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Christmas Shop Window Competition 2019

The Rotary Club of Harrogate working with Harrogate at Christmas will be organising and judging the Christmas shop window competition for 2019. There are some changes in the rules from 2018, so please read carefully the details which are set out below.


1. Shops that are part of the Harrogate BID (Business Improvement District) and who have paid the BID Levy and have indicated that they want to take part in the competition by completing and returning the HaC Response Form.

2. In addition, small shops and businesses who do not pay the BID levy but are in the BID area or are outside the BID area who donate to ‘How Big Is Your Bauble’ on Stray FM will also be included.  They should also complete and return the HaC Response Form.   

All entrants and donors will receive from Harrogate at Christmas a red bauble to display either in your window or on the entrance door. This must be displayed over the Christmas and New Year period.

Any shop that has been the winner in a particular category for three consecutive years will not be allowed to participate in the competition in that category until a gap of two years has elapsed.   

Judging and Judging Criteria

The window display that is judged must be the same as the display that will continue to be in the shop window(s) throughout the Christmas period.

The competition is between individual shops in each of the categories set out below. Whilst shops in a street or area can chose to adopt a theme it is individual shop window displays that will be judged.

We will judge against the following criteria:

  • Illumination. There is a historic link between the competition and the Christmas lights. How well is the window lit up?

  • Innovation. How new or different is the window display?

  • Spirit of Christmas. This is a ‘catch all’ category. How well does the display convey the ‘Spirit of Christmas’?

Judges will award up to 5 points for each of the criteria (a total of 15). Judges work in pairs and each pair agrees the score against each criterion and therefore the total score. Depending on the number of judging panels each window is judged by at least 5 panels. At the end of the judging all the scores for a particular window are brought together and an average score calculated for that window. The highest score wins.        


Judging Categories

Large retailer; Medium Retailer and Small Retailer

It is necessary to define each category. This is not completely straightforward and the organisers’ decision about which category a shop fits into is final.

A. A Small Retailer will have an entrance door and single window on which the judging will take place.

B. A Medium Retailer will have an entrance door with either decorated windows on either side of the door or the door set back with a front and side window

C. A Large Retailer will have several windows available for decoration.

The highest score in each category will be the winner for that category. The highest score overall will be the overall winner. The judges may award Highly Commended certificates in each category to displays that score highly but are not the overall winner in that category.

The Harrogate Business Improvement District

Harrogate at Christmas is working with the Harrogate BID and is anxious to support the concept of the ‘Business Quarters’ being promoted by the BID. All shops are judged in the same way and any shop could win the overall competition or win or be highly commended in one of the three categories. However to make sure that shops feel that their effort is recognised, and if a shop in each of the following BID areas has not already been awarded some form of certificate a highly commended certificate will be awarded to the highest scoring shop overall in each of the following BID areas

Kings Quarter      Victoria Quarter      Montpellier Quarter      West Park Quarter

The free town map ‘Explore Harrogate’ produced by Harrogate BID shows the boundaries of each quarter.

Charity Shops

Soroptimist International of Harrogate and District will be working with Harrogate at Christmas to organise the Christmas shop window competition for Charity shops in Harrogate. Further information regarding areas included, criteria and judging will be delivered to each shop in September/October  The contact is Val Hills; you can contact Val on 07821 553 722 or at


The windows must be complete by 8.00 a.m. on Tuesday 26 November 2019.  Short listing will take place on Tuesday 26 November 2019. The main judging will take place on the afternoon of THURSDAY 28 NOVEMBER 2019 starting at 3.30pm.  We ask you to ensure that your window illumination is on for the judging period up to 8.00pm.

Awards Presentation

The overall winner will receive the Rosebowl, presented to Harrogate Borough Council by the Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce for the Italian shop window competition in 1957.

The window dresser of the Overall Winner will receive a special prize donated by the family of Val Thompson, who was an Award Winning window dresser in Harrogate between 1960 and 1990.

The Awards presentation will take place on Tuesday 3 December between 5.30 p.m. and 7.00 p.m. Details of the venue will be circulated nearer the time. All shops and charity shops that are winners or highly commended in each category will receive an invitation to the awards ceremony with further details after the final judging.

Graham Saunders     (Organiser)




Harrogate Christmas Market Ltd
PO Box 888, Harrogate, HG2 8UH   Tel: 01423 879208 or 870025
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