Four Reasons I’m Thankful This Holiday Season

Audrey Zielenbach is the Artistic Assistant at Gulfshore Playhouse. 


Hello Readers!

It is officially December which means we no longer get to complain that it’s too early to listen to Christmas music. In the spirit of the holiday season and with Thanksgiving still fresh on our minds (and maybe a few leftovers still in the fridge), it seems appropriate to reflect on what I’m most thankful for and it is something I don’t do often enough.

1. Naples – It’s still December but I can spend my free time with a book on a sunny beach, basking in the 80 degrees while back home they have to ask themselves “How many layers do I need to wear today?” This marks my second Naples winter and I still haven’t quite grasped that December no longer means the beginning of what will inevitably be a long, sub-zero winter (Sorry, Ohio). Too often I take for granted that I am just seconds away from a beach and that I don’t have to grab a coat on my way out the door.

2. A Home Away From Home – Although the sunny, warm weather makes me incredibly content, there is nothing like the Holiday season to give me an acute sense of homesickness. For the second time in my 24 years, I spent Thanksgiving away from my family. However, I am incredibly grateful for the people I have here in Naples. Gulfshore Playhouse has brought a lot of wonderful people into my life. From co-workers to patrons to visiting artists, I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who help ease the homesickness at this time of the year.

3. Theatre – Sometimes I sit back and realize how fortunate I am to be doing what I love. I garnered a healthy amount of fear in college that I was going to get stuck in a mind-numbing 9-5 desk job for the rest of my life because my degree would be useless the minute I was awarded it. I thank my lucky stars that I have landed in this magnificent gem of a place to work. I am doing what I love to do and I am so thankful to be doing it. I get to do challenging and engaging work alongside wonderful people. And I am able to be a part of putting on wonderful productions on our stage of which we’re all proud.

Cody Nickell in JACOB MARLEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL. Photographer- Pedro Zepeda. (4)

Cody Nickell in Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol 


4. I am especially thankful that we will be remounting Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol this year which is undoubtedly one of my favorite pieces of theatre. Theatre is such an ephemeral art form so having the opportunity to see a play that I love again is a rare gift. I am beyond grateful to be a part of something so magical.



I’m sure I speak for all of us here at Gulfshore Playhouse when I wish you a very happy holiday season. I hope to see you at Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol which will indeed put you in the holiday spirit.

Happy Holidays,


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