For some, Christmas is about giving to those worse off than ourselves and spreading joy and happiness to all. Others rejoice and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God. And some take the opportunity to catch up with their families, loved ones and friends for parties and plentiful dinners.

For those of us, however, who were brought up in the 1970s, Christmas is about big tins of Quality Street, Morecombe and Wise on the telly, and the Guinness Book of World Records. And the latter was so synonymous with the holiday season that if didn't arrive in our oversized stocking on the morning of 25 December, we'd have either thought Santa was dead, or that our Dads were made redundant in the cold winter cull at the packing plant.

Of course, those halcyon days are long past. And a child nowadays will settle for nothing less than a life-sized Ben 10 rocket-launcher or a Dora The Explorer monkey with real gripping hands and sentience. Everything changes in time. Some things, though, simply adapt to keep up...

Guinness World Records: At Your Fingertips


There's something inherently fascinating about people that attempt to break or set World Records. Back in the day, when the book version was more words than pictures, we'd spend hours pouring over such entries as "Longest Amount of Time Standing on One Foot" or "Longest Attack of Sneezing". And while the sneezing record (which was, incidentally, Donna Griffiths who, when aged 12 started sneezing in January 1981 and finished 977 days later) is more accidental than planned, it takes an awful lot of dedication to stand on one foot for 76 hours 40 minutes, as Arulanantham Suresh Joachim did in 1997. Unless there's a particularly bothersome mouse.

So, can you imagine our excitement when we found out that we might be able to join those who are in the record books due to their talent, strange habits or mere misfortune, by simply playing games on an iPad. Well, we might even have entered the book for most amount of times run around in a circle with our coats on our head (a bit like a kid at a wedding who's had too much fizzy pop) if such a category existed.

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The Guinness World Records: At Your Fingertips offers normal punters the chance to set their own World Records, and the results will be officially recognised and written into THE book. There are three separate challenges on offer, including an iPad-specific race against a virtual pair of Usain Bolt's feet, in order to beat his record 100 metres time. It's a bit like track and field, only with the person at the top of the leaderboard on 1 May 2011 receiving the ultimate accolade.

Plus, there's a challenge to find the person who can type the alphabet backwards on an iPad the fastest, and a Simon style game to find a record breaker who can memorise the longest sequence.

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Of course, the Guinness World Records: At Your Fingertips app isn't just for new record breakers, it offers plenty of information about existing fruitcakes, er, talented members of the public who have already entered the hall of fame.

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And as well as documentary writings, some of the entries include pictures and video clips, including interviews with some of the record holders. One stood out for us on Pocket-lint, of a man who has collected over 1,100 Smurfs, but possibly for all the wrong reasons (as to why it stood out, that is. What he gets up to with his wee blue chums in the confines of his own home is entirely up to him).

Obviously, the application doesn't have as many entries as the annual book, but it is an excellent companion and the picture quality throughout is superb. To be completely honest, for £2.99, it's worth it for the Smurf guy alone.

What was your favourite record from the old books? Let us know in the comments below...