Virginia Unveiled: How Charlottesville Weds

Spirits of Holiday Parties Past Haunt the “Deck the Halls” Gala at VMI’s Marshall Hall

You remember all the Christmas and Holiday parties adorning the December calendar, not so long ago.  That’s because the generous gestures of employers and holiday hosts are never forgotten. 

“Fezziwig, old Fezziwig,” Ebenezer Scrooge exclaims, seeing his old boss alive again in a vision conjured up by the Ghost of Christmas Past.  Feeling grateful for a Christmas Eve office party jump-started Scrooge’s transformation from tight-fisted sinner to Tiny Tim’s savior.

That jovial, foppish Fezziwig was onto something, leading workers bewildered by the industrial age into the modern world — helping office parties become part and parcel of a hustling, bustling, enchanted time — the holidaze.

In recent years, Holiday Party halls have stayed dark in December.  Bosses gave us bonuses and sent us home, filling our wallets but not our hearts.  What value can we place on a gathering reminding us how much we need one another, during the holidays and always?

In a hall at Virginia Military Institute honoring the leadership and vision of General George C. Marshall where the walls are lined with photographs of soldiers who gave their all so we could freely gather, Project Horizon holds an annual holiday gala called “Deck the Halls.”

Last year, Marshall Hall went undecked on the second Saturday in December, while we social-distanced through a pandemic Advent.  This year, the charity ball helping to shelter battered women in Rockbridge County leapt back to life – the daay after a Rockbridge County husband was arraigned on charges of murdering his wife, a woman the Project Horizon family knew and loved.

We take the stage and photograph some special days in the Blue Ridge, never happier to see the spirit of St. Nick reappear. 

Through a silent auction, a live auction and a lively pledge session a legion of benefactors contributed around seventy thousand dollars to Project Horizon, up from forty thousand dollars raised two Decembers ago at Deck the Halls. 

Old Fezziwig!  The New Scrooge, feeling light as a feather and generous beyond reckoning, waking up Christmas morning with another chance to do good, must be forever grateful his boss threw that Christmas eve bash.  Believers in the big-hearted work of Project Horizon, and all who long to gather around the punch bowl with people who matter all year long, may you roll out the trees and tunes and treats!

We’ve seen our share of decked-out holiday halls, filled with friends and employees dressed to the nines posing for photographs, breaking steak, stepping onto the dance floor together and having a ball.  We treasure the return of hot dates on the December calendar, in a season of light and sound and celebration.

Fezziwig, old Fezziwig!  The spirit of a holiday party stays with us when the weather warms, benefitting the good people at Project Horizon, blessing us all, every one.