Here’s what you can enjoy at your local high street this Christmas

The Observer is teaming up with Chichester District Council and V2 radio to encourage shoppers back onto the high street with the Support Local Christmas campaign.

Flashback to Midhurst Christmas street party, 2019. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190612-214048008
Flashback to Midhurst Christmas street party, 2019. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190612-214048008

As part of the campaign, businesses can apply for a free marketing pack (www.chichester.gov.uk/christmasbusinesspack), which includes details on how to access printed gift tags and recycled wrapping paper, beautifully tailored to each area, to give away to customers with every purchase.

Lots will be happening in Midhurst today (Friday 3 December), where a spectacular Christmas street party is taking place from 5pm until 8pm in the OldTown in Market Square.

The craft market in the Old Library on Knockhundred Row is the perfect opportunity to buy unique presents for loved ones.

Live music will add to the festive atmosphere while children visit Father Christmas in The Upholsterer on North Street, which is run by elves from Grace Church.

Laura Jandac, who owns The Upholster with husband Milos, said: “We’re really excited. The Christmas Street Party goes back a very long time.

“It’s a tradition in Midhurst and really signals the start of the Christmas shenanigans here. The atmosphere is lovely and there seems to be more of a buzz around it each year.

“It’s always held on the first Friday of December and it’s nice and early this year.

“Midhurst Town Council organises it and the whole community gets involved. We open late and most shops provide mulled wine and mince pies, there’s music in

Market Square.

“Because Christmas was such a write-off last year, there’s a feeling that everyone is going to do all they can to make up for it.”

In Petworth, Father Christmas will also be making an appearance at Leconfield Hall from 12pm for the Petworth Christmas event on Saturday 4 December.

More than 40 stallholders will be selling gifts in the market square from 11am and shoppers can catch Christmas movies, take part in the Scouts tombola, and enjoy the live window displays until 7pm.

Shoppers can take advantage of Chichester District Council’s parking incentives across the district in the run-up to Christmas.

They can select two hours and get a third free in most council-owned car in December, when using the MiPermit app; free parking every weekend in December in the Avenue de Chartres car park in Chichester; and, free parking after 4pm in the Avenue de Chartres car park for the Chichester city centre late night shopping on December 2, 9, 16 and 23.

Councillor Tony Dignum, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration at Chichester District Council, said: “Tradition is really important to us and it’s what makes our city and towns so special.

But, as a council, we are also embracing innovative ideas to encourage shoppers back to our high streets after what has been a very difficult time for businesses during the pandemic.

Customers can make the most of our social media campaign to really shout about the wonderful products they buy in our fantastic high streets in Midhurst, Petworth, Chichester, East Wittering and Selsey this weekend, and throughout December, using the hashtags:

- #LoveFromChichester

- #LoveFromEastWittering

- #LoveFromMidhurst

- #LoveFromPetworth

- #LoveFromSelsey

- #LoveFromChichesterDistrict

“We’d love to see pictures of presents people have wrapped using the illustrated gift tags and wrapping, specially-tailored for each area.

“If you pick up something unique at the Street Party in Midhurst or the Christmas market in Petworth, let the world know about it on social media, using our hashtags.

It’s down to shoppers to keep our high streets thriving.”

You can find out more about the campaign, at: www.chichester.gov.uk/countdowntochristmas