Updated: Mar 21, 2022
"This is a dream come true opportunity. I pinch myself when I think of what I have achieved with my debut book Santa's Lost Buttons. I am both humbled and grateful every day" Kirsty-Louise Garbutt, Author.
Author Meet & Greet area onboard P&O Pride of Rotterdam
On four magical and festive days in December, Kirsty was invited to read her debut children's picture book, Santa’s Lost Buttons, onboard two magnificent P&O vessels, Pride of Hull and Pride of Rotterdam. When receiving the call from P&O in November, Kirsty could hardly contain her excitement.
"When I received the call from the P&O events team at Dover, I accepted the invitation straightaway! I recall not even allowing them to finish what they were saying before I excitedly screamed my acceptance! I knew it was a wonderful opportunity and I was just simply over the moon!"
On the days of the event, Children gathered in the Main Hall to hear the new seasonal story being told by the Author. Over the course of the four days, twelve Author readings of Santa's Lost Buttons took place. In total 600, very excitable children, plus their families, would have an everlasting memory of hearing the festive story being told by the Author herself.
Before commencing with the story, Potty the Pirate showed the children Santa's real wooden button with Santa's name on top. The real button being the same button shown throughout the story which the children help Belle the Elf to find as they fall from Santa's iconic red suit. The button also holds a secret message which is inscribed along the bottom.
Shy confessions were made by children and adults alike who admitted they couldn't see the secret message at all! Kirsty, most horrified at their revelations, informed the room this meant there were Non Believers present! Adults and children all gasped in disbelief with many adults proclaiming their innocence! Kirsty made the perfect suggestion that they take a look at Santa's button again after the story. If the Non Believers had become Believers after hearing the story, Kirsty was sure they would all see the secret message on the button.
Potty the Pirate with the Children and Santa's real button with its secret message!
Kirsty excitedly asking the children if they could help Belle the Elf find Santa's Lost Buttons
Kirsty then opened the book and asked the children if they would join Belle the Elf on her secret mission to find Santa's Lost Buttons. Their mission, should they choose to accept it, was to find Santa's buttons in the pictures and let Kirsty know where they were.
"Are you sitting comfortably? Then we shall begin.............."
The story took the audience on a wonderful journey around the world which saw Santa in many mishaps and near misses resulting in him losing his buttons! The children saw Santa bitten on the bottom by an angry cat in Scotland, chased by the Queen's corgis in England, fall over a sleeping Grandma in France and lose his trousers dancing in Spain! The audience then took a breath and sighed happily as Santa's last gift, to restore the faith and belief in the magic of Christmas for a little girl in America, completed the story - almost anyway. One last stop at "their" house had the children cheering with glee and looking forward to Santa's visit on Christmas Eve!
Children were excited to show Kirsty and their friends they had found Santa's buttons!
Cheers, whoops and shouts of "There's the button!" could be heard all over the ship
Belle the Elf and Santa's Lost Buttons making it to America with the children in toe!
Kirsty asking the children if they were ready to see the secret message?
With a festive adventure which took the audience around the world complete, the buttons found and the mission a success, it was time to revisit Santa's wooden button to see if the secret message was there for all to see.
Children quickly ran to Potty the Pirate to see if they could see the secret message on Santa's button! Everyone in the hall jumped with glee as they saw the secret message appear!
Kirsty (and some nervous adults!) were pleased to know the Non Believers were Believers once more. The magic of Christmas was truly there for all to see and feel.
Potty the Pirate, Kirsty and the children were happy to see the secret message appear on Santa's wooden button.
The event was a sensational success for P&O and Kirsty. Many happy families and very excitable children left for home and feeling super festive and ready for Santa!
When the final event closed it's passenger ship doors on 19th December, Kirsty reflected over the four magical days onboard the vessels;
"The whole P&O Dine With Santa and Author reading of Santa's Lost Buttons was a magical experience for me personally, I hope for the children and grown-ups too. Magical memories of this event will stay with me for the rest of my life"
Santa's Little Helper, Santa Claus, Belle the Elf, Kirsty-Louise Garbutt, Potty the Pirate