Be the Change: Tina Carletta

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Happy families surrounded by the smell of Christmas trees, warm apple cider, hot cocoa and a caring community. It may seem idyllic, but these are all elements of the vision Tina Carletta has brought to life in the third incarnation of “A Holiday Experience” in Redding.

Giving back is utmost in Tina’s mind, and children are her main focus. Long-time friend Melinda Hunter says, “Tina is one of the most genuine and caring people I know, full of passion and always giving to the community.”

What motivates Tina to pour heart and soul into the annual four-week-long Christmas-themed event?  A Shasta County resident for nearly four decades, Tina says, “For 20 years, I had gone up to the mountains with family and friends, enjoying chili and hot chocolate while searching for the perfect Christmas tree. When my kids grew up, that experience stopped. Some years later as I was picking out a tree from the local tree lot, it struck me that I would be leaving with just a tree – along with a craving for the tradition I had enjoyed with friends and family. I started A Holiday Experience to recreate that sense of tradition and I’m thrilled it’s been embraced by the community, enriching people’s hearts with memories they can take home along with their beloved tree.”

art-1216-btc3With families in mind, the event has grown and will continue to grow, Tina says. Select your perfect Christmas tree, take a pony ride, create a holiday card to be sent to a member of our military – all while supporting a local charity. “This year’s charity is Exodus Farms Ministry,” says Tina. “They offer a horsemanship program for children who have experienced major setbacks in life, often due to abuse and neglect. The children are paired with therapy horses – all of them rescued – in a safe and accepting farm environment.” 

A true entrepreneur, Tina has been a cosmetologist for 37 years.  She owns a marketing and events company she claims is her passion because “it allows me to do what I love, which is to give back to the community.” Her newest endeavor is as co-owner and marketing and events partner for Final Draft Brewing Company, set to open by January, 2017.

“Tina is a person who always gives of herself without blinking an eye and would do so for anyone in need no matter what the circumstances,” says Tag Ausbrooks. “I had forgotten what the true meaning of Christmas was until I volunteered at A Holiday Experience. Now I see how much giving back to the community means, especially with the children and charities. My heart just gets overwhelmed with seeing all the different reactions from everyone who comes out.”

We asked Tina a few questions to glean some of her perspectives:

art-1216-btc2If you could pass on one gem of advice to the youth today, what would that be? “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same spot.”

Do you have a bit of wisdom you can share with families? “We tend to get so busy that we forget to live in the moment with our families. Talk – share your day. We need to bring back family time and quit taking life for granted. Share family traditions. So many of us have forgotten what is important.”

Who inspires you? “My mother Rose Marie, who is gone but not forgotten. She’s left an imprint in my heart and soul and has made me who I am today. I have two adult children that I’m very proud of. My son, Adam, is a helicopter pilot and my daughter, Alicia, is a pharmaceutical representative. Alicia has made me a proud grandma to Gavin who is 4 years old and the love of my life.”

What matters most to you at this point in your life? “Since the years are passing by so fast, I don’t have any time for regrets. If there’s something that touches my heart – I’m all in. It brings me joy to be able to give. My kids and grandson are the driving force that motivates most of what I do.”

Tina inspires us to “be the change.” “Tina is one of those rare people that we need in our lives,” says Gloria Arcona. “She is gracious and always makes anyone feel welcome and at home. She leaves a lasting impression on our minds and hearts.” 

A Holiday Experience is located at 8080 Airport Rd., behind Kent’s Market in Redding. It runs through December 22, weekdays 11am-8pm & weekends 9am-8pm. Tina is also co-hosting a special event at Library Park, 1552 Placer St., on December 17, 1-5pm, with a Christmas tree, caroling, Santa, hot cocoa and a toy drive. For more information contact Tina at (530) 515-2129, or visit
http://www.aholidayexperience.com.

“Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.”  ~Tina Carletta

The mission of our Be the Change column is to feature community members from the North State who are actively making a difference in community life. If you would like to nominate someone who is making a difference, please write to pn@northstateparent.com.

Lisa Shara
About Lisa Shara

Writer Lisa Shara lives in upper Northern California where she is involved in a variety of community projects.

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