A sprinkle of magic

Bucks resident will launch new family-friendly holiday product on Amazon

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

A new tradition: The Giacoponello family (pictured above) of Warwick started the holiday tradition of Mister Sprinkle — a magical tale of how Christmas cookies allow Santa to travel the world in a single night. PHOTO: Jeff Giacoponello

Three years ago, Jeff and Danielle Giacoponello had to face the situation all parents dread during the holidays — their son was questioning the existence of Santa Claus. Though Andrew was only 3 at the time, he didn’t believe one man could visit every child in a single night. Thinking on their feet, his parents came up with the only explanation — there’s magic in the Christmas cookies. Thus, the tale of Mister Sprinkle was born, and on Dec. 5, a plush ornament, storybook and more will be available on Amazon, allowing families everywhere to discover the secret of Santa’s magic.

Since that particular Christmas, Mister Sprinkle has become a unique holiday tradition in the Giacoponellos’ Warwick household. Star-shaped with wide eyes and a friendly, red grin, the cookie gives Santa the magic needed to deliver toys to millions of children. For some time, the plan was to keep the concept within the family.

“It was really for us,” Jeff Giacoponello said.

It wasn’t until his daughter Catrina, 24, made the suggestion to turn the idea into a children’s book that it started to evolve. The entire process took two years, with Catrina using her kindergarten-teaching skills to coach her father in the writing process. After seeing the finished product, the family began to seriously consider getting the book published. The only challenge was not getting Mister Sprinkle lost in the mix of endless children’s Christmas stories already on the shelves.

According to Jeff’s wife Danielle, who has 15 years of experience in the gift industry working at NY Now, formerly known as the New York International Gift Fair, most items on the market blend together. The only product that has stood out to her is the popular Elf on the Shelf, an entire experience in a box complete with a toy and storybook. After this realization, the husband-wife duo knew they needed to evolve Mister Sprinkle beyond the pages of a book.

So, Jeff created a loveable plush ornament of Mister Sprinkle, which he said his son refused to hang on the tree because he got so attached. Next, he made plastic molds of the three characters in the story, which became cookie cutters. Not only do these capture the shape of each character, but also their facial expressions. He also outlined his family’s special sugar cookie recipe so everyone can enjoy the taste of the original Mister Sprinkle.

Turn the page: As a fundraising supporter of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the first $5,000 raised through Mister Sprinkle will be donated to the Children’s Fund. The gift set will be available on Amazon and at the Bucks County Visitor Center beginning Dec. 5. PHOTO: Jeff Giacoponello

Each of these items, including the storybook Mister Sprinkle and the Secret of Santa’s Magic, will be available as a set on Amazon and at the Bucks County Visitor Center as part of Visit Bucks County’s TreeFest beginning Dec. 5. Much like Elf on the Shelf, everything will come in a neatly packaged 10-by-10 box to help create a new holiday tradition for families everywhere.

For Jeff, who never envisioned himself as an entrepreneur, the potential for this spur-of-the-moment idea to take off is exciting, especially since it’s linked to a good cause. When his friend’s daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, Jeff witnessed firsthand the care and support she received at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. To help counter the scary experience, he reflected on how wonderfully the staff treated patients, bringing in guests such as Build A Bear and the Phillie Phanatic.

That’s why Mister Sprinkle is a fundraising supporter of CHOP, with the first $5,000 in sales going toward the Children’s Fund.

“Mister Sprinkle is about celebrating family time and the magic of being a child,” Jeff said.

Right now, the Giacoponellos are focused on the launch of Mister Sprinkle and sharing their holiday tradition with the world. Depending on its success, Jeff already has a few more goals in mind, such as a Mister Sprinkle Easy Bake Oven. According to him, this portable machine would allow the kids at CHOP to live out the story and bake their own magic cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. He would also love to see a Mister Sprinkle Christmas special on a channel like Hallmark or Freeform, though he knows that’s more of a longterm project.

The Mister Sprinkle gift set will launch on Dec. 5 at sprinklesmagic.com and amazon.com. It will also be available for purchase in the Gift Shop for $27.99 throughout TreeFest at the Bucks County Visitor Center, located at 3207 Street Road in Bensalem. You can also keep up with the magical cookie on social media by searching “Mister Sprinkle” on Facebook and Instagram. ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com