IN A horse-drawn carriage, Father Christmas entered Wickham Square and welcomed in the festive season.
Scores of families and friends packed the square last night, as the Christmas lights for the village were officially switched on.
People also got to enjoy seeing Morris dancers, listen to carols, while there were rides for young children.
James Christie, 42, and Rachel Tate, 40, of Jacaranda Close, in Titchfield, came along to see the switch-on.
They brought with them children Hannah Christie, eight, and Lucas Tate, six.
James said: ‘We came here last year and thought it was a lovely event, which is why we decided to come back again this year.
‘It’s a great way to start the festive season, and the kids always look forward to seeing Santa.’
Deciding to give his reindeer a rest, Father Christmas did arrive to turn on the lights – in a carriage pulled by horses.
Hannah added; ‘It was really unusual to see Santa come in that way.
‘It was really fun.’
Late-night shopping, lucky dip, face painting and the Junglebuddies playbus was also on hand to entertain families.
Food and drinks were also available to keep people refreshed, during the chilly evening.
Robin Kelleher, 66, came along with his wife Pam, 66, both from Mill Lane, in Wickham,
Mr Kelleher said: ‘We come every year and it is a great tradition of the village.
‘It was brilliant to see so many people here enjoying a hot Toddy and the music.
‘It’s a great way to get people in the mood for Christmas. We enjoyed seeing the dancers, listening to the music and seeing the lights come on.’