Timber Windows Wins Henley Christmas Window Display Competition

Timber Windows have won the 2020 Henley Christmas Window Display Competition for their classic cheerful Christmas scene. The window and door showroom in Hart St scooped first prize in an achingly close contest, with last year’s victors Helen and Douglas House coming in at a narrow second.

Timber Windows’ display centred around a gleaming golden nutcracker, who stood in a wooden rowing boat brimming with gifts. The boat was nestled on a blanket of fake snow, and the in the window a sticker read, ‘Wishing Henley a Very Merry Christmas’.

The winning display was designed by Timber Windows’ marketing head office with influence from the team in Henley. Lynette Tweedy Franklin, a showroom assistant who accepted the prize, suggested that the design should feature a boat as a nod to Henley’s location by the Thames. She said, “I think the marketing team did a fantastic job — it’s very Christmassy.”

As the store has only been open in Henley for a year, this was Timber Windows’ first time participating the hotly contested Christmas Window Display Competition. Lynette said, “We’re very pleased to be accepted as part of the community. This is a great way to start getting in the Christmas spirit, especially with all the shops being open now. Hopefully it gets very busy.”

The winner was decided by a judging panel, made up of Henley Mayor Ken Arlett, Mayoress Dorothy Arlett, Henley Living Advent Calendar founder Richard Rodway, Carolyn Molyneux of Delegate Office and Conferences Services, and Town Centre Manager, Helen Barnett.

Unlike in previous years, retailers did not have to officially enter the competition, so all festive-themed shop windows were judged.

Helen & Douglas House, who won the competition in 2019, slid in at a very close second for their winter wonderland display of Henley. Their crisp white design

Third place shop Harris + Hoole had a similar idea of promoting local businesses through their display. The front window featured a long Christmas shopping list with the names of the businesses where you could find each item. Around the list were bags from each of the listed local retailers.

Wild & Rust took fourth place for their stunning, sustainably-minded display, designed by co-owner and store manager Nicki. Co-owner Bea Pearson said, “We wanted something that resembled our ethos in terms of it being a very sustainable window, something that reflected what’s important to us in terms of how our brand came to life, and we wanted to have a really lovely Christmas theme, and something that was perhaps reflective of the times we’re in.”

Bea said about the Window Display Competition, “I think it’s a nice initiative for the town to recognise the effort of the retailers. Of course I think, this year in particular, it’s so important for us to spread a little bit of cheer and a bit of kindness. Our window was very much about celebrating what is important to us.”

Timber Windows were presented with the winner’s trophy, and all the shops that placed received a certificate, a monetary prize, and a bottle of bubbly. Two retailers – The Henley Larder and The Kiln Cafe – were also given a special Highly Commended prize by the Mayor in recognition of their excellent entries.

Mayor Ken Arlett reflected that this had been the toughest Christmas Window Display Competition to judge. He said, “I’ve done the summer one and the winter one before, and the standard this year was a lot higher than it has been before. It was difficult to pick between one, two, three and four, and any one of them could have won.”

Ken also speculated that the recent lockdown allowed shops more time to work on their window displays, allowing those who don’t usually enter to get involved. He said, “We judged well over 20 shops, and normally it’s probably about a dozen or so, so there’s much more choice to judge. It’s been a really good day.”

Both Ken and Dorothy Arlett expressed their hope that locals will pop into town to see the displays, and that these will draw people into the stores. “I think it will make people look into the shop windows more, rather than just walking by,” said Ken. “Obviously, when you see these, they will entice people into their shops. We thank the shops for taking the interest, and we hope it works back in their favour when all the shoppers come out and spend their money.”

If you’ve still got some gifts to buy on your Christmas shopping list, take a trip into town to enjoy the shop windows and support our local businesses this festive season.