Behind the Scenes: Preparations are now well underway for this year’s PTA Gift Basket Auction so why not come with us and take a sneak peek…

By Rachael Bristol-Reid

Except – what’s in the baskets is a secret until the bidding starts – shhh!

Hopefully you already have the date in your diaries for La Chat’s PTA Marché de Noel – it’s Sunday, 4 December in the Primary School (1130-1600). In addition to the wealth of stalls to browse, food and entertainment to enjoy, there are, of course, the 60 or so amazing baskets of the online gift basket auction to bid for.

The annual Primary Gift Basket Auction, which began in 2011, has proved a great fundraiser for the Primary School. Over the past two years the generosity of those contributing and bidding for these baskets has allowed the school to buy ping-pong tables and a sunsail for the outdoor areas, and a popcorn machine to be used at the various PTA events throughout the year. Money raised this year will also go towards further enhancement of the outdoor learning spaces within the Primary School.

There will be plenty of information coming out later in the month about the wonderful contents of all the various baskets themselves and how to bid on-line for the auction – bidding begins on 25 November and ends at the Marché de Noel itself (at 1430), always accompanied with a fast & furious flurry of bidding!   Today was the day the baskets were packed so En Bref couldn’t resist taking a sneak preview at some of the wonderful – and sometimes intriguing – things being wrapped.

The Primary Cafeteria was filled to the brim this morning with cheery volunteers, a wide range of gifts, packaging materials, colourful ribbons, metres of cellophane and gallons of enthusiasm.…

Each primary class produces a basket, to which are added many other contributions from individuals and organisations – creating a wonderful array of inviting goodies, with something guaranteed to interest every member of the family. This generosity does, however, mean that there is lots to do behind the scenes: not only do the gifts need to be wrapped, but individually photographed and logged for inclusion in the on-line bidding website.

“This really is a great team effort from a large number of parents, and in some cases whole families, to pull these baskets together. It’s wonderful to see so many people here today and I’d like to extend the PTA’s thanks to all our volunteers and contributors this year, it’s fantastic to have them all on board” said Gift Basket Organiser, Susanne Kelmes

“I’ve found this morning really sociable – not only have we been wrapping up gifts, but we’ve also had chance to have a secret preview of some amazing baskets.” Mum, Y3.

I have to say I was personally drawn to the ‘Disco’ basket and the cornucopia of foodie ones, but there really is something for everyone from yoga, fragrance & beauty baskets to those brimming with wines, foodstuffs and restaurant vouchers…

The Superhero baskets are sure to be an absolute hit with the kids – and I even spotted a couple of adult sized Tshirts within them. For Footie fans there will be tickets up for auction for Chelsea’s home game against Southampton AND also the West Ham v Everton match, both in April!  Classical music lovers are sure to hone in on the opportunity to hear the Berliner Philharmoniker at Le Rosey.

The Lego baskets and vast & varied selection of camps are also certain to be popular, but there is so much more: beautiful bed linens, books, toys, games and the chance to be Principal or Librarian for a day to name but a few…. As if that isn’t enough there will also be a basket specifically for the kids (and ONLY for the kids) to bid for, to be revealed when bidding opens – and for the first year an auction of two very special art projects, designed and created by the Year 1 and Year 2 children. Ooops! It’s supposed to be a secret!

By the end of the morning the Cafeteria was brimming with the most beautiful display of baskets – the final touches being hurriedly added, and baskets being whisked away to be stored safely as the Cafeteria staff worked to lay the tables for lunch.

If your interest has been piqued and you want to know more, look out for more information and the opening of the bidding process in the coming weeks. Then it will no longer be a secret!

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