App spreads festive fun

CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE HidemyPresent sees youngsters go on a treasure hunt to find their gifts.
CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE HidemyPresent sees youngsters go on a treasure hunt to find their gifts.

On one magical night each year, Santa Claus flies around the world in his reindeer-drawn sleigh, delivering Christmas gifts.

And thanks to a new app, excited children could also find him in their living rooms on Christmas Day!

GIFT GAME Liam Donahoe and Andy Taylor present their HidemyPresent app. (d556a350)

GIFT GAME Liam Donahoe and Andy Taylor present their HidemyPresent app. (d556a350)

A Mirfield duo have developed an app to help parents set up a festive treasure hunt hosted by the man in red himself.

HidemyPresent uses an animated video to deliver clues to children to help them find their gifts around the family home.

Parents choose from a list of hiding places – from in the bath to under the bed and beyond – and an animated Santa Claus delivers clues to help youngsters to find their presents.

The app even features a festive villain – Rudolph the Red Nose Rascal – who has hidden the gifts, and also promises a surprise twist in the tale.

Creators Andy Taylor, 48, and Liam Donohoe, 49, are hoping to spread some Christmas cheer after being inspired by the extravagant treasure hunts father-of-two Andy has designed annually since his children were little.

Andy said: “We’d get the presents, then in 15 minutes on Christmas morning they’d be unwrapped and I just thought, is that it?

“So I started to plan the treasure hunts, in secret, for the children.

“It makes it a lot more fun for everybody.”

Andy’s creative challenges have seen him dress as a range of characters, including PC Ramsbottom and Sherlock Combs, as well as using videos and magic tricks to surprise his two sons, Benjamin and Samuel.

Storylines for his Christmas games have included CSI: Mirfield, murder mysteries and a cops-and-robbers tale which featured a video of Andy, in police officer costume, chasing a robber around their back garden to the Benny Hill theme.

Clues have been written on windows, to magically appear when the boys’ breath steamed up the glass, the legs of Santa himself have appeared in the chimney in their Mirfield home – while clues have been hidden at Dumb Steeple, Mirfield, at the 10th hole at Dewsbury and District Golf Club and even buried in his parents’ back garden.

Andy, an interior designer, has written an e-book to accompany the app and help other parents put together their own treasure hunts, which will be released next year.

He also designs the characters and animated scenes for the app.

HidemyPresent is available for free download from the Apple App store, and pre-made videos can also be found on Youtube, with instructions for parents on where to hide the presents.

Andy and Liam, who formed Ramsbottom Productions Ltd with project manager Peter Ramsden, have developed the software with consultancy Inital Spark, based in Leeds, and hope to develop it further in the coming year.

As well as Christmas treasure hunts, the pair are keen to explore gift-finding challenges for birthdays, Halloween, Eid and other special occasions. Small business consultant Liam said they hoped to secure funding to develop the project further and even incorporate beloved children’s characters like Peppa Pig.

He said the app could be developed so that the characters address the children watching by name.

“This Christmas we want to aim it at young children and parents, to get the app out there,” Liam said.

“It’s basically about presents and giving gifts – and that happens every year, every day.”

“I’m full of ideas,” added Andy. “Some ideas from the book can go in, too.

“We knew we were onto something with the Christmas one when Santa appeared on the screen and said hello and my three-year-old niece started talking to him,” Liam said.

“Children totally believe it.”

To watch a video of the app in action, visit our website.