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Christmas fair checklist

The earlier you start planning your Christmas fair, the more time you and your team will have for your own riot of Christmas parties and shopping! 


Planning a fair can be extremely time-consuming, especially during the Christmas period when you are already busy! Read and print out our checklist to keep track of where you are and what still needs to be done.

  • Establish who will be taking the lead on the event and recruit an organising sub-committee.

  • Book the date and time with the venue. Announce this date to your supporters and put out a request for volunteers.

  • Have you thought about having a theme? If you'd like to theme your fair, start discussing ideas - Winter Wonderland, Christmas Market, etc. Consider whether you want any headline attractions such as a Rodeo Reindeer, synthetic ice rink or pantomime. Book your third-party suppliers early.

  • If possible, review a previous event, looking at which stalls were most popular and which ones generated the most money. Need some inspiration? We have lots of ideas for games and stalls here. Agree a shortlist of stalls and work out how many volunteers you will need to help run these.

  • Your theme may dictate your choice of stalls and the type of food and refreshments you decide to serve - work out who and when food will need to be ordered/bought. To minimise waste and maximise profits, order from Booker cash and carry - they offer a 'sale or return' option on complete, unopened packs.

  • If you're planning to sell personalised items at your event, such as calendars, recipe books or Christmas puddings ( you will need to source a supplier and get the process started.

  • If you plan to run a secret present room, where children choose and wrap gifts for parents, consider ordering a ready-made pack rather than relying on donations of a dubious quality! Your Fundraising Gift Shop sells specialist packs, either wrapped or unwrapped.

  • Start contacting local businesses to source sponsorship (of your grotto, for example), raffle prizes, etc. To improve your chances of success, do this before other local schools start asking!

  • If you intend to serve alcohol you will need to serve a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) at least 21 days before your event. You will also need a lottery licence to sell raffle tickets prior to the event - if you already have one, check the expiry date.

  • Create a list of stalls and time slots for volunteers, and consider how many helpers you will need for each stall, and for how long. Begin allocating stalls and time slots to those who have already agreed to help, which will identify gaps which still need to be filled. 

  • Compile a database of helpers' email addresses so that you can keep in touch with them instantly if needs be. See our FAQs feature on data protection.

  • Don't forget to explore match funding opportunities. There are hundreds of organisations in the UK offering their employees the chance to have their fundraising efforts matched. If any of your volunteers work for a company offering match funding, be sure to put them on your most lucrative stalls! 

  • Are you providing a programme? If so, appoint someone to compile this and consider selling advertising into it.

  • Aim to start publicising your event about six weeks before, with posters in libraries, doctor's surgeries, leisure centres and playgroups. Plan a leaflet drop to local residents inviting them along!Good luck!

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