Many towns and districts have had to cancel their Christmas events this year, but fear not, some special Christmas festivities are already being planned for Andover, albeit this year they will look a little different.

With the changing nature of the world, Test Valley Borough Council has taken a fresh look at Christmas activities and developed a series of new community led projects to keep Christmas celebrations on track.

The festive celebrations will begin at the end of November with the Andover Christmas Tree Festival. Schools, businesses and community groups will be invited to design and decorate one of 100 Christmas tree panels, which will then be brought together in an outdoor exhibition at Vigo Road Recreation Ground.

The trees will be lit at night and the experience will be enhanced with a soundscape of songs and poems from local choirs and school children, and the public will be encouraged to wander amongst the trees and soak up the festive atmosphere.

To complement the Christmas Tree Festival, and to coincide with Andover Town Council’s plan to switch on the Christmas Lights, there will be a Christmas Market held on November 29 in the town centre.

The market will feature a wide range of stall holders, live music, hot food and pre-bookable children’s festive craft activities and of course, Santa’s Grotto in the Chantry Centre.

Spreading the Christmas spirit throughout the town and further afield will be the Andover Window Wanderland walking art trail to light up the winter streets.

The project invites residents, schools, shops and businesses to decorate their widows in the form of a light box. During a set time each evening, the windows are switched on to create a nightly trail of unique and shining artworks. Businesses, shops and schools will be encouraged to participate, but the main focus will be on residents taking part and creating trails in local community areas.

A number of additional markets will take place throughout December, alongside family treasure hunts and trails, encouraging everyone to enjoy the town centre throughout the festive period.

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, said: “Although I’m disappointed we aren’t able to provide the usual Christmas lights switch on event due to current government guidance, I am really excited to be able to share these new and creative plans for festive celebrations in Andover this winter. There will be lots of ways in which the whole community - families, schools, local groups and businesses can come together to create something magical and inclusive for all.”

More information about all of these projects will be shared in the lead up to Christmas, but if you are a school, community group or local business who would be interested in taking part then please contact Heather Whittam to register your interest: