Introducing the carolling Christmas truck, spreading holiday cheer in a half-ton through Olds

Nothing spreads holiday cheer like a classic Christmas carol.

A pair of decades-long friends in Olds, Alta., about 95 kilometres north of Calgary, know that all too well after spending the past three years rolling around town in a dolled-up pickup truck playing holiday music for their community.

“I like to do things to cheer people up,” said Clint Jackson. 

“We’re all under so much stress trying to chase the almighty dollar to make a living, and it’s just nice to go sit in the truck and leave that for a couple hours.”

The idea sprouted in late 2020, when many people were still isolating at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jackson and his friend, Walter Moebis, took part in the town’s annual Christmas parade, which involved floats travelling around to several communities that year. 

Two men wearing Santa hats hold an award in their hands.
Walter Moebis, left, and Clint Jackson stand with an award they received in 2020 for their holiday spirit float. (Submitted by Walter Moebis)

They decorated a truck with murals, a Santa sleigh and lights, driving it around the community. They attached speakers to the top to allow them to blare some Christmas tunes.

When the event was over, Moebis said he had an idea.

“I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could do this every day? Because everybody’s in such doldrums right now.’ And [Jackson] said, ‘Why can’t we?'”

The decorations stayed up, and the duo began to make nightly visits around town, playing songs for all to hear. They frequently stopped at seniors’ residences, schools and even hospitals to continue spreading the festive spirit.

LISTEN | Walter Moebis shares what songs he’ll play for the Olds community:

6:47The Carolling Christmas Truck

Spreading holiday cheer in a half-tonne through Olds, Alberta. We chat with one of the people behind the Carolling Christmas truck.

“People were coming out on the streets and standing in their windows and waving,” Moebis said. 

“We had a blast with it,” added Jackson. “Little kids were coming outside in their diapers and parents were chasing them … people are standing in the streets waving and dancing.”

After the holidays, the two started decorating the truck for other special occasions. 

Jackson, a small business owner and airbrush artist, painted a Cupid on the truck for Valentine’s Day, and the pair went out playing love songs. 

They’ve kept the project going out of their own pockets, along with the odd donation from a thankful community member, they said.

‘Carrying on their legacy’

Ahead of the 2021 holiday season, the pair went through a trying time. Moebis lost his son, and Jackson lost his father. 

They considered ending the truck’s run, but they decided the joy the truck brought to the community would help them to work through their own grief, too.

“We’re just carrying on their legacy,” Moebis said. “We have written on the side of our sleigh: ‘In memory of Marc Moebis and Eugene Jackson.'”

A white truck covered in holiday decorations sits on a snowy road.
The duo says they will continue running the holiday truck as long as time and finances permit. (Walter Moebis)

This year, the pair are continuing to get out on the road when they can.

Weather permitting, they continue to drive through Olds, also making stops in nearby communities like Didsbury, Innisfail and Carstairs.

They plan to continue for the foreseeable future, if time and the financial constraints allow. 

Moebis says it still seems like a lift in spirits is much needed.

“Everybody in the whole world … has just got a long sour face on them. Nobody’s really come out from the throes of what COVID has given us,” he said.

“We’re just putting joy and putting smiles on people’s faces. That’s all we’re after.”

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