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Alternative path to School Christmas Fair of dooooooom

(89 Posts)
BirminghamCityCentre Tue 09-Dec-14 21:07:57

Our primary school have just done our annual Christmas Fair. We had the usual turnabout of asking people for donations then selling them their stuff back e.g. secret gifts, second half toys, jam jar tombola, booze tombola, cake stall. Plus Santa, cafe, games, crafts. It was an expensive three hours of hell for the parents and the kids loved it, sugar fuelled little monsters that they were by the end. We made money. Hurrah.
I am on my knees at the thought of putting the whole school community through this sh*t every year, it is so inefficient and we drive a lot of the parent body up the wall with it.
Anyone have words of advice/genius on how their school does an Christmas fundraiser for the kids that they will enjoy, still makes money, and doesn't p*ss off 80% of the parent body, including the 40% who turn up out of obligation?

MrsPepperMintonCandyCane Tue 09-Dec-14 21:11:25

We do enterprise week. This week in numeracy they've lolkec at quantities/weights/measurements and designed biscuits, cakes, crackers and salt dough decorations. The children make them and have a stall per class selling them at a christmas enterprise fair. We do drinks and a raffle to go with it. We make profit and it's less stressful.

violetwellies Tue 09-Dec-14 21:14:02

Ours had a proper old fashioned jumble sale that was well received. By villagers as well as parents.
My Aunt helps run her church jumble and that has punters queuing down the street.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Tue 09-Dec-14 21:15:17

Ours sounds just like that and I've never heard a parent complain about it, it is hot and crowded but that can't be helped. It's only one hour though, straight after school, so they haven't got to come in specially and they only stay as long as they want. It's a lot of work to run but it is a big moneyspinner.

BirminghamCityCentre Tue 09-Dec-14 21:20:57

Ours is three hours on a weekend so takes effort and endurance to attend, plus epic organisation that few are keen to get involved in. The key organisers were left thinking 'why why why are we putting everyone including ourselves through this'?? clearly, money is the answer. Maybe a scaled back version would be better/sustainable.

BirminghamCityCentre Tue 09-Dec-14 21:21:37

also liking enterprise week idea - do reception get involved in that too..?

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 09-Dec-14 21:23:04

Birmingham I think I love you just for the fact you have spoken the unspoken. I am counting down the number of fairs I still have to attend. No-one seems to question whether the amount of work and stress is actually worth it or whether there's a better way to do things.

No fairs at secondary school. Parents are asked for an annual donation to the PTA. I think they mostly go out and twist the arms of local businesses into supporting the school in exchange for free advertising. And they charge rather a lot for the quiz night, but it's also a fun evening out.

If there has to be a fair, I do agree that tying it in with enterprise week is good. Our school have done this a couple of times now and there a huge sigh of relief from many people that there is actually something semi-decent to buy. I have a pencil pot on my work desk, made from clothes pegs and old coloured pencils, that is much admired and it wasn't even made by my own children

TenMinutesEarly Tue 09-Dec-14 21:26:30

We have 4 weeks with one non uniform day per week. No payment but donations so chocolate one week, bottles, hamper food. The fayre has a bottle stall tombola

Deux Tue 09-Dec-14 21:27:55

My DS's school don't do a Christmas Fair. Instead they run a fabulous firework night in November and charge for tickets. I think it's £4 each.

It's a proper display run by external pyrotechnic company. Parents just pay for tickets and turn up. Just a few volunteers needed to man the barbecue and bar.

They make more money for less collective effort than their previous school fair.

TenMinutesEarly Tue 09-Dec-14 21:28:49

Posted too soon.

Whiskey in a locked box etc etc. chocolate tomboys stall. Hampers and cash prizes in the raffle. Face painting and Father Christmas. The school make a bomb. The bottle stall is particularly popular as is the chocolate stall with the dc. One year they raffled an ipad and made a small fortune

TenMinutesEarly Tue 09-Dec-14 21:29:20

Oh and absolutely no second hand tat.

MrsPepperMintonCandyCane Tue 09-Dec-14 21:36:20

They do Birmingham. They've made little decorations with beads strung on ribbon this year. Last year they did salt dough. Each class makes something different. They do posters and prices and help run the stall. The prices are never more than £1.50 so you can go and get what your child has made and it lasts about an hour in total. With the raffle, name a teddy and tea and coffee it works well.

DaisyFlowerChain Tue 09-Dec-14 21:45:21

No second hands tat at ours too. Like Ten, we have a few non uniform days with an item being required in exchange. Few same favourites but something new every time too. It's lovely and festive and not a chore.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Tue 09-Dec-14 21:47:00

The organisation effort isn't that huge for ours to be honest, because we do it every year it runs like clockwork. We do a Mufti day for tombola prizes, each class collects a hamperfull of stuff for the raffle (the class reps create the hampers out of fruit boxes and wrapping paper / cellophane), each class makes a craft item per child to sell to parents (again organised by class reps but sold by teachers), we run a cake stall, Santa's grotto, gift buying/wrapping stall, a few games and have a few outside stalls. We start setting up around 12.30 for a 3.15 start (usually ready by about 2.30 so we can have a tea break and buy our children's craft items before manning the stalls), do the raffle about 4.20 and it's all over and cleared away by 5. This year's made about £5 per child at the school.

neolara Tue 09-Dec-14 21:48:45

We sold around 100 Xmas trees and made nearly £2,000 profit. It's much less work than the Xmas fair.

issynoho Tue 09-Dec-14 21:57:54

I've noticed that if the focus is shifted slightly from purely fundraising to the fair being about the children having fun as well as raising money, it softens the agony a bit.

Parents only bring so much cash, so once it's gone, it's gone. Focus on doing fewer stalls but doing them well. Agree with no second hand stuff.

Have you tried having outside sellers in for a fee? Carefully chosen ones can really add to the festive atmosphere without extra hassle for you.

And definitely hold it on a Friday straight from school. Staff stay on to help, you have a captive audience of parents picking up their DC and the clearing up gets done in 30 mins cos everyone wants to go home.

BirminghamCityCentre Tue 09-Dec-14 21:59:16

thank you MrsPMCC, sounds lovely!
Ten and Daisy, think perhaps I was too close to it this year (as in, lived and breathed it for 3 solid weeks before the event). Were you both attending as normal people (i.e., not PTA?).... or are you actual PTA who don't hate it? Intrigued either way, I'd like to meet you in our school. Sounds like you have a nice atmosphere.... I would really like to get away from "give us your stuff and then buy it back" ethos though.
Friend of mine with eldest in reception had a bit of a go at me since fair because she purchased £10 box of chocs to donate to grown up gift room and was cross to see all grown up gifts were £3. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry......

issynoho Tue 09-Dec-14 22:00:01

Christmas trees - genius!

BirminghamCityCentre Tue 09-Dec-14 22:06:39

Christmas trees......wow. Def food for thought. Thank you!

BirminghamCityCentre Tue 09-Dec-14 22:07:32

where do you get your trees, neolara??

Redcoats Tue 09-Dec-14 22:20:04

We get outside traders in for most of ours selling crafts, bread, cheese, cakes and stuff. Think we charge £25 per pitch. That accounts for a third of our income.
We have a few PTA stalls and have non uniform days asking for smellies and chocs. We then parcel them up into 'hampers'/ gift baskets for sale. We makd sure to price well inder retail. This year the smellies stall was sold out within an hour.
This year we tried the Teddy tombola, pinched the idea of PTA uk Facebook page. Basically all KS1 bring on a teddy they dont want anymore. We wash them, name them and run a tombola to win them. The kids absolutely love it. We got about 400 bears! Some parents were bringing in bin bags full!

BirminghamCityCentre Tue 09-Dec-14 22:27:38

amazing the magic of a tombola. we also did a soft toy tombola with name labels and a little description and they went so fast! second hand toy stall sales dried up fast so we whacked raffle tickets on everything left and all of a sudden it kicked off and pretty much sold out. Just... amazing.
Don't get me wrong, we made a lot of money from our Fair (average £17-18 per child in school) but it feels like an excessive effort from a very small few prepared to get involved and the parents are not keen really. I'd like to find a happier way of lifting cash from them - for all involved. Outside stalls will be considered if we do this format again I guess, but would rather steer clear of Fair in future.

Redcoats Tue 09-Dec-14 22:36:13

What about a Santa dash? Get the DCs to run around the field dressed as Santa.

lemisscared Tue 09-Dec-14 22:39:47

Marking place. I am in xmas fair hell just now. Ive got a stinking cold yet im running around buying food to sell. Harassing parents to buy raffle tickets. Done the humiliation of begging for raffle prizes and printing untold bastard posters. Its basically jyst me and the chair doing all the prep with some parents helping on the day. I expect to spend two full days in school this week. There has to be an easier way.....saying that we make £££'s but i know we piss people off

merrymouse Tue 09-Dec-14 22:45:00

If you think people hate the fair ask them to pay £17 for the pleasure of not having to go?

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