End-of-year lists abound

BECK ELEVEN
Last updated 07:18 14/12/2013
Beck Eleven
Beck Eleven

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OPINION: December really brings out the lists in people. Perhaps you've written your own? Who's coming round at Christmas, how many brussels sprouts you'll need to buy, the number of people you need gifts for. Santa's got his list. It's divided into two sections - naughty and nice. He also checks it twice if you remember rightly.

But lists just aren't for normal humans and fictional men in red suits, lists are also for newspapers, magazines, television programmes, publicity material and internet articles. Flick through any written material from roughly the end of November through to January and you're likely to see a list or seven.

Trust me, I'm not saying it's a bad thing. Especially for the following three reasons:

1. Lists are easily digestible.

2. The ranking system builds tension.

3. The stacking of numbers takes up space and can be nicely illustrated.

You can read a list of the top 100 books of the year, the 10 best films, five best sandwiches and a dozen of the finest Kiwi fishing spots. But it doesn't stop with the usual suspects. Things tend to get a little surreal around the end of the year. For instance, most recently, Griffins sent out a press release revealing the results of their biscuit range in which people who bothered voting said their top three biscuits were Toffee Pops, Hundreds and Thousands and Squiggles. The problem with lists is that the list writer must then conjure descriptors for the winner so the Toffee Pop was called "humble yet indulgent". The Toffee Pop ain't humble. I've never seen such an arrogant little biscuit in my life. That's another good thing about lists. The reader can wholeheartedly disagree with the rankings.

I always look forward to the top 10 list of children's toys because I've never heard of half of them. In case you were wondering, the top three are:

1. Cabbage Patch Kids Fashionalities, like Cabbage Patch Kids but sartorially in step with the summer 2103 - 2014 collection.

2. Disney Infinity Starter Pack, like Disney but with plenty of room to start an expensive collection.

3. Furby boom. Like normal Furbies but with extra boom.

The No 1 compass-based celebrity baby name surely goes to 6-month-old North West, progeny of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

A website devoted to lists, (listverse.com) has lists coming out its cyber ears. My favourite would have to be the top 10 body parts science is replacing (a finger with a digital computer drive). Here you can find 10 things you didn't know about voodoo, 10 facts about mail order brides, 10 adorably tiny versions of animals and, well, 10 of anything that will help you get through a pub quiz or boring dinner party. Anyway, I'd like to conclude with these three top tips for making it through Christmas in one piece.

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1. Drink a lot of water. Not just for its hydrating benefits whilst imbibing the stronger stuff. It will also drive you to the bathroom more frequently where you can breathe deeply, count to 10 and return to the family dinner happy to put the knife through the turkey rather than your annoying uncle.

2. Take an extreme amount of photos in the hope of capturing someone pulling a horrendously embarrassing face. Hold this as bribery. Threaten to put it on Facebook or Twitter. Make money from it. Bargain to get out of the dishes.

3. The end of the year came around too fast. If you're planning to write a list of lists this time next year, start cutting out magazine articles in January. It will save much stress and time in 12 months.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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