THEY may be the games and gadgets of children's dreams – and recession-hit parents' nightmares.
But for a few hours last night children and adults alike were allowed to wallow in escapism as they watched the 'Late Late Toy Show'.
Ryan Tubridy's inner child came out to play for the toyfest and the lucky children who were picked to be testers for the night found themselves in a fun-filled wonderland.
Tubridy, who has been inundated with jazzy Christmas-themed home knitted jumpers for display on the show, opted for a green Jack and the Beanstalk-style green number – with a pair of six-year-old twins turning up in identical ensembles.
Lucas, a four-year-old ball of energy, opened the show in a mock sword fight with Tubridy.
The studio was brimming with all kinds of offerings from old-style cabbage patch dolls to snazzy James Bond-like toy cars.
The never-ending wonder and magic of Christmas was etched in the faces of the children as they tried to take in a toy extravaganza beyond their wildest dreams.
As usual there were the hardy annuals – train sets for the boys and dolls of endless choice for the girls – with the 'Late Late' set transformed into child heaven.
Marking his fourth year hosting the extravaganza, Tubridy appeared in his element in the gadgets and gizmos section, despite the latest technologies challenging many an adult as they waded through the instruction manuals.
In keeping with the times, there was a strong emphasis on Irish-made toys, with the majority of items costing less than €100.
The 2fm star happily got into the animated spirit of the theme of this year's show, which was loosely-based on the 2001 movie ' Shrek', and featured a special opening act performing a song from the film.
The 'Late, Late Toy Show', started back in the mid-1960s when Gay Byrne was host, remains one of the most-watched programmes on Irish television. Last year it attracted more than 1.4 million viewers, making it the most watched programme on Irish TV since the 1994 World Cup.