Shortly after I arrived in the parish we started a Christmas Fayre held each year at the end of November. The purpose is first and foremost to connect with our local community and to create a welcoming setting for those who visit our church building. After a year or two of good, but fairly low, numbers we invited the choirs from our local schools to join us and the numbers increased substantially.

At our recent workshop on Christmas I suggested re-branding this as an Advent Craft and Gift Fair. This was positively commented on by one group and has also been very positively supported by the Leadership Team. So this autumn we will be making some changes.

As the focus will be on new craft and gift stalls this is an encouragement to all the ‘crafty’ people in our church community to get creating! Can you make hand made cards, christmas decorations, knitted gifts, jewellery, wood turning, children’s craft, christmas door wreaths etc. etc.

A quick search on the internet and here are 42 craft projects that are easy to make.

As for me I will be returning to my youth when I used to make candles! I will be trying to make some small, christmas scented, candles to sell.

If you don’t feel you have craft stills there are many other ways you can help.

It would be fantastic if someone could volunteer to organise the Advent Craft and Gift Fair. It would involve co-ordinating the volunteers for stalls, organising setting up the church building the day before and generally overseeing things on the day. Please speak to Sandy

We will need people to prepare and serve refreshments. Perhaps this year we could make more of this?

One of the most popular stalls is the cake stall. Can you offer to bake cakes, or perhaps you have a skill and making jams, chutneys or preserves?

Or you can offer to help move chairs and tables on the day before to prepare the church building?

In order to make it more a craft and gift fair we will also be limiting the raffles and tombolas to the two long term favourites, the hamper raffle and chocolate tombola and also not including secondhand or brick-a-brack stalls.

Above and below are some photos from Whiteley’s Advent Fair last year which might give you some ideas.