BUSINESSES are hoping to entice shoppers into Abingdon in the run up to Christmas with a competition to win a £500 hamper of festive favourites.

In a bid to encourage to do their Christmas shopping locally, about 20,000 leaflets are being put through letterboxes across the town with a postcard attached.

To enter people will have to bring their postcard into the town centre and 'post' it at a designated local business.

These will be then collected and a lucky winner picked in time for Christmas.

The postcard argues the town centre is the less stressful option for seasonal shoppers, adding: "With easy parking, coffee shops galore and lots of places to eat lunch, why not wander around out selection of both independent and high street names?"

Julie Downing, from Visit Abingdon who has organised the campaign on behalf of Abingdon Business Improvement District, said: "It came up at a meeting that businesses really wanted to encourage more people to come into the town centre, especially with the Westgate Centre reopening recently.

"Footfall is down in Abingdon but with around 36,000 residents there are plenty of people who could be taking advantage of all the town centre has to offer."

She added: "People have this perception that they can't find what they need in the town but, while we'll never be able to compete in terms of the big retail stores there is a lot more here than people think and it is a really nice place to spend the day."

She pointed to the plethora of good quality independent coffee shops as well as new pop up shop Oxford Etsy, which is selling locally made products previously only found on the popular website.

The store recently opened on Bury Street and will be open throughout the festive season.

It contains the products of a trio of Abingdon crafters, Christina O’Hare, who runs her own jewellery business, Christina Made It, Madeleine Khoshab from Hoof & Paw and Shany Saloniko from Shany Design Studio.

The pop up shop will also have an extensive range of handmade and vintage items from around 40 sellers, with jewellery, illustrations and screen prints, wooden pieces and drawings, candles, greetings cards, children’s clothing, furniture, accessories and home decorations for sale.

Ms Downing said: "There is so much going on in the town in the next few months. I think people just automatically get in there car and head away from the town and that's what we want to change. Everybody is busy but it is a case of if you don't use these shops, cafes and restaurants then Abingdon will lose them."

The hamper's contents include a Christmas turkey worth £50 from Hedges the Butchers, a case of champagne and a classic panettone from Waitrose as well as gift vouchers for local shops and restaurants.

Entries must be in by 5pm on December 16 and a winner will be announced by midday on December 18.

For those who do not get a postcard they are available to download at