When it comes to planning your Christmas fair, stalls and games are a focal point and lots of you are open to mixing things up with new ideas. We’ve chosen 12 of our favourites to inspire you, from Parentkind staff and our creative Facebook community. Bring on the grotto, games and goodwill to create a magical celebration…
1. That's a cracker!
Create a Christmas cracker joke machine. In advance of the fair, encourage kids and parents to write jokes and hand them in (but do check them!). Mark a few with a star, pop them in a box decorated like a mammoth Christmas cracker. Charge for each joke. If anyone picks out a star joke they win a box of crackers.
Guarantee people come and create the mood quickly. Convince kids (your best crowd magnet) to sing carols. Dole out lyrics, collar someone to conduct and ask people to bring torches. Stage outside at dusk (or inside with the lights dimmed). Serve hot chocolate, mulled wine (remember your licence), mince pies and baps filled with turkey, stuffing and cranberry. Job done! Read our advice on Carol Singing as you may need a licence.
3. The classic grotto
Find a jolly volunteer willing to don the big red suit and wellies and an adult elf to help out. Create a winter wonderland and go heavy on the fairy lights. Recruit some Christmas story telling elves. Sell timed tickets so you can plan present-buying, minimise queues and bag some cash in advance of the event. If you can't find someone to volunteer as the big man, you could have Santa's head elf or Mrs Claus.
4. Oh, Christmas Tree
What do most people buy? A Christmas tree. Get in on the act and invite a reputable supplier the chance to sell from your playground or car park for a share of the profit. Alternatively convince a local garden centre to give a percentage of the tree price to your school on presentation of a flyer.
5. Fill your stocking
Create a mantelpiece (from wood, cardboard or chalked on a wall) and hang Christmas stockings securely on a line across the top. Place an item into each one. Players guess the contents and write them down for a chance to win a top prize. Explain that in the event of a draw, names will be placed in a hat.
Go low on landfill. Remember kids can win small, donated prizes or even tokens for other games. Recycle good condition, second-hand books, toys and games through stalls and a tombola – you’ll up your green credentials and your profit margin at the same time.
7. Sweet stocking fillers
Buy clear cellophane bags (or an eco alternative) from a wholesaler or eBay. Fill with either milk chocolate raisins (reindeer poo), mini marshmallows/white chocolate buttons (snowman poo) or mint (bah!) humbugs. Design your own paper label – fold over the tip and staple shut.
8. Deck the halls
Make up batches of salt dough or gingerbread biscuits in Christmas shapes. Kids can pay to decorate them - either with icing and sweets or with paint, glue and glitter. Forage for foliage, then teach parents how to create Christmas wreaths and table decorations or go kitsch with wire coat hangers and tinsel.
9. 'Elfridges' is open for business!
Help kids buy affordable presents for their families. Set up a secret store where the ‘Elves’ are the only adults allowed. Bulk buy small gifts and sell at pocket money prices. Display the choices on offer and have gift-wrapped versions ready to go. Hand over a label for kids to fill in and attach.
10. Jolly, jazzy jars
A competition, a stall and a money spinner. Run a contest for the best-dressed jar from each year group. Kids can transform containers into seasonal creations including angels, snowmen and reindeer. Ask them to fill them with tiny treats and toys. Sell these popular, festive gifts at the fair.
11. Christmas punch pots
A fun game and looks great as a stall. Fill flower pots with some prizes of your choice and cover the top with festive tissue paper, fixed on with an elastic band. People then pay to punch the top of the pot open to take their mystery prize (a twist on the traditional lucky dip!) You can keep the pots so you can keep refilling them.
12. Bauble bobbing
Similar to 'hook-a-duck', fill a paddling pool with Styrofoam shapes and Christmas baubles. Participants hook the baubles out of the pool. Each bauble has a different coloured spot, each colour representing a prize.
Read more in our Christmas A to Z and Santa’s Grotto tips.