Around this time of the year, every year, there are five little words that can instantly excite all children and adults across Ireland. It mightn’t mean much to any other country but around here, everyone knows all about The Late Late Toy Show.
It’s a two hour live show that airs several weeks before Christmas and it’s a cultural institution. Irish children of all ages demonstrate toys and games; musicians and dancers perform; various celebrities appear throughout; the lucky studio audience are showered with gifts and the people at home eagerly tune in for a night of festive fun.
For me – as for a lot of Irish people – The Toy Show signals the start of Christmas and triggers the fondest childhood memories. Back then, this was the night when we were allowed to stay up late and we would always curl up in front of a roaring fire, stuff ourselves with sweets and squeal over the sight of the latest must-have games and gadgets.
The Toy Show is on tonight and I’m really looking forward to settling down with loved ones and a supply of sweet treats, continuing one of my favourite traditions. Tonight, the Christmas season will begin!