Retail businesses across Haslemere are once again being invited to bring some extra festive cheer to Haslemere by decorating their shop fronts and entering the third annual Christmas windows competition.

As in the past two years, the competition is being sponsored by four local churches – St Bartholomew’s, St Christopher’s, St Stephen’s and All Saints Grayswood – who are making it a gift to local retailers by funding all the prizes, advertising and marketing.

Each retailer taking part will display a competition poster, showing a shop number and a QR code. Individuals will then be able to vote by photographing the QR code on a smartphone or by visiting, with voting closing on Sunday, December 18.

“At a difficult time for many people and businesses we are hoping the competition will once again see keen rivalry between local shops, attract more people to buy presents in the town and help bring us together as a community”, said Rev Justin Manley-Cooper, the competition organiser.

On Monday, December 19, a panel led by the Bishop of Dorking, Bishop Jo Wells, will judge the windows based on three categories – most festive, most stylish and the most complementary to the shop’s underlying business – with all the winners, and a voter chosen at random, winning a Haslemere-sourced hamper of goodies for the festive season.

In a new twist to this popular competition, eight retailers in the town centre and Weyhill have offered seven local primary schools and the church youth group an opportunity to decorate their windows, as a way of encouraging young people to get fully involved.

But in order that the competition becomes an all-encompassing community project, and not just a schools competition, the school-decorated retail windows will not be eligible for the community vote, but will still be in the three judged categories.

Pictures and details of the prize winners will be published in the Haslemere Herald on Thursday, December 22.