Illustration by Hablot Knight Browne for the first publication of Charles Dickens’ ‘The Tale of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton’ (1836). Gabriel Grub (r) is about to learn it’s unwise to make jokes about Christmas boxes.

Illustration by Hablot Knight Browne for the first publication of Charles Dickens’ ‘The Tale of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton’ (1836). Gabriel Grub (r) is about to learn it’s unwise to make jokes about Christmas boxes.

Western Canada Theatre says the snow must go on this Christmas

Six original free festive family-friendly productions available through Dec. 20

Newspapers available

Looking for newsprint to help get those winter fires started? The Journal office has bundles of newspaper available for anyone looking for newsprint, whether it’s to start fires, wrap items for packing, create craft projects, or anything else. Drop by the office on 4th Street (Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) to pick up papers, which are available by donation; all monies collected will go to the Community Resource Society’s Christmas Hamper Committee.

The Journal also has copies of the Connector phone directory for the area and the Infotel telephone book for Kamloops and region, both of which can be picked up for free by anyone wanting them.

Ashcroft/Cache Creek Christmas Lights tour

The Ashcroft HUB is sponsoring a Christmas Lights tour through Dec. 23 in Ashcroft and Cache Creek. Participants are listed on tour maps of both communities, which are available for pick-up at the HUB or online at, so that people can take their own self-guided tour of the displays.

There are already lots of fabulous displays around both communities, so make a thermos of hot chocolate, load the family in the car, put on some Christmas music, and create a new holiday tradition this year.

The “snow” must go on

Western Canada Theatre has brought together a crack team of artists — including Kamloops locals, audience favourites from around the province, and students from its Stage One Theatre School — to create six holiday-themed videos, plus extras, which are being released on and social media daily from Dec. 15 through Dec. 20.

The event culminates with a live Watch Party, hosted by WCT artistic director James MacDonald, at 7 p.m. on Dec. 21 on Facebook Live and YouTube. It will include clips from all of the videos as well as bonus surprises, plus commentary and Q&As with some of the artists, so get cozy, grab a warm beverage, and celebrate. In the spirit of giving back, all the videos, plus the Virtual Watch Party, are available for free to anybody who wants to watch, and will remain available until Jan. 1.

Part of the fun is that the content of each video is being kept under wraps until it debuts, “advent calendar” style, every day at 5 p.m. Each video will be about 25 minutes long, and there will be musical performances, comedy, classic stories, and interactive fun for the whole family, coming to you from participants’ homes, far-flung locales such as Blind Bay and Invermere, and a makeshift TV studio on the Sagebrush Theatre stage.

Kamloops Children’s Arts Festival

The 21st annual Kamloops Children’s Arts Festival, for children in the Kamloops area aged two years and up, is going virtual this year. Its theme is “Starlight, Starbright”, and it takes place during winter break from Dec. 21 to 25. The festival gives children the chance to try out different art forms, and is completely free.

Terri Hadwin, Executive Director of the Kamloops Arts Council, says “Although we are disappointed to not be able to host the 21st Annual Children’s Arts Festival at Riverside Park again this year, we wanted to make sure that we were able to provide the families of our community and surrounding communities an opportunity to learn about and immerse themselves in the arts. We felt like the winter break was a good time to move the event to, as it will give families free activities to do while taking a reprieve from school and work.”

Workshops and performances will be offered online for an hour every day of the festival. Participants can go on a musical adventure with Kiki the Echo Elf, learn about the Voices of Nature with the amazing musical group The Wilds Band, explore the world of magic with some “Tricks you can do at home” with the incredible Clinton W. Gray, and learn some awesome theatre tips and tricks with Western Canada Theatre’s Stage One Theatre School. There will also be sing-alongs with the Princesses, dance parties, stories, crafts, and much more.

More information about the Kamloops Children’s Arts Festival can be found at

Local contractor information wanted

A reminder that the Village of Cache Creek is creating a list of local contractors who would like to be considered for any work that may become available in the village, and is still taking information. If you would like to be included on this list, please forward your company name, contact information, what type of equipment you have available, and whether or not you would like to be included on an emergency response list (in case of floods, fires, etc. where heavy equipment may be necessary) before Dec. 31 to P.O. Box 7, Cache Creek, B.C. V0K 1H0, or by email to

All work will be allocated and paid as per Village of Cache Creek Policy No. G-2: Distribution of Equipment Contracts. For details on this policy, please contact the Village office.

Home for the Holidays with hoopla

The popular on-demand film streaming service hoopla digital is now available to patrons of the Thompson-Nicola Regional Library. With hoopla, library card holders can instantly access thousands of free movies, TV, and music, streamed from any computer, TV, mobile device or platform by downloading the hoopla digital app for iOS, Android, AppleTV, Chromecast, or Roku.

“Hoopla is really the Library’s answer to Netflix. With no wait lists, patrons can stream titles immediately or download them to enjoy offline later,” says Jenny Abramzik, Special Projects and E-Library Coordinator with the TNRL. “Amid the pandemic, the holiday season is going to look a lot different this year, but with hoopla the prospect of staying home is a little more exciting.” Abramzik notes that hoopla includes a ‘Best of Holiday’ collection featuring Christmas and holiday themed movies and TV.

The hoopla digital collection offers fan favourite movies, TV series, and newly released albums.

TNRL patrons can create a hoopla account simply by using their library card. Residents without a library card have the option of signing up for a temporary library card online at or visiting any of the 13 libraries or the Mobile Library to register for a free membership.

Christmas fun fact

One Christmas tradition that Canada inherited from the United Kingdom is Boxing Day, which is not observed in the United States. The name comes from the alms-boxes that were put in churches as places where worshippers could donate money for the poor. The boxes were opened on Christmas Day and the contents distributed the following day, hence “Boxing Day” for Dec. 26. The process was called “the dole of the Christmas box”, with “dole” being used in the sense of to give or hand something out. The phrase “on the dole” is still used in the UK to describe someone who is out of work and receiving government benefits.

In his short story “The Tale of the Goblins Who Stole A Sexton” — part of his 1836 novel The Pickwick Papers, and a prototype for A Christmas Carol seven years later— Charles Dickens makes a darkly humorous joke about the Christmas box. The main character, curmudgeonly sexton Gabriel Grub, is tasked with digging a grave on Christmas Eve, an exercise that appeals to his miserable, anti-social nature. Having finished his work, he surveys the grave with “grim satisfaction” and says aloud “A coffin at Christmas! A Christmas box! Ho! ho! ho!”

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