Finding Nutmeg was created by Greg Clarke pictured above
Children’s book Finding Nutmeg is a must-have for Christmas 2020
Though it looks like Christmas 2020 will be a little different for many families, this year is also an opportunity to create new traditions that bring the whole family together. This is exactly what The Santa Experience and one of its creators, Greg Clarke, have done as they launch their festive book, ‘Finding Nutmeg’.
This beautifully illustrated children’s book details the story of one boy’s magical adventure to the North Pole. After finding a magical coin outside his grandad’s workshop, Sean embarks on a mission to return it to its rightful owner: Nutmeg the Elf. Join Sean on his journey to find Nutmeg as he meets elves, reindeer and even a talking snowman along the way—all while learning about the importance of helping and giving (the true qualities of an elf!).
Written by Limerick native, Greg Clarke, with illustrations by Des Langford and colour by Deborah Hilbert, ‘Finding Nutmeg’, is a timeless tale that’s sure to bring the whole family together. And for the year that’s in it, ‘Finding Nutmeg’ will help families recreate the magic of The Santa Experience safely in their homes.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the book, Greg, who is the Managing Director of The Santa Experience, said the book is the product of a lifetime love for everything festive, as well as his experiences interacting with thousands of families and witnessing their joy and happiness as they visit Santa at one of their locations.
He said: “I grew up in a house where Christmas was a big deal – and retrieving the giant box from the attic once a year was an eagerly anticipated moment. The night spent decorating the entire house from carefully drawn blueprints was the best family fun.
“’Finding Nutmeg’ came from a love of Christmas and knowing what makes a Christmas experience authentic, genuine and magical. We have learned this not only from years of creating and building The Santa Experience but also from interacting with thousands of families and seeing children’s reactions as they journey through the North Pole on their way to visit Santa.”
“This year is going to be a bit of a departure from how we are used to celebrating Christmas and we recognise that here at The Santa Experience, so we’re delighted to be able to launch this book and provide something different for families—something they can experience from within their homes. We want to offer a safe experience for people but one that still retains that magic of Christmas, and I think this book helps us to achieve that. As opposed to a once-a-year event for families, owning ‘Finding Nutmeg’ allows children to relive the magic time and time again, pass it on to other family members, and create traditions that can live on forever, ” Greg added.
‘Finding Nutmeg’ is available to purchase from selected Dunnes Stores as well as Dunnes Stores’ online shop HERE
For further information on ‘Finding Nutmeg’, go HERE
About the author: Greg Clarke
Greg was born and raised in Limerick City. He attended Scoil Íde primary school, St. Munchin’s College secondary school and Limerick Institute of Technology where he studied Property Valuation & Management. He worked in industrial property sales and lettings for over six years in Dublin before finally partnering with his father, Ger, to run the new family business, Magic Hammer Events Ltd.
In its first year, Greg had helped his father bring the vision of “The Santa Experience” to life. A pre-booked, multi-room, interactive experience where families travel through the Elves’ Post Office, Reindeer Stables, Sleigh Station and a snowy Arctic Area before arriving at Santa’s House where Santa speaks with each child individually, amazing them when he knows something special about each of them.
The Clarkes’ love of Christmas and Ger’s previous experience in amateur theatre production, as well as his successful career working at a high level in American multinationals, was a great recipe to create this authentic, magical experience. Greg took to creating scripts, designing and building scenes, as well as marketing, hiring, and managing social media.
Over the years, together with Greg’s wife, Melanie, they honed and fine-tuned The Santa Experience to where it is now: three major cities across Ireland and over 55,000 customers in 2019.
Greg also loves traveling and the year The Santa Experience commenced in 2010, whilst in Barcelona, he met his future wife, Melanie, who is now also an integral part of the team. That night, Barcelona won the Champions League and the entire city went wild. Greg and Melanie shared a cab to Las Ramblas to witness the celebrations and the rest is history. They live in Limerick City but also frequent Melanie’s hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Melanie’s experience as a Montessori teacher and children’s yoga instructor also helps to provide insight for their child-friendly events and products.
The Santa Experience and one of its creators, Greg Clarke have released their festive book, ‘Finding Nutmeg’. Finding Nutmeg is available to purchase from selected Dunnes Stores as well as @dunnesstores’ onlinehttps://t.co/PMK5VBmGG9#ilovelimerick #lovelimerick #lovinlimerick pic.twitter.com/c6r8a7icFj
— #LimerickTilliDie (@ilovelimerick) November 6, 2020
About Santa Experience: At present due to Government guidelines we are unable to operate in any location that is in Level 3 restrictions or above. If this changes we will do our utmost best to ensure some type of live in-person Santa visit but until then we have several options to bring the magic of Christmas home! The Santa Experience will be offering Virtual Zoom Santa meetings, Pre-recorded personalised Santa Videos, and Personalised Letters and Nice List Certificates. All information can be found HERE
History of The Santa Experience
Over the past 10 years, The Santa Experience, in association with Dunnes Stores, has created magical and authentic Christmas experiences for children and adults alike.
Situated in sites across Ireland, including Dublin, Limerick and Cork, this award-winning, family-run operation offers multi-room tours of the North Pole where children can meet elves, reindeer and even Santa himself!
The concept for the Santa Experience grew from a love of Christmas instilled in Ger Clarke by his mum. Irrespective of the economic conditions at the time (late 50’s/early 60’s), Christmas was always (and still is) very special and magical in the Clarke household in Limerick. Growing up, Ger’s house was decorated with homemade garlands and the decorations were carefully unpacked and positioned correctly on the tree. Presents were wrapped and the family were taken into town to see the Christmas lights, attend the Panto, get their tea in the Savoy and then visit Santa Claus.
To Ger, it was and still is a magic time of the year. Back in 2010, having retired for the first time, he felt that children and their families were missing out on the opportunity to go and visit the real Santa.
Ger spent most of his standard working life with American multinational companies such as Ferenka, Westinghouse, Wang and Dell. His last role was directing various operations across EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa).
Growing up, he spent hours at the rehearsals for locally produced shows in which his mum starred. This, in addition to his grandfather’s mastery of music, instilled a love of creative theatre in him. He led, produced, created, lit, designed, built and performed in shows at both local and national level. Light-heartedly, Ger said he quickly understood that he was better behind the scenes.
Ger said, “We started the Santa Experience in Limerick 10 years ago. I had been to the USA many times and probably got engrossed in the way they did things; I had this idea of creating the “real Christmas experience for children”. The initial concept has matured over the years, based on continuous brainstorming and creation driven by those around me. My wife, Cecil, is the chief designer of the grottos. My daughter, Deirdre, and son, Gearoid, have done all jobs from elf-ing to managing. My daughter-in-law, Melanie, has brought a new level of efficiency, organisational and creative skills as our systems guru and lateral thinker. My son, Greg, is the Managing Director and looks after everything from staffing, marketing, social media, creative, PR and is alongside me in all other aspects of running the business. He has now taken the concept to another level with the publishing of ‘Finding Nutmeg’, which was directly inspired by the journey families go on when they visit The Santa Experience. We all have the responsibility to continually develop and deliver the concept without ever losing the simple goal from day one: It must be the most personal, magical and authentic Santa Experience for each and every family. And everyone, adults and children alike, must leave with a big smile on their face.”
For previous stories on The Santa Experience go HERE