Canterbury Bid

The Stories behind Canterbury’s Christmas Windows

A Canterbury street at night, lit by hanging christmas lights

More than 60 city centre businesses entered the Canterbury Christmas Window competition and all of them won Gold, Silver Gilt or Silver awards. The overall standard was higher than last year – all the windows were commendable and all of them add so much to Christmas in the city. We could really tell how much passion and hard work had gone into them. They are a great reason to visit the city in their own right!

We were curious about how the windows came about. A few businesses shared their stories with us and we wanted to share them with you.

Ortwin Thyssen Jewellery Maker – 53 Palace St, Canterbury


Our Christmas window was inspired by Christmas stockings and how everyone loves to find out what goodies are in them on Christmas day. We liked the idea of a different piece of our jewellery coming out of a stocking each day, and that Santa in his sleigh is bringing the 24th stocking. Each stocking and piece of jewellery is accompanied by a recipe card – what would make a Magical, Merry and Magnificent Christmas. We used ginger bread as a base for the stockings and the sleigh because its part of German tradition to bake gingerbread in the festive season. The miniature is presented in a rare three-part walnut, which was found that way! Hand-crafted in Gold with, Platinum and Diamonds, the scene features the manger, complete with baby Jesus, the three kings, nine onlookers and farm animals. I was inspired to personally create the piece, which took over a month to complete, to celebrate the season and showcase the beauty of artisan goldsmithery and fine jewellery making. The Advent Calendar can be seen in 3 ways: in our shop window, on Facebook and on our website.


Toni & Guy – 47 Burgate, Canterbury 


The artist is a guy called Tom who started doing snow windows a couple of years back. His business is called Snow Windows and it’s a family business. Tom says “We are a family business, and our passion for creating windows comes from our love for all things snow and how it can change everyday surroundings and transform them into something wonderful and new.” Tom has done our windows for the last two years and as we moved location this year, we now have bigger and better windows which he loved to do especially as we are now opposite the cathedral shop. As people walk out from the cathedral, the windows are the first thing they see in front of them. This year he has included the cathedral as the main focus and the Westgate towers with the River Stour running through to make it more unique to Our Beautiful City.


The Bishop’s Finger Pub – St. Dunstans Street, Canterbury


Window display created by Louise Cowderoy of Ragged Robin Floral Design, commissioned by Joe at Bishop’s Finger Pub 

It was quite a challenge to create a window display that didn’t block any natural light nor take up space on the window shelf itself, which is where customers eat and drink. So much care and thought went into creating an innovative suspended light weight window display with items commonly used within the establishment; dried oranges and limes; orange slices; cinnamon sticks, hops; waxed apples; chillies; red peppercorns; star anise, and corks. As I always prefer to create natural arrangements, and try to avoid using artificial materials where possible, this design was intentionally 100% natural, biodegradable and recyclable. Indeed, all natural components are biodegradable and the decorative items: succulents, hyacinth bulbs, moss are all living structures and the birds, corks, wire etc are all recyclable. Painting couldn’t be done on the actual window panes as there are leaded lights but there is a huge drawing of the cathedral on the window at the rear. Canterbury residents and all visitors are very welcome to drop in and have a look!

Espression Arts Café – 29-30 Palace St, Canterbury


Our white snowy windows are low budget and created involving the children who participate – we have babies foot prints, toddler hand print snow and some from the older children from our Saturday Art Club! Everyone enjoyed getting involved! The Crafty Kids (messy, sensory play group for toddlers) all created penguins to skate on the pond! Babies added handprints for the reindeers too! Everything was added at a height to allow little ones to come up to the windows and still look out! Decoration examples hang down for people to see and get ideas. White was chosen for high visibility and because everything in our shop is white before the artist gets creative and makes things shiny! A community Christmas window for everyone to make and enjoy!


Lullah – 51 Palace St, Canterbury


The story behind the Lullah Christmas window is to create a Christmas scene that is unique and different from the usual Christmas tradition whilst still being really festive and full of Christmas celebration. The theme is “Party Wonderland” taking passers-by into a Christmas party scene with lots of festive glam and sparkle to display our party-wear and our festive merchandise. I have transformed the window into a magical winter party scene using a pink and gold colour theme to create a modern twist on Christmas which compliments the style and personality of the boutique. The window has been styled to look like you’re peeping into someone’s home celebrating a big Christmas party. I wanted to create an eye catching scene drawing the customer into the shop where the theme is replicated throughout – including our famous “Press for Champagne” button! Which is perfectly situated next to our range of Christmas party dresses.


A full list of the results of the Christmas Window Competition 2016 is available here



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