The hours are just whizzing by until the best day of the year. No, no, not Christmas day. We’re talking about The Late Late Toy Show, the one night of the year where we can all indulge in childlike joy with the family.
Of course, it’s also a night where we usually indulge in a lot more than sing-songs and matching pyjamas.
A host of Irish businesses have started creating Toy Show food hampers, including some great options in Cork, which make for a special treat or lockdown gift.
However, you don’t need to spend wads of money to enjoy your Toy Show snacks in style. Get out the leftover boxes from your Black Friday packages, dress up some baking trays in wrapping paper, or pick up a pack of party bags in your local shop and fill them with your favourite treats to create your own instead.
From hot chocolate ingredients to affordable wine for mum and dad, we’ve rounded up the best bits to collect for your own DIY Toy Show treat boxes.
You can’t watch the Toy Show without investing in the first sweet box of the season. Most supermarkets have boxes of Heroes, Celebrations, Quality Street, and Roses on sale for under €5 at the moment. You can throw a handful into each of the kids’ boxes to bulk them up while holding on to your favourites in peace.
If you’re more of a biscuit person, try Supervalu’s Signature Tastes Belgian biscuit selection for €5.90.
Buy a cheap multipack of small chocolate bars or biscuits, like Cadbury’s Freddos or a pack of chocolate fingers, and tie a few together with ribbon for the kids’ treat packs. It might be over the top, but everyone loves untying ribbons, especially on Toy Show night.
Make yourself feel festive with a sharing pack of fancy crisps such as Tayto’s Bistro range, which are on sale in Lidl at the moment for just €1.79, Supervalu’s Signature Tastes range, on sale for €1.38, or a classic bag of O’ Donnell's cheese and onion, also on sale in Supervalu this week.
If you really want to keep up with the theme, try Keogh’s roast turkey and secret stuffing flavour - it’s not as weird as it sounds. And if you're more of a popcorn fan, Keogh’s also have some divine flavour combos, like sweet chilli with cherry tomato and honey and sea salt. Or, make your own.
Pro tip: save the special crisps for Mum and Dad and dole out sharing packs for the little ones. Lidl is selling Tayto 18-pack Christmas boxes for just €3.89 this week.
Bulk up your hamper with a few packs of your favourite jellies. Supervalu has Haribo packs on sale for €1.18 and Natural Confectionery jellies and Rowntrees packs on sale for 98c. If you're living near a sweet shop, such as Cork's Auntie Nellies, why not see if you can click and collect your favorites.
Get the kids involved and bake a tray of cookies or brownies to include in your treat boxes to really make them special. You can even wrap each one in a piece of parchment paper with some ribbon or twine to make it look really professional. Or, go for something festive, like sticking some marshmallows on wooden skewers to make your own snowmen.
If you don’t have time to bake, pick up a pack of baked treats from your local bakery, or grab a tub from your nearest supermarket. If you live near a Marks and Spencer and have yet to discover their famous melt-in-your-mouth cookies, now is the time.
Don’t forget Kris Kringle. You can buy multi-packs of chocolate Santas in shops like Aldi and Lidl for pennies, as well as cheap packs of candy canes that can be thrown on the tree if not eaten.
Why not measure out the dry ingredients for our must-have hot chocolate recipe and include it in your treat boxes? That way you can easily get the kids involved and have everything ready to go for a quick ad-break turnaround. This is also a great idea if you're planning to drop a treat hamper to a friend or family member.
If you’re missing any of the bits, you can also buy hot chocolate stirrers to make an easy cup. Get two for €1.29 from Lidl this week.
Lidl and Aldi are also offering sales on Irish cream liquors, like Baileys, to add for a luxurious adult version.
Lidl has the cutest tray of chocolate-covered nuts on offer at the moment for mum and dad’s treat packs. Get four different flavours and a little scoop for just €3.49. Find similar deals in all big supermarkets this week.
Another one for the adults. If you’re more of a savoury fan, you could skip the sugar and make a pack with your favourite cheese board treats instead. You can mix and match three of your favourites from the Simply Better range in Dunnes Stores for just €10 and add crackers and relish for just €2.50 at the moment.
They always say to never forget the essentials. Dunnes Stores has a gorgeous Simply Better range of wines from around the world for around €15 a bottle.
Supervalu also has favorites such as Dadá merlot, Campo Viejo rioja and Brancott Estate sauvignon blanc on sale for just €10 each.
Aldi’s award-winning Exquisite Collection Argentinian malbec and Leyda sauvignon blanc are both going for under a tenner.
You can also stock up in advance for the next few weeks by nabbing Lidl's six bottles for €40 deal.
If you do feel like going the extra mile and buying a treat pack from a local business, check out these fabulous options in Cork.
Indulge in a beautifully designed choice of cakesicles, cookies, gingerbread men, candy canes, pretzels, and more in Happy Graze’s Toy Show grazing box. You can also order the company’s delicious selection of local cheeses, crackers, chutneys, and charcuterie if you’re feeling more savoury for the night.
Prices start from €25 and orders must be placed by tomorrow. Visit Happy Graze on Instagram or Facebook to find out more.
Orders have been piling in for Perry Street’s Toy Show offering. This hamper includes popcorn, chocolate, homemade mince pies and brownie bites, fancy crisps, hot chocolate stirrers, and more.
The hamper is €24 and orders are being taken all week. Call 021 497 4958 to place yours.
Those with a sweet tooth can order a range of sweet packages for just €7 from Cork Candy Man. Delivery spots are filling up so make sure to order yours soon. Find out more on Facebook.