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EVENTS – Christmas fairs


‘After the fair, the children form


In 2020 we hope to hold an outdoor


‘It’s got easier as we’ve worked out the best way to


event at Christmas if guidelines allow. We will be making up hampers and if possible, we may run a gift shop.


do things’ ‘2019 was our sixth year heading up our Christmas fete. We used to find it frazzling, but it really has got easier as we’ve worked out the best ways to do things. One week before the fete we normally hold a non-uniform


day and ask families to donate a bottle per family, a year group item (including toys, chocolate and themed gifts) and a filled jar per child. In previous years, families would donate anything they wanted, but we ended up with lots of unusable items. Last year, we asked for specific donations, and, as people have seen and won the amazing prizes, they’ve understood they need to donate high-quality goods. Parents were also offered the opportunity to give cash, which several families prefer, and we received over £150. We set up a WhatsApp group to sort out our volunteers,


and have found that by asking if someone can take on a specific job (such as picking up prizes or folding raffle tickets), rather than a project or an area, we have more success. One of the biggest elements of our fete was our hamper


raffle, which raised almost £1,000! The hampers were made up of donations from both families and local businesses. We secured over 50 raffle prizes from businesses, and our top hamper had a Christmas tree voucher and a £50 John Lewis voucher (paid for with cash donations). We sent raffle tickets home in advance and sold on the day so we could sell as many as possible. We had lots of homemade games at our fete. We get ideas


for games from PTA Facebook groups and then do a shout- out on our school Facebook page to ask if anyone can help make them. Last year a school dad made “Wacky Races”, and roll-a-coin was made by a local printing business. Some of our biggest money-makers were our adult bottle


tombola – which raised around £600 – and the café and cake stall, which brought in £500. The children’s games brought in around £20-£50, as we tried to strike a balance between money-makers and fun activities for the kids. Last year’s Christmas fete made £4,196 in total – our highest ever!’ Kate Horrey and Madi Wilkie, fundraising team co-chairs, Katherine Semar School, Saffron Walden, Essex (480 pupils)


a procession to the promenade’ ‘We’re located by the coast and each year after the Christmas fair, the children have formed a procession with Santa to the promenade, to see the Christmas tree lights being switched on and to sing carols. It’s also co-ordinated with late-night shopping in the village. Seven weeks before the fair, we usually hold two planning meetings – open to everyone – where we allocate tasks, such as wholesaler trips and raffle coordination. Two weeks before the fair, we organise a present-wrapping evening at a committee member’s house. We also hold a mufti day the week before the fair where children bring in tombola donations. To create a buzz, we put up banners and posters


throughout the village and at the school. We also advertise our fair on our Facebook page as well as those of local community groups. The only other donation we ask for is any unwanted children’s presents or nearly- new toys. This is for one of our most popular games, “bauble surprise”. We have a Christmas tree made of MDF and attach circular “baubles” using Velcro. Each bauble has a number on the back that corresponds to a prize. Our Year 6 pupils run a games room, which gives them


some responsibility as well as adding to the fun. They even design and construct some games of their own. We also offer name-the-teddy, face painting, nail painting, temporary tattoos, a craft room and a cake stall. Two teaching assistants run the Santa’s grotto, right from construction to dressing up as a fairy and an elf. One of the biggest changes we’ve made in the past


In 2020 we’re planning on holding a Christmas market event if we can. We may hold it outside to comply with guidelines in place at the time.


couple of years is to completely revamp the raffle. We now pre-sell tickets and source many more prizes. Four committee members begin by asking local businesses for prizes at the end of October and we offer free advertising to anyone who helps us out. At the end of the fair, we draw the raffle and begin the procession to the promenade.’ Gemma Jackson and Tamlyn Gill co-chairs, Arnside National School PTA, Arnside, Cumbria (124 pupils)


IMAGE: KATE HORREY


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