Ultimate Christmas fair food

When it comes to deciding what food to serve at your Christmas fair - burger, pizza or turkey rolls - draw on the experience of other PTAs

Do you need inspiration for Christmas fair food stalls? Refreshments are always popular, so cook up some treats that will make their mouths water!

Main meal

Turkey baps

A festive alternative to the popular PTA hog roast: serve slices of turkey in baps with cranberry sauce. Charge around £2.50 and ask your butcher to pre-slice the meat for convenience. As everything is pre-cooked, there's no waiting time. Offer a brie and cranberry version as an alternative for vegetarians.

Lucy Gianferrari, PTA Chair, St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Marple Bridge, Stockport: 'We ran a festive kitchen as part of our Christmas fair. We decorated tables with Christmassy tablecloths, and served turkey baps with cranberry sauce, hot dogs, Bailey's coffee, warmed mulled cider, and hot chocolate. We ordered the turkey from a local butcher two months in advance. It was difficult estimating how popular the baps would be and how much to buy, so we had to hope that guests would be hungry! The butcher kindly delivered the turkey – pre-sliced, cooked, and still warm – 20 minutes before the fair started. We had four volunteers: two preparing food, and two serving and taking payment. The turkey baps were served to order, as everything was pre-cooked and ready to go. People could also help themselves to cranberry sauce. We made £322 from the festive kitchen and £1,852 from the Christmas fair in total.'

International cuisine

Roo Kanis-Buck, PTA Chair, Holy Family School, Langley Berkshire (479 pupils): 'We have a wide variety of nationalities in our school, so we have a noodle bar and Polish food at our fair. The parents source the ingredients, prepare, cook and serve. The food is priced at £2.50. Two mums from the Philippines run the noodle bar, serving a chicken-based noodle dish and a vegetarian version. The takings last year were £440. The Polish stall had Polish flag bunting and Polish music. They sold baked goods, a hot cabbage dish and Polish sausages. They took £140.'

Pizza perfect

Lynda McCallum, former PTA Chair, Whiteinch Nursery School, Glasgow: 'We approached our local Domino's Pizza and asked if they had a mobile pizza stall. They couldn't have been more helpful! It cost us absolutely nothing. They sold slices of pizza for £1 each and the PTA earned 50p per slice. Dominos sent two members of staff, a mobile stall and a supply of pizzas and packaging. When they were running low, they contacted their local store and had extra pizzas delivered by bike. At the end of the event, they gave us £60.'


Hot Chocolate

The perfect drink to keep little (and big) ones warm. Heat in a slow cooker and offer extras such as marshmallows or cream at an additional cost. Practise making it up in smaller batches beforehand to determine quantities of powder to milk and water.

Rachael Atkinson, PTA Secretary, St William's Catholic Primary School, Pilling, Lancashire (19 pupils): 'We sold reindeer hot chocolate kits for £1.50 each – these included chocolate powder and marshmallows in clear triangular bags, then we put eyes and a red pom-pom for a nose on each one. We attached a ribbon and a bell to finish off.'

Louisa Quy, Vice Chair, Brunswick Park Primary School, Southgate, London (420 pupils): 'We decided to run a hot chocolate stall at our Christmas fair. Three slow cookers provided by parents kept the hot chocolate warm. Two helpers manned the stall, one serving and the other topping up the slow cookers when necessary. We found the best way to serve it was to use a ladle. We charged £1 a cup and people could add marshmallows, squirty cream or both. Refilling the slow cookers was challenging, and transporting the hot chocolate from the kitchen across the playground had to be done carefully. This year, we will position the stall nearer the kitchen to make the journey shorter. To make our hot chocolate, we used milk and a powder mix. Our outlay was £46, and we made a £59 profit. The feedback from the fair was brilliant – we made £2,600.'

Mulled wine

Use a slow cooker, soup urn or tea urn to keep mulled wine warm and charge £1.50-£2.50 per glass. When purchasing pre-made bottles, check you can return any that are unopened to allow you to buy plenty and avoid running out. A wholesaler such as Booker will allow you to do this. Buying the wine ready-mixed saves hassle, but you can always add ingredients such as fruit and fruit juice to make it more flavoursome and cheaper to produce. Selling mulled wine requires a TEN, which can be purchased from your local council – allow ten working days for processing. Consider providing a non-alcoholic version that everyone can enjoy.

Find out more about making mulled wine.

Snacks and treats

Homemade sweets

Encourage pupils to make their own sweet treats to sell: think peppermint creams, coconut ice, and chocolate truffles. Choose options that involve minimal cooking and package prettily to make the perfect gift.

Reindeer and snowman poop

Amanda Read, PTA Chair, Longfields Primary School, Bicester, Oxfordshire (340 pupils): 'Bags of reindeer and snowman poop were made up by our treasurer, using chocolate and yoghurt-covered raisins. He bought some festive-themed bags online, decorated them with colourful string and attached a small poem to each one. We kept the price low, as we wanted the children to be able to purchase them. We made £125 profit.'

Roasted chestnuts

Charge a vendor a pitch fee to sell hot, roasted chestnuts at your fair. The smell alone is guaranteed to get everyone in the festive spirit, and it will ensure you sell plenty!

Decorate a gingerbread hat

Lara Bradford, PTA Chair, Greenleas School, Leighton Buzzard, Beds (450 pupils): 'We charged £1 for children to decorate a gingerbread Santa hat. Our pupils range from two to nine, so it was important to us that we had something to appeal to all ages. The stall went down brilliantly, and we raised £337!'