Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Fair and Other Ailments

We finally had the school Christmas fair this past weekend. What a lot of work! I decided to chair the subcommittee to run the fair, something that has never been done before at the school (subcommittees). It worked well!

As you know (or if you don't read here) the PTA  has been an uphill battle for me and the rest of the core committee. This year I was determined to kick off the season with a really organised,successful fair. I wanted to raise at least £1,000 more than we usually do. I organised my team and set to work - six weeks early.

We had a great ideas person who came up with selling Christmas trees and poinsettias. That was a big, big hit. We got rid of all the old booths that didn't work. We had a raffle that we organised, not the half assed 'auction' from last year where half the prizes went missing (don't get me started on THAT). There was mulled wine and mince pies, toffee apples and popcorn, crafts, a Kid Zone (also thought up by the idea lady - who was one of my two companions that organised the whole thing), Santa grotto, decorations in the hall. Most of this was new. We even had hot food, for the first time ever at a winter fair. Everything was a big, big hit.

Sounds easy, no? No. We had the old regime sticking their noses in a few times trying to take over a few things: decorations, booths, etc. We wanted a marquee but the wrong one showed up and we had the head teacher after us to get rid of it (which was a task and a half but I got it returned by telling them I would probably be deported if someone didn't get it out of the school). One person kept undermining us which was maddening, but she came round in the end and joined forces with us, turning out to be a huge asset in the end.

It was six weeks of trying to wrangle people together to work as a team. I'm not getting too into the extent of it, but too many PTA members just make a decision, go to the head teacher or another teacher and start to do their own thing, without mentioning it to the official PTA but expecting us to bank roll it. We shut them down. More than once. I know I was not popular. But in the end everyone was working together.

Only on the day was there an issue with a booth, from a mum who has had a booth there for years - she wanted more tables, complained, started rearranging my floor plan (heaven forbid!). I had to have words with her and we worked it out. next year she's a goner! too much trouble and not that much of a money maker.

The fair ran smoothly, no real problems - woefully short staffed (as usual) but we raised £1,000 more than we ever have. Exactly what I wanted. Hooray.

With all the troubles leading up to it, everyone was so happy on the day and after. And the kids had a great time. That's what really matters.

Now the PTA is back to disorganised and everyone acting on their own. I give up! I made my point: organisation is the key, no one cares. It's like herding fish.

I've had the norovirus and been knocked out in bed for two days. Horrible, horrible stuff. As I take to my bed I realise, it's only the PTA. I don't have to change the world. Still, I wonder if I can walk away...


  1. Same old same old everywhere even here at the PTA's in Germany. Loved your comment about herding fish! Had the same kind of scenario at our school's jubilee here last year, when no one really understood the merits of organisation at first, just endless committees blahing away, everyone doing their own thing.....but we made it through but now its just the same old story....

  2. It's good to know PTAs are the same the world over. But its hard to cut loose once you've gotten involved. And good for you for not getting steamrolled and having an amazing event. It sounds like it was wonderful.


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