Excuses for not volunteering at the Christmas Fair....

(98 Posts)
temporaryname99 Wed 29-Nov-17 18:38:45

I am honest at all times, and sometimes it would be better if I wasn't.
When I got an email to ask me directly - not just a general group email- if I will help at the Christmas Fair, these are all the honest answers I considered giving:
The Christmas Fair is like the 7th circle of hell; it's hot, crowded and noisy, everyone is lugging round bags and coats, it's like torture.
I was on the Tombola last year and I was traumatised by the absoulutely embarrassingly sad looking prizes, one woman who kept buying more and more tickets until she'd spent far more than any of the prizes were worth, and by being completely alone with no one to answer my questions or take over from me.
Previously I've tried to help with set up, but never been given proper instructions and just stood around feeling useless or I've been given some impossible craft task that I'm terrible at, like making paper snowflakes.
I know if I volunteered to help it would hang over me and I would feel anxious about it from now until it was over.
I'm perfectly capable in other spheres; have no problem training a group of people, giving speeches, travelling in strange places, but the school fair is my nightmare.

I know other people would just make an excuse, and say oh I can't make it , but I can't lie, so I said I was traumatised by last year and I would support by donating items and spending money at the fair.
But I feel guilty. And know I come over as pathetic. I really saw myself as the kind of mum who would be very involved in these things, but when it came down to it, I realised it's really not where my strengths lie.

Long post! Sorry! I just had to offload all that on to mumsnet!!
Anyone else find school fairs excruciating? What are your Excuses?

OP’s posts: |
user789653241 Wed 29-Nov-17 18:58:44

If you don't want to do actual fair, can't you help setting up/ clearing up if you feel so guilty for not helping?

I find it difficult too(total introvert), but they usually give us the choice to what we want to do. I love art and books, so Christmas craft table or book sales is my normal choice.

WasDoingFine Wed 29-Nov-17 19:00:27

They are my idea of hell and l don't attend now ds2 is in yr6.

I really tried to be involved in the school but the Headteacher was not welcoming and l found that the more l did i.e reading, activiities, fayres etc the less civil she was too me

MaryPoppinsPenguins Wed 29-Nov-17 19:06:09

Maybe you should just do it. It only has to be half hour of your life, and it is for the mutual benefit of everyone at your school I would imagine?

Hauntedlobster Wed 29-Nov-17 19:06:42


Hauntedlobster Wed 29-Nov-17 19:07:04


MsGameandWatching Wed 29-Nov-17 19:09:05

I’m a single parent of two kids with additional needs and no respite whatsoever so I don’t do school stuff like that, I just don’t have it in me.


Schlimbesserung Wed 29-Nov-17 19:10:44

I don't make excuses. If I'm asked nicely I just say "No, I'm sorry but that won't be possible". If I'm not, then it's either just "No" or "No, I don't want to".
you've said you'll be doing something else to support the school, that's enough. I'm happy to make costumes, bake cakes and that sort of thing, but there's no way I'd spend an afternoon at the school fair.

RB68 Wed 29-Nov-17 19:10:53

Just say that you volunteered previously and its someone else's turn this yr as you would like to just enjoy the fair for what it is

DropZoneOne Wed 29-Nov-17 19:13:22

If you found the lack of information difficult, how about offering to put together a Christmas fair user guide? Go round each stall, making notes of how it's set up, take pictures, ask those helping what works and what doesn't. Feed that all back so the committee can use it to improve next year and your set up guide (with picture of how it should look) means it's so much easier for all involved.

I have helped at 5 Christmas fairs, 3 in treasurer capacity involving all of Friday afternoon and 10am to 5pm on Saturday before spending Sunday counting money and sorting expenses. When someone put together guides it made life so much easier!

PelvicFloorClenchReminder Wed 29-Nov-17 19:15:16

My excuse would be, "you pta type people act like I don't exist for each of the remaining weeks of the year, my postcode is below your acceptable acknowledgement threshold, my car is unacceptable to you, my child's SEN are unacceptable to you, my status as single parent is unacceptable to you, the fact that I work is unacceptable to you, you look straight through me any time you are not holding a clipboard while puffed up with self importance..." I would rather just give the school the money myself and cut out the middlemum.

But then your school pta may well be more human than mine.

Growingboys Wed 29-Nov-17 19:16:40

I think you should do it. I hate the school Christmas fair but still volunteer as it's not exactly anyone else's idea of fun, either.

temporaryname99 Wed 29-Nov-17 19:17:09

Mary Poppins: that is exactly what I say to myself: just do it; why can't you just survive it for a short time? But the flipside of that is it will cause me anxiety and it NEVER is half an hour. Even if they say you only have to do an hour and someone will take over, that never happens.
In the summer, we fundraised for the year 6 party and yearbook and I volunteered to be the treasurer which was much more my thing. We sold ice lollies and donuts after school every Friday and in fact I ended up helping with the stall every week, which was totally doable because it was a straightforward sale of only 2 products, 2 of us worked together and it was 15 minutes of mayhem and all done for the week.

OP’s posts: |
TeddyIsaHe Wed 29-Nov-17 19:18:12

DropZone how much spare time do you have?! You must be so organised because putting that together would be the end of me 😂

temporaryname99 Wed 29-Nov-17 19:19:11

Irvine: as I've said, I've tried helping with set up and it just ends up that the people in the know haven't got time to tell you what to do, so you stand around uselessly.

OP’s posts: |
temporaryname99 Wed 29-Nov-17 19:20:35

Dropzone, I'm not writing a guide!! But as I've written this I've realised I could feedback on what would make it easier for people to volunteer.

OP’s posts: |
Slightlyperturbedowlagain Wed 29-Nov-17 19:20:39

Id go for Phoebe's excuse (from friends)
'I'm sorry, I wish I could but I don't want to'

Chchchchangeabout Wed 29-Nov-17 19:20:40

I think you should lighten up a bit. A tombola is just a tombola.

ny20005 Wed 29-Nov-17 19:21:19

Wow ! This is why school pta's have issues as no one wants to help out

My kids primary school has about 280 pupils & we have less than 10 parents on the pta

It's incredibly hard trying to plan a huge event like a Christmas fayre with so few helpers but no doubt your kids will benefit from their hard work 🙄

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Wed 29-Nov-17 19:22:26

Alternatively offering to washup/sweep the floor afterwards might be straightforward?

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Wed 29-Nov-17 19:24:29

ny2005 I'm not being ungrateful, just curious, why don't you suggest that those who can donate £10 per family instead and give it a miss?

temporaryname99 Wed 29-Nov-17 19:25:34

Chchchangeabout. I know; "lighten up" - I get what you're saying. But I can't stand there and watch people give money for embarrassing rubbish prizes and pretend it's all fun. I over think things. Some people have the right lighthearted attitude and some people are like me.

OP’s posts: |
Gazelda Wed 29-Nov-17 19:26:26

If everyone gave excuses, who do you think would run the fair? Many parents don't enjoy it, but carry on through gritted teeth.

Having said that, it isn't worth it if it will truly give you anxiety.

What about volunteering to help clear up afterwards? In my experience, the clearing up is the most soul destroying part of the event - everyone has disappeared, it's dark outside (where our storage is), you're knackered after a weekend of setting up and running the event, and you just want to get home for pizza and Pinot. You don't need instructions to pack up, just find a box and pile things in neatly. Take down signage, clear up in the kitchen etc. All can be done alone or as part of a gang. And I promise you that the organisers will be bloody grateful.

temporaryname99 Wed 29-Nov-17 19:26:52

Ny2005: I feel that the school fair organisers are thinking exactly that about me. If I didn't feel bad about it, I wouldn't have written a massive long post about it.

OP’s posts: |
Slightlyperturbedowlagain Wed 29-Nov-17 19:29:12

if everyone gave excuses, who do you think would run the fair? Many parents don't enjoy it, but carry on through gritted teeth.
That's sort of my point really, if no one wants to help or go to it, why do it? Why not do something else to raise money?

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in