Tibs Manor

Friday, November 11, 2005

Grab Bag

Due to the Thanksgiving absence of Lauren and I, and my brother's family, we are unable to do our traditional post-meal Christmas Grab Bag drawing. This is where we each get a name of someone else, and out of the entire group that is the only person we have to shop for. For people outside of the Grab Bag (like nieces and nephews) you still have to buy, and you also cannot be matched with (and thus must buy for unless you want to sleep on the couch) your spouse.

Last year drawing out of a hat was a terribly frustrating task. There are seven members in the Grab Bag, and we drew about 10 times but kept pulling a spouse or your own name and having to start over. Eventually we gave up and went with a pseudo-random solution where my dad pulled random pairings and then shuttled names around to avoid conflicts. This year I wrote a program to do it. Quick and dirty but it works quite well, and it hides the results even from me (as long as I don't look at the individual output files!). If any readers are in need of a solution for their own families, I can post the program.


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