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Monday 27 January 2020

There’s only one word to sum up this year’s Toy Show: Magical

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Justine O'Mahony

I didn't think we'd be doing The Late Late Toy Show this year. After all my kids are no longer kids, they're 17 and 14 respectively, what business would we have watching the toy show? But the younger one insisted we sit down and watch it as a family.

I'll be honest, I wasn't looking forward to it. All those precocious little Billie Barry kids make me want to throw mouldy apples at them! Then there's the mini D4 heads who sound and act like they came straight out of a Ross O'Caroll Kelly novel.

No I certainly wasn't thrilled at the prospect of spending two and a half hours watching a load of kids trash toys whilst Ryan Tubridy changed his jumper 7 million times.

Then it came on and from the minute Tubs appeared dressed as a snowman from Frozen I was hooked. I laughed, I cried (a lot) and we sat together as a family and watched Friday night TV, something that hasn't happened in a very long time.There's only word I can think of to sum up this year's show - Magical.

It had buckets of heart and compassion. The little boy Tom and the love between himself and his Nanny Pat was nothing short of uplifting.

The story of the little girl, Sophie whose brother was in hospital with Leukaemia was inspirational.

And then there was Sofia who was being bullied because she had short hair and sort of dressed like a boy. Her story nearly broke me. The child carried a worry stone around in her backpack so that when the bullies gave her a hard time, she could rub it for comfort.

And when she said 'life would suck if everyone was the same' I cried, my daughter cried and Tubs was even forced to clear his throat when he spoke to her. He told her she was fab exactly the way she was and she should never change.

Tubridy really comes into this own on the toy show and no more than this year. He seems to have an affinity with kids that is genuine and unforced. This year's toy show was different to any other.

It was about inclusion. Nobody was forgotten - the kids with additional needs, those in direct provision, those just struggling to get by on day to basis, everybody was welcomed and included, shown love and respect. And that' exactly the way Santa would want it.

But the most important thing to remember is that all those kids watching the show on Friday night, won't just turn to their parents and ask for the this year's biggest and coolest toy or gadget. They will remember the stories of Sophia, Tom and Sophie and it will resonate with them.

That is the best Christmas gift any of us can give.

Wexford People

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