Grand Marshall – make that Marshalls- the Wynn Family, who have been making Christmas memories and sharing traditions in our community since 1938, when Peter and Vida Wynn moved to Naples, population 150. They purchased Bayview Inn, located in what is now the Crayton Cove business district near the City Docks, where they also operated a grocery store and restaurant. Their son, Don, stayed behind in Lakeland to run their ‘northern’ family business.
Don Wynn answered the call of his country when Pearl Harbor was bombed. After the war, he came to Naples to help his parents with the full intention of returning to central Florida until he met Miss Annie Merle Echols. They raised five children, all who are still living in Naples today, and left a lasting legacy with Wynn’s Market and Ace Sunshine Hardware.
It’s been 75 years since December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, which propelled the United States headlong into WWII. On December of 1945, the first Christmas after World War II, was known as the greatest celebration in American History, where silk stockings were scarce but the spirit of the holidays was not. For the first time in four years, colored lights were on in the nation’s largest cities reflecting the hopes for our future knowing that our troops were finally coming home to their families and those war plants would soon be making toys for Santa’s sleigh.
Whether this is your first or 71st year to celebrate your Holiday or Christmas season since WWII, your family traditions will keep the spirit of the season and the spirit of family alive for generations to come.
This is my 7th year to serve as coordinator of the Christmas Parade “theme, judges and award ceremony.” It will be my 3rd year to film the parade, which can be viewed on the City of Naples Comcast Channel 98 from 6 – 8 p.m., in honor of those men and women, who answered their call to duty 75 years ago. You can also watch it online live streaming in HD on the City ‘s TV webpage. (Sorry City Channel is still analog – but fun to watch – just like in the old days.)
We thank Sandra and Reg Buxton, publisher of Life in Naples, for being the Grand Prize Sponsor again this year along with filming sponsor Wayne Smith, Vietnam POW.
OPERATION CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
SWFL Veterans Alliance’s Operation Christmas Spirit will carry forth its budding 2nd year tradition of thanking local veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. Last year, veterans received live trees, stands, lights, baked goodies and poinsettias. Veteran families with special requests were granted gift cards. This year students from the Village School will make special ornaments and local elves will be signing cards to be placed in our veteran’s gift bags.
The Naples Vet Center was filled with the holiday spirit thanks to my little elves, Christine Sutherland and Diane van Parys, who left their own sparkle – literally – as special glittery ribbons left their magical trail on all who passed by. Santa also made a special delivery of a new grill to the Center for their new tradition of ‘Hamburger Hump Day’, where veterans and VA staff gather together for a little lunch and laughter.
OCS Tree Sponsors will receive a special treat this year – an E-Joy Thank You Party sponsored by EJ’s Bayfront Café, 469 Bayfront Place from 5 -7:30 p.m. Tree Sponsors will receive two tickets to E-Joy, veterans are admitted for FREE and for those who want to simply E-Joy on the spur of the moment, the cost is $25 pp.
To participate in Operation Christmas Spirit, visit www.operationchristmasspirit.net or call Alabaster Snowball (aka Lois Bolin, Head Elf) at 239.594.2978.
Share your favorite Christmas or Holiday tradition at email@example.com or on FB @lifeinnaplesmagazine. We look forward to seeing them. Until then, my elves and I wish you much success and fulfillment with your traditions and hope that your best days of 2016 are your worst days of 2017.
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