back to article Scrooges rejoice! Beancounters find formula for perfect Xmas party

If you’re planning a Christmas party and you’re the sort of miserly Scrooge type that doesn’t want to waste any money on excess Christmas crackers, science has got you covered. A trio of those party-loving statisticians has worked out the formula for the optimum number of crackers for a party to ensure that everyone wins one …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Loser? Winner?

    IME, when it comes to the contents of Christmas crackers "winners" and "losers" are pretty well indistinguishable.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm no statistician but....

    I'm pretty sure the minimum number of crackers for "n" guests to get a gift is "n" at least in our household it is.

    Is this competive cracker pulling an American thing?

    Although playing swapsies to get rid of the plastic hair-grip you "won" can get competitive I admint.

    1. lnLog

      Re: I'm no statistician but....

      Ditto, cant say I've ever come across 'competitive' crackers, and if you are doing home made ones chances are what's inside is specific to the assignee.

    2. Eddy Ito

      Re: I'm no statistician but....

      Funny, on the US side of the pond crackers get put out on a serving plate with cheese, pâté and/or fruit. Typically they crackers are spread out so it's easy enough to pick one off the top with no need to pull it. Although I have seen a few folks plowing through the entire plate as quickly as possible.

      1. Fungus Bob

        Re: I'm no statistician but....

        Right, fingers get pulled here.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm no statistician but....

      I had to google just to figure out what the hell "crackers" were, since I couldn't imagine "pulling" what we Americans call crackers. All I can say after reading the wikipedia article on Christmas Crackers is that you lot are weird over there.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: I'm no statistician but....

      Is this competive cracker pulling an American thing?

      The only people in the US I've ever seen with Christmas crackers are my own family. You can find them in some import stores here (eg World Market), but they're far from common.

      And we always just doled them out to each guest. I hadn't heard of competitive cracker pulling until my brother's wife, who's English, mentioned it. So no, not an American thing.

  3. xyz

    No names but....

    In the wacky world of corporate greasy poling, the company my GF works for sent out an instruction to "leverage" Christmas and attendance at the party was mandatory for morale purposes.

    Imagine being married to/going out with the control freak twonk that thought that up Yup, thar be true psychos swimming in the corporate ocean.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: No names but....

      But in a yuletide celebratory scenario such as this, one has to leverage the synergistic opportunities presented to the management team of the gathering of all the drones human resource units in one location space. This can be bootstrapped as a valuable engagement and learning enviornment to build both excellent intra-team and inter-departmental communication and understanding. Adding in an extra management protocol of cracker gamification, intensifies the strategic impact for only a small extra resource input.

      [I feel soiled now]

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: No names but....

        +1 upvote but you failed to mention "shareholder value"

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: No names but....

          +1 upvote but you failed to mention "shareholder value"

          It has come to our attention at I ain't Spatacus that a few of our customers may have been affected by an omission from our previous statement. Mistakes may have been made and we would like to offer our apologies to those few people who may have been affected. I would like to assure all stakeholders that lessons have been learned, and that these learnings will be ongoing into the future in order to ensure that such problems cannot occur again. Thus increasing shareholder value and customer takeaway.

          [Better? Bleurgh!]

      2. Fungus Bob

        Re: No names but....

        >[I feel soiled now]

        I threw up

  4. Nick Kew

    Can you libel a fictional character?

    The suggestion that the esteemed Mr Scrooge should be concerning himself with such ghastly humbuggery as those crackers is surely a foul libel.

  5. knightred

    What the sam hell is cracker pulling?

    I rarely post, but I'm so culturally confused by this idea of "cracker pulling" I had to post to ask what the hell is going on at these parties?

    I seriously thought the story was about the number of crackers a host should provide for a Christmas party. A scientific study, I'm quite sure some miser office manager was hoping would definitely tell them whether to buy 2 or 3 boxes of crackers, saving the company a staggering $1.50 this year!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: What the sam hell is cracker pulling?

      After consuming sufficient alcohol to be able to break the social bonds, but not so much as to be unable to excercise judgement, if one manages to leave the pub with a sexually attractive person one didn't arrive with - one is said to have "pulled a cracker".

      I wasn't aware that they were delived to Christmas parties in boxes before, but our laws are becoming ever more liberal, so I'm not entirely surprised.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: What the sam hell is cracker pulling?

        I'm just happy to read that they've finally devised a way for everyone to pull a cracker, it's only a shame that they didn't manage to work it out before, say back in my day.

    2. Jame_s

      Re: What the sam hell is cracker pulling?

      google it. there are pictures and everything

  6. Amorous Cowherder

    To bugger up your formula...

    Add one child under 10 - Said child will insist, bride, whinge and generally annoy all adults into giving the child ALL the cack prizes from whatever box of naff crackers you bought this year.

    For even more fun...

    Bring 2 children under 10 into the mix - 2 children will fight over the shite toys that fell from crackers and in general cause all adults to moan and shout and finally confiscate shite toys so that, "If that's the way it's going to be, I'll bin them all and nobody wins any!"

  7. chr0m4t1c

    What about the Christmas spirit approach?

    If you've already won, pull a cracker with someone who's lost and give them the prize whatever the outcome.

    It's Christmas, it's mean to be about sharing.

    Jeez, talk about missing the point....

  8. Sheep!

    It's all a bit crackers...

    This is your cracker, whatever comes out (whomever gets the big end) is yours, and this is your cracker, same rules apply. One cracker per person is all that's needed. How is this difficult? Do people REALLY get competitive over xmas crackers and want to keep everything they "win"? Just how sad an xmas are you going to have? I'm 44 now and I have never once been in an environment where the pulling of crackers was competitive, quite sure I wouldn't want to be around people for whom it was either - "No you can't have a Christmas hat because I won them both", how sad.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How dumb/thick/stupid?

    Didn't win a prize!!!!!!!! Shame.

    Strategy - wait until most guests have left then pick up all the unwanted plastic frogs, hair clips, nail clippers, deformed dice, spinning tops.

    Remember to take a big bag with you to hold them all.

    Who in their right mind thinks the innards of a cracker are so badly wanted. Dumbos.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: How dumb/thick/stupid?

      Who in their right mind thinks the innards of a cracker are so badly wanted. Dumbos

      I think that it depends on how much alcohol was consumed. There's probably a correlation there but it's beer o'clock here so no time to sort it out.

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