Santa: Hold a Breakfast with Santa fundraising event in December. Sell tickets for $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Serve pancakes, sausage, bacon, coffee, milk and juice. Servers dress as Santa’s elves. Santa visits each table addressing the children by name (courtesy of name tags). Santa then retreats to his decorated throne where you sell pictures of the children with Santa. Use a Polaroid or a digital camera (with laptop computer and printer) on a tripod for consistently clear shots. Arrange a good backdrop and/or props such as a sleigh or reindeer.
Experiment ahead of time to determine the best lighting and distance for good photos. Get photo cards or envelopes to make sure the photos get home in good shape. Sing Christmas carols to help pass the time. Photos can be extra or included in the breakfast ticket charge, raise ticket prices accordingly. If included, tables for service could be assigned as participants arrive and photo sessions called by table number to avoid long waiting lines. You might also arrange a secret microphone on Santa, with the speaker in the parents designated waiting area to learn their child’s secret wish for Christmas.
Variation: Change the date and costumed characters, and you have Breakfast with the Easter Bunny, St Patrick, the Great Pumpkin, Uncle Sam, the Pilgrims, you name it. For Easter, you could also include a sale of flowers and spring plants or decorated eggs. You can sell appropriately decorated cookies, pies or cakes at any event. Many fundraising options.