Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and there was no time when it was more wonderful than when we were kids. Back then the magic of the season filled the air at every turn, and the prospect of a bearded old man from the North Pole coming down our chimney filled us with joy (whereas now if that were to actually happen the Gardaí would have to get involved).

With that, here are our top five favourite things that made coming home for Christmas as a kid simply the best.

Endless Christmas TV Entertainment

Be it movies, TV shows or cartoons, TV at Christmas was a wonder to behold. Everything had a Christmas special, everything was festive and everything had a happy ending. Home Alone, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Santa Clause The Movie... We could go on at length but basically everything brought joy to our hearts.

A Real Life Fire

For most of us living outside of our childhood homes, the prospect of having a real fire in front of us only comes around once a year when we vacate our crumby overpriced fire-less apartments and hit the parent's house for a good old fashioned sit in front a blazing fire. But when we were kids, there was one every single day. Remember those halcyon days lazing in front of a fireplace, warming up frozen hands while you flicked through that year's Siamsa annual? The dream.

Giant Christmas Decorations

Now when we say this, we don't necessarily mean that decorations now are small. Oh no, you can certainly get the most giant of giant festive features for your home these days. But when we were kids, everything seemed massive. And sparkly. And colourful. And wonderful. Oh to be eight-years-old and be able to crawl under the tree, lie back and gaze up the sequined, twinkly festive glory that was Christmas again.

Christmas Treats

Forget mince pies, smoked salmon and cheese boards, that stuff was for all the stuffy grown ups. What we had to come home to was mountains of chocolate in the form of Selection Boxes, tin upon tin of USA Biscuits and Roses from every relative, neighbour or work colleague of your parents within 50 miles. There was usually so much that you even sneak some out and not have to worry about upsetting the count of how many were left. What a time to be alive.

Post From Family Overseas

Everyday in the run up to Christmas the post would get more and more festive, with red, green and gold envelopes replacing the usual clatter of white on the hall floor. Inside were filled all sorts of sights, from the Northern Lights (from your hippie aunt in Scotland) to OTT gaudy glittery brilliance (from that aunt's US counterpart who embraced the festive season maniacly) which you'd then have the responsibility of finding a home for somewhere in the home. And then there was the rare treat of getting some mad US 'candy' or a kangaroo teddy from relatives Down Under from the postman, who was like a Santa all of his own. It really was the best of times.

For all the ones you love, and all the ones you miss. Let them Know. Send Christmas cards to friends and family in Ireland and abroad this year. Find out more on last Christmas posting dates.