Annual Old Fashioned Christmas keeps spirits high in Horsefly

Christmas spirit alive and well

For the past 24 years, Horsefly has been been celebrating Christmas in true Cariboo style: with their Old-Fashioned Christmas.

Bringing upwards of 200 people together, the community gathered in the community hall for a home-cooked Christmas dinner of ham, turkey and stuffing that tastes like what you remember your grandmother making.

On Dec. 9, two floors of the community hall were taken up by happy humans chatting and celebrating the season.

“It’s just an event that brings everybody together and it lets the kids see Santa Claus,” said John Hollan, one of the organizers.

As dinner finished, tables were pulled to the walls and the upstairs gallery was transformed into a concert hall, resplendent with a Christmas tree decorated onstage.

Local talent took to the stage to entertain the crowd with renditions of Christmas carols and even an ode to Horsefly itself. While the performers had the mic, music could be heard from all corners of the hall as the crowd joined.

The Old-Fashioned Christmas was started in Horsefly in 1993, when the school was unable to do a Christmas concert. Several local citizens took what had been the annual concert into their own hands and decided they were doing a Christmas dinner and concert for everyone instead.

“It’s good for the community spirit,” said Hollan, who has been involved since the beginning.

“You get a lot of support from people that you would never dream of and everybody is fantastic about coming out and doing their bit for it,” he said.

The evening takes about 25-30 people to run the event, which takes about four weeks to organize, thanks to the Horsefly Community Club.

To end the concert portion of the evening, the Kids Choir of Horsefly took to the stage to sing two Christmas carols: Santa Claus is Coming to town, and Jingle Bells — a Horsefly tradition to call in Santa Claus.

“The first year I was up here I thought the hall was going to collapse,” said Hollan of the young singers who have called in Santa since the beginning.

It took two tries at the song and a little help from the spectators before the children’s Christmas spirit called Santa and Mrs. Claus into the hall.

Every Horsefly child had the chance to whisper in Santa’s ear and come away with a goodie bag, while others prepped the second part of the evening.

Celebraters filtered out of the hall and towards the school yard, where a bonfire managed by the Horsefly Volunteer Fire Department was set up near the outdoor Christmas tree, wagon rides did rounds beyond the school and hot chocolate and apple cider were served as quickly as a kettle could boil.

Residents chatted, enjoying this year’s mild evening and gathering together in a tradition that is sure to continue as long as there are volunteers around to organize it.

“It’s the community organizations that make this place,” says Hollan. “It’s a fantastic community to live in. There’s no place better.”


Julie and Rosalie Flaskay make hot chocolate to keep people warm outside at the Horsefly Old Fashioned Christmas on Dec. 9.

Tara Sprickerhoff photos People gather around the bonfire in community spirit after the Old-Fashioned Christmas in Horsefly on Dec. 9.

Santa makes a grand entrance into the Horsefly Community Hall to the tune of Jingle Bells sung by the Kid’s Choir of Horsefly.

Hannah Eastmand performs during the entertainment portion of the Old Fashioned Christmas evening, inspiring singers from the audience to join in with her music.

Just Posted

Royal Canadian Air Force members to conduct ‘nocturnal training’ in the Chilcotin next week

Public may see a Buffalo aircraft, flares and search and rescue parachuting in orange jumpsuits

Enbridge plans to replace its 150 Mile House compressor station

Clearing for the new station is anticipated to begin mid-November

Cariboo Hobby Con 2019 looking for vendor submissions

Sign up now to share your passion with all of Williams Lake at the end of November

Raptors Bling: NBA champions receive their rings in pre-game ceremony

There are over 650 diamonds — at a weight of 14 carats — in the 14-karat yellow gold ring

Trudeau: Climate and pipeline are priorities after election

Newly re-elected Trudeau wants to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion quickly

‘Find Trevor’: B.C. man’s dog leads searchers to rescue him after fall during hike

‘I’ve had lots of intelligent dogs, but Purple is in a class herself’

15 Canadian youths to sue Ottawa for not acting on climate change

They say young people will be more affected than other groups

Faster response may have prevented fatal outcome at B.C. trampoline park

Coroner’s report rules Greater Victoria father Jay Greenwood’s death accidental

100-pound pumpkin stolen a second time from B.C. business

According to security footage, a man and woman took the pumpkin on Oct. 20 at 8:20 p.m.

Greta Thunberg declines invitation to Victoria due to time, not ferry emissions

Thunberg confirmed that she will be joining a climate strike at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Friday

‘Havoc and chaos:’ Alberta separatist group gains support as Liberals re-elected

The idea is getting interest from people in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and parts of British Columbia

Feds decriminalizing drugs possible if Jagmeet Singh pushes for it, expert says

National pharmacare was one of Singh’s most highly-touted platform policies

Most Read