Keeping Santa Secret

It’s office Christmas party season, so it’s time for the dreaded Secret Santa gift exchange. I don’t mean to be a Scrooge, it’s just hard to buy anyone a good gift and everyone is likely to receive a less than satisfactory gift. The problems go much deeper than this. The traditional names in a hat method for assigning Secret Santa is neither random nor anonymous, and sometimes fails entirely. Mathematician Hannah Fry of the University of Nottingham explains the problems with conventional drawings and presents an alternative method:

As she points out, her method has the advantage of being completely deranged.

2 thoughts on “Keeping Santa Secret

    1. Numberphile and the other Nottingham Science videos are some of my favorites. Numberphile has a few good videos on the Enigma codes, including one that explains the role of deranged permutations in cracking Enigma. Turns out derangement makes Santa secure but is very bad for encryption.

      Liked by 1 person

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