The festive season is fast approaching (yes, the Christmas ads are on the telly!) and PTAs are gearing up for one of the busiest times in the fundraising calendar. So our tenth #PTAhour was filled with lots of volunteers sharing their tips, ideas and inspiration for magical a Christmas event guaranteed to sparkle!
Here's what they had to say....
Christmas Fair, festive quiz or Breakfast with Santa?
"We are organising our first Christmas fair since taking over.....stalls inside and outside, food and a bar, as well as a purpose-built Santa's grotto! We have a fabulous parent who owns their own exhibition building business and they are now building the grotto. We have red carpet to go inside it, plus decorations and a cardboard fireplace." St. Andrew's PTA
"We have organised our first Christmas market night for adults to start their Christmas shopping! We have about 16 stalls and all but one are local businesses. We will run a bar (of course!) and a local restaurant is supplying us with food for us to serve." Valewood PTA
"Christmas Fair for us! Grotto, lots of games, entertainment from school groups, stalls, tombolas, BBQ, mulled wine. We’re trying it from 3-6pm for the first time (usually 11-2) - hoping it feels a bit more magical with Xmas lights!" Pembury School PTA
"We hold a Ladies Pre-Christmas Party in November with gin tasting, a raffle, games and shopping for £5 per ticket." Karen L
"We've got a fair with a grotto, external stall holders & PTA-run stalls. School choir will be singing Christmas carols We're also having a photo booth, something we're doing for the 2nd year running, and a grotto with two Santas (unbeknown to the children) as this sped the process up last year !" Meadow PTA (FOMPTA)
"This is our third year running Breakfast with Santa on a Saturday morning. We sell advance tickets with food ordering sheet, things like toast, croissants, Nutella, jam, butter, muffin, orange juice, tea/coffee etc. We have two sittings and we plate everything up in advance and put each families order together on a tray. One of our volunteers dresses up as Santa and at the end he reads all the children a story and gives out small gifts like stationery sets." Kay L
"We are having another Christmas quiz as last year was so successful, we had Santa there also. Small profit but good as we're a new PTA so it was more about getting people there than making a lot of money. We also have a Christmas Raffle which is probably our main earner for the year. We start selling tickets at the quiz and then on the day of our Christmas plays too. We make around £1,000." Marie Anne T
"School organise the majority of the Xmas fair, but this year the PTA have arranged for reindeer to visit! We will charge for kids to get a quick photo taken by their parents. Probably won't make our money back on this but will bring people in." Netherlee PTA
"This year we’re doing a Christmas film night with the children in onesies, with pizza & popcorn... at the same time doing a grotto with Santa reading a story to small groups of children, with a secret present room & the good old raffle being drawn when parents arrive to collect." Emma Louise H
Fun and Games
From Lob A Loo Roll to Elfie Selfies!
"Olaf visited Friends Of White Hall Academy at our Christmas Fayre 2017. Not a big money earner, but lots of fun." Barbara P
"I’ve done an enterprise challenge for Years 5/6, we give them £10 and they have to design and run a stall the most profitable to win a prize." @LuttyRR via Twitter
"We have an Elfie station complete with Christmas props that you can use to take an Elfie (aka selfie!) We don't charge for this, it's a free activity. Makes the night a bit of fun and not all sell sell sell." Lyndsey G
"Our best Xmas earner is our hampers. Each year group has a colour and brings in an item, we make up hampers and raffle them, we make around £1000." Natalie N-S
"Something that worked really well for us last year was a Elf Hunt. We had pictures all over the fair and the kids hunted them down and filled in a sheet, then all entries went into a draw for a prize. Meant people went all over and saw all the stalls and it was a real money spinner as we had it in the entrance hall when people came in." Emma M
"Our biggest money maker (and great experience for the children!) is the secrets room which we open during two school days to the pupils then we open it up to the public at our Xmas fair evening! We hold non uniform days throughout the year in return for a new or unused item suitable to give as a gift. We then sell the gifts to the children (max of two gifts) and wrap them whilst they write the labels. We have lower priced gifts from 50p-£2 during the school day, then gifts up to £4 for the fair night." Michelle C
"Our adopt a teddy stall always goes well. We ask for donations of soft toys and they can choose one for 50p and get an adoption certificate. No real costs but 3 tables of cuddlies vanished last year!" Jemma P
Check out these fantastic games made by ex-primary teacher turned PTA Chair Jemma!
"We ask parents to donate filled jars. We don’t have rules but we do make suggestions of small toys, craft items, sweets etc. It’s an easy one for parents to do and always sells out really quickly. We sell for £1 each." Julia B
"We’ve switched to cardboard Chinese noodle boxes instead of jars, better for decorating." Eleanor H
"Our most popular stall is probably Wine or Water at £1 a go. We ask for bottles of wine to be donated and fill 3 empty bottles with water, folk then have a one in four chance of winning a bottle of wine for a £1! Stall is emptied within 20 mins!" Michelle C
"We changed our Grotto this year to a Santa Story Time. It was a huge hit, 10 children per session. Santa gave out a present at the end. We were fully booked." St Margaret's C of E Primary
"We held our first auction last year which started online, we listed each prize individually with a starting bid price. It continued until the Xmas Fair, where we had a sheet with the prizes and the last highest bidder, so people could add names and higher bid. Ending at the fair added about £400 to the total. We made over £1000,. parents loved it." Anneka D-D
"We do hook a bag and it’s very popular. We give white bags to the 2 biggest years and they take home and decorate bag and fill it with stuff like sweet, toys party bag things and we charge £2 a go. We sell out in the first 20 mins." Zoe P
"My dad always runs a snowball ping pong game (bounce and land one in the jar for a prize) and he makes almost £100 (it's harder than you think)
Or how about Rudolph coin drop - a picture of Rudolph at the bottom of a full fish tank. They double their money if they land a coin inside the nose. Another one that does well and is harder than it looks!" Steph M
"Our most popular game for the last 3 years has been ‘lob a loo roll’. We decorate an old toilet (which we jet washed when we got it), then wrap three toilet rolls in sellotape with the aim of the game to get all three in the loo from about 2.5metres away. We charge £1 a go and ask for chocolate donations from a year group for prizes. Raises around £250 each Christmas Fair and gets very competitive!" Claire N
"This was our Champagne String Pull game from 2 years ago. People paid £1 to write their name on a label and stick it to one of the ribbons. (Only one ribbon is attached to the bottle.) At the end of the fair the head lifts the bottle and the string that is attached wins the champagne. Very successful!" Jill H
There are loads more PlanSocial Christmas Fair ideas available to download by clicking here :)
Traditional turkey? Or easy peasy crowd pleasers?
"Rolls with square sausage go down a storm. We tried hotdogs once, but not so popular." Evelyn V
"We do pizza. We have a deal with Dominos to deliver 10 pizzas every half hour until we say stop. We charge £1 per slice, 50p of which goes to Dominos." Wendy K
"We sell turkey barm cakes with option of stuffing/ cranberry. One of our parents makes samosas and chicken pasties for us to sell." Jill S
"We’re just doing hot dogs and soup. Not done hot food before so trying to keep it simple!" Hannah R
"We offer Chicken Curry, Veggie Curry - served with rice, naan, yogurt & chutney. Sausage in a roll (with a veggie option). And jacket potatoes with a choice of tuna mayo, beans or cheese. Parents volunteer to cook the curries from a standard recipe." Carlee H
"Costco turkey steaks in a slow cooker with gravy.... shred it & add to buns with cranberry sauce & stuffing... sold out last year & all loved them! Might add soup & a roll to this years as well..." Jay-Ann D
"We do pizza, samosas (we buy in), turkey and cranberry baps and wedges. Tried different veggie options but this year going for roast pepper and houmous baps. Our parents donate/make cakes for cake stall too." Nikki C
"We do rolls with bacon only. We have to have a school cook in the kitchen to supervise which we have to pay for." Nicola D
"FYI, if you contact Warburtons they donate bread rolls. I've done it twice now and both times have been successful!" Tracy H
Our Pinterest page has lots of tempting food and drink inspiration, plus festive crafts and games ideas too!
Or "how to spread the workload!"
"We're hoping to encourage mature year sixes to volunteer. We also hope we can get t-shirts for them so they can stand out!" Glenn O
"We have 30 minute slots so they aren't required to be on a stall all night and can shop too." Lyndsey G
"We tried classes to organise a stall and pupils to help out, but seemed a bit chaotic! Teachers prefer to be given a stall to run. I always meet with the head prior to the Fayre to go through the plans and anything left that needs doing. He will take a list of jobs and stalls to the staff and allocate who does what." Louiza M
"Ask people in the playground, some mums enjoy baking so ask them for a cake, some are creative so we ask for help on craft stalls, some just like making tea, so we ask those! I think sometimes it's the unknown that puts people off, so something they are comfortable with could encourage them to volunteer." Caroline F
"We allocate certain stalls to year groups. Same stall every year so everyone gets a fresh stall each year." Nicola J
Tired of doing everything yourself? Need more help? Start a free PlanSocial account and make organising events and volunteering easy for all!
Have your say!
Are you organising a fabulous festive event? Planning something new this year, or sticking to a sure-fire winner? Tell us all about it, we love to hear what you're up to! Email us, tweet or share your pictures and ideas with over 2,000 other PTA volunteers in our Facebook group for PTAs :)
PlanSocial provides online payment and community hubs for schools and PTAs. List events and volunteer opportunities, sell tickets and collect online donations, connect parents directly with others in their kids’ classes to build a strong community spirit. Create a hub for your school community in 2 minutes.