The surprising benefit of passiveaggressive behaviour at Christmas parties: being crowned king of the crackers

Huang, B.E.; Clifford, D.; LêCao, K.-A.

The Medical Journal of Australia 201(11): 694-696

2014


DOI: 10.5694/mja14.01392
Accession: 068512280

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Abstract
To test the effects of technique and attitude in pulling Christmas crackers. A binomial trial conducted at a Christmas-in-July dinner party involving five anonymous dinner guests, including two of the authors. Number of wins achieved by different strategies, with a win defined as securing the larger portion of the cracker. The previously "guaranteed" strategy for victory, employing a downwards angle towards the puller, failed to differentiate itself from random chance (win rate, 6/15; probability of winning, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.15-0.65). A novel passive-aggressive strategy, in which one individual just holds on without pulling, provided a significant advantage (win rate, 11/12; probability of winning, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.76-1.00). The passive-aggressive strategy of failing to pull has a high rate of success at winning Christmas crackers; however, excessive adoption of this approach will result in a complete failure, with no winners at all.