Several years back I lived in a tiny town called Olalla in Washington State. In that town lives a famous author, Mr. Gregg Olsen. Every year, on Christmas Eve, Gregg does a book hunt. He takes 10-20 of his books, hides them around the town, takes cryptic pictures, and posts on Facebook. Everyone loves this book hunt. We all scramble to decipher the clues and be the first to find the book.
I’ve decided to take that idea and bring it 3000 miles across the Atlantic and into my tiny town in Ireland. Everyone knows how different this year has been. Most of us are stuck at home over the holidays. I thought it would be the perfect year to start something new.
I decided to use two of my local Facebook community groups; which I’m keeping anonymous for the sake of privacy. I messaged the admins of each group for approval to post. The group admins both loved the idea and approved
Countdown to Christmas Eve
Tuesday: Time to start advertising and getting the word on the street, so to speak. I posted my first advertisement along with a fun picture of the elves bagging up the books.
Wednesday: Time to post a friendly reminder along with another fun picture. This picture was to keep things fun and let parents know we were keeping in line with Covid-19 guidelines.
Morning: We bundled up the kids and headed out with our books and elves in tow. The kids helped figure out some great places to hide the books. We tried to make the hiding spots both simple, but not so easy random people would find the books before the hunters did. We took photos of the elves hiding the books around town.
11:30: It took much longer than anticipated to hide all the books, walking with four kids and all. We made it back home with about 30 mins to spare. I quickly uploaded some pictures of the elves about town as well as one last reminder of the hunt started at noon.
Noon: Final post included the rules and pictures. Then it was time to take a deep breath, sit back, and wait.
Outcome: The response was amazing. I received several likes and comments on the original post Tuesday; however, simply because people like an idea doesn’t mean they will participate. As soon as I posted the 7 pictures, a horrible feeling of doubt passed through me. I had really put myself out there and I thought, for sure, I was about to crash and burn.
I should have known my wonderful community would shine! The first book was found within minutes. It took less than an hour for six books to be found. There is one more book still out there waiting to be rescued from the cold; I’ll give it a day before sending out a search party. – UPDATE – all books have been found.
Conclusion: This was a great event. Free marketing plus some fun for all during a holiday season like no other. I have already received some great feedback on the book, and hope everyone else enjoys it as well.
This is definitely something I will try to do again next year. I’m hoping to get more of the community involvement and perhaps more local authors as well. I would love for this to turn into an annual, community event.
All in all, the book hunt was a success and I’m glad I did it.