He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice — but will you be on the list marked ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’?
With just 17 more sleeps until the big day, Nerf, LEGO and Pie Face are just some of the top toys currently being cobbled together at Santa’s workshop in the North Pole.
Elsewhere at Temple Street Hospital in Dublin, Ireland’s most special boys and girls are just hoping to get the gift of a life-saving heart machine this Christmas.
Backed by Tesco Ireland, the national children’s hospital is bidding to raise €100,000 to buy a new echo machine for the cardiac department.
And you can help by picking up a pack of reindeer food for Rudolph and his pals for just €2 at any Tesco store nationwide this festive season.
Meanwhile, when the man in the red suit needed some help putting the year’s most sought-after toys to the test, we knew exactly where to turn.
Here, five Temple Street VIPs (Very Important Patients) give their verdict on 2016’s ho-ho-hottest toys, also available at Tesco stores until December 24th.
Text Temple to 50300 to donate €4 to Temple Street Children’s Hospital.
Six year-old Lacey O’Keeffe from Kildare lent Santa’s little helpers a hand by trying out Shopkins Karaoke Selfie Stand (€18) ahead of the big day. And she judged that the bright pink mic — which comes with built-in cheering and flashing lights to boost ‘elf’ esteem — definitely has the X factor.
“I love singing,” said Lacey, who goes to Gaelscoil Átha Í in Athy. “I had to borrow my Mammy’s phone to put on my favourite song by Honey G on YouTube and take a selfie. But it was really good fun.”
“I would love to be on X Factor when I grow up,” she added. “And I’ll definitely be singing along on the night of the final. I wouldn’t be scared of Simon Cowell!”
The battery-operated mic stand can be connected to most music players for the complete X Factor experience, so remember you may have to surrender your smartphone or MP3 player to help your little star shine this Christmas Day!
Hands in the air — this is a ho-ho-hold up! Offaly lad Oisín Hickey was only too happy to give the new Nerf N-strike Elite Hyperfire Blaster Gun (€36) a go at our festive photo shoot. And he revealed how it lives up to the name after having a complete blast.
“My friend Jamie has loads of Nerf guns and I’ve always wanted one,” told Oisín, who’s in fifth class at Gaelscoil Éadan Doire. “It comes with 25 darts so you just hold and press. The only problem is that you have to pick them all up afterwards!”
Now trigger-happy Oisín is hoping the man in the red suit will bring his little brother one as well. “I think if my brother Keelan, who’s seven, got one too it would be really good fun. I’d have to let him win — but at least I’d get to shoot him!”
Although the motorised gun comes with ammunition, unleashing five foam darts per second, a few are bound to go AWOL, so be sure to pick up a refill pack (€6.50 for 30 darts) to avoid a third world war this December 25th.
Twins Emma and Katie Kelly from Meath donned their best Christmas jumpers before braving the Pie Face Showdown Game (€24). But the six year-olds reckon everyone’s a winner with the year’s top selling toy made by Hasbro.
Despite losing out to her sister, Katie giggled: “It doesn’t hurt — you just get cream all over your face. You could tomato sauce if you ran out of cream. I might bring it to school for show and tell.”
Now the Culmullen National School pupils are hoping Santa will also bring Sylvanian Families and some gel pens this December 25th.
Don’t scoff all the whipped cream after your turkey and ham because the family-friendly board game — which is suitable for up to eight players aged five and over — doesn’t come with any.
Dubliner Daniel Dunne gave Santa a dig out by road-testing the LEGO City Volcano Crawler (€22.99), which also includes an all-terrain vehicle and boulder rack. And the only fault the seven year-old from Glasnevin found with it was fault lines.
He explained: “On the box, they’re drilling near a volcano — but it’s very dangerous to drill near a volcano!”
Nonetheless, Daniel — who attends Sacred Heart Boys National School in Ballygall — said he’d love to find some of the interlocking bricks under the tree this Christmas. And he plans to wake his big brother, Thomas, up bright and early to check.
“I have lots of LEGO at home,” he added, “two full tubs of it. My dad makes the hard things to do and I make the characters. The last thing I made was a ship.”
Meanwhile, Daniel’s mum Clodagh, who’s a nurse a Temple Street, will be busy helping to create a festive atmosphere at the hospital.
“Everybody wants to be at home for Christmas,” she told, “but for so many long-term patients, [Temple Street] is home. You have to pull out all the stops to make the day as special as you can for everybody.”
Suitable for boys and girls aged 6-12, the iconic building blocks make the perfect alternative to video games this December 25th — and you won’t even have to raid the remote control for those all-elusive AA batteries!
Just like her cartoon hero, four year-old Katie Young was full of giggles after getting her hands on Peppa Pig Laugh With Peppa (€18.99). And she demonstrated exactly how to tickle the toy’s tummy to set it off on a laughing fit just like the real Peppa. “I watch Peppa Pig on telly every day after school,” said Katie from Tallaght in Dublin. “I love it. Peppa is my favourite.” Peppa comes with two of her other most famous phrases, ‘Let’s be silly!’ and ‘I can’t stop giggling!’, on loop. But it wasn’t enough to convince Katie — who attends St Thomas’ Early Start School — to alter her Santa letter. ”I’ve asked Santa to bring me a Baby Annabell Bedroom — and will leave out a glass of milk and carrot for Rudolph to say thanks!”
Like Tickle Me Elmo before her, Laugh with Peppa may test even the most patient of parents, so practise gritting those teeth and don’t forget the back-up AAA batteries — unless, of course, you want to!
The best of the rest: Fun toys for all ages this Christmas