Christmas Shop Window Display For Little Havens Hospice


So after leaving my old voluntary position at Thameside Nature Park (in rather spectacular style I should add), I quickly found myself in need of a new voluntary position. This I quickly found even closer to where I live at a local charity shop Little Havens Hospice in Stanford Le Hope. I had already been doing a bit of voluntary work for them restoring a dolls house before deciding to jump ship. This has probably been one of the best decisions of my life so far.

So back onto the subject I am creating this post for. Some time after I started volunteering fully at the shop I was asked if I wanted to help out with the Christmas shop display for the window. Which I was really keen to do. (I have always wanted to dress a shop window since I was a kid) I came up with a couple of designs but in the end we decided upon something simple, that wouldn’t require lots of materials, effort and would also be easy to store. A simple Santa’s sleigh with reindeer. All of this was made from two sheets of plywood. I think the total cost was around £35 for the wood, plus £10 for paint. Sometime midway through the build I discovered that Little havens hold a competition for the best Christmas shop window display and that all shops keep their display a secret from other shops. So the posting of this project has been delayed until it is installed. This was built in early October and took less than a week to construct.

The Sleigh

The plan was to use one 8’x4′ sheet of 9mm ply for the sleigh. This was drawn out freehand on the bottom of the sheet to avoid as much waste as possible.



This was then cut out with my father in law’s jigsaw and provided the template for the second side.

After Day One Both Sides Cut Out

The second day was spent cutting out the panels for the back, seat and floor. This had used up almost all of the plywood sheet and as a result this meant that I wouldn’t be able to put in a floor all the way along the bottom. These parts were held in place by sections of 2×1 screwed to the insides of the sleigh and remain out of sight.


The next job was to then drill holes through the seat and front panel. M6 bolts were then added. The whole lot was then dissembled and then primed and painted.




The Reindeer

These reindeer were cut out of one 6mm sheet. They needed to be as flat as possible for storage reasons and so decided to go for the slot method to make them stand up and make them look 3d too.

IMG_20151002_125335269The first reindeer after it was cut out with the jigsaw.

IMG_20151002_164440931After day one of their construction. Now just lots of painting to do on them.


With it’s black undercoat.


While I waited for the paint to dry I began work on their noses. I took the lid of my spray can and drew 3 circles per reindeer and then cut them out.


One circle was then held up against the tip of the reindeer face where I wanted the nose to sit and a line was then marked. These were then cut out


These were then glued into place with the semi circular one in the middle.


These were then loosely sanded down and primed and painted.


The nose checked to see if it fitted ok before it’s top coat.


Antlers then given a spray paint of gold

IMG_20151012_155956507_HDRAnd then bodies themselves given a top coat


The completed reindeer. Bells were later added.

Meanwhile Grant Robinson and Kim Horrod created an amazing north pole sign for the display. This was made from an old fabric tube, kindly donated by the upholstery shop across the road and a football sprayed and then mounted to the top. I made the base out of some old shuttering plywood we had knocking around.

The north pole sign almost complete

On 4th December the shop display was brought together and here is the finished results.

A small fat robin I also carved out and now sits on top of the north pole.


Me on the left with Kim in the middle and Grant on the right.

The shop window will be on display up until Christmas eve, so if you are in the Stanford Le Hope area, please drop in and have a peak for yourself.


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