WHEN I was growing up one of the highlights of the year by far was The Late Late Toy Show.
For the uninitiated this was (and still is) a two hour winter wonderland of toys, singing and dancing, more amazing toys, adults dressed up as Christmas characters, even more incredible toys, free gifts for the audience, eyes pop out of your head toys, popcorn, salt and vinegar crisps and a very late night.
I would get a pain in my stomach with the excitement of it all and find it almost impossible to eat my salt and vinegar crisps. It seemed every single toy in the world was being showcased by whichever host had nabbed the gig that year. It was amazing. Stuff you could only hope to see in your dreams.
Bear in mind Smyth’s Toy Store, the internet and supermarkets teeming with toys hadn’t been invented yet.
Did I say it was amazing? Exciting? And pain in the stomach inducing?
Friday night in Ireland The Late Late Toy Show was the second most trending topic in the world. That’s the world.
There is something for everyone in The Late Late Toy Show. Each year there is a mad scramble to secure a ticket that will ensure you a seat in the audience. As kids we thought all you needed to do was ask for them. You can ask but in this instance you most likely will not get.
Remember Willy Wonka’s golden tickets? The Late Late Toy Show is akin to that. Gold dust, folks. Gold dust.
Twitter and Facebook were alive with the countdown to this annual event. Kids all across Ireland were showered, dressed in new pyjamas and fizzing with barely contained excitement as the clock ticked towards 9.30pm.
Parents everywhere driven mad by the “Is it nearly time yet?” questions.
Except in our house.
If our boys knew the word “meh” they would be “meh-ing” all over the place. So I didn’t even mention it to them.
I think they were aware on some outward periphery that it was happening. I’m sure they must have heard some of their classmates talking about it in school.
Our boys are in bed most nights at 8pm. Three of them are asleep in about ten minutes with the oldest one dragging it out until 10pm with all the reading that has to be done.
And true to form, the hay was hit at 9pm Friday night, eyes firmly shut within ten minutes and then Oldest Boy put in his nightly appearance but this night his request was for Lord of the Rings.
He curled up on the couch and became engrossed in the film and I caught up with a glass or two of wine and a few blog posts.
I don’t feel they miss out by not watching the most famous show in Ireland. But just in case they did, I found one or two choice clips on YouTube.
Aimee met Ed Sheeran!
Bawl! Her little face! He was just lovely to her. So nice and kind and he came bearing gifts for her and Ryan Tubridy. If Aimee said “thank you” once she said it fifty times. She got to duet with him and then Ed told her he would fly Aimee and her family out to one of his UK gigs next year. Don’t watch the link. You’ll be in bits!
And then the lads met Danny from The Script.
More little faces. Completely awestruck and gorgeous. I thought I was going to lose it when Danny told the boys to come along and sound check with him and the band in Croke Park for their sell out gigs summer 2015. Gorgeous, that’s what Christmas and The Late Late Toy Show is made of stuff.
So I played both clips for the boys to watch. Possibly maybe more than likely the wrong ones as all I got was a resounding “meh” followed by “is it my turn on the tablet?”
See? Total Toy Show heathens. I don’t know what I am rearing at all.