updated 12/26/2007 9:08:48 PM ET 2007-12-27T02:08:48

Bad jokes, paper hats and Chinese cookies with proverbs baked inside are standard in the average Christmas cracker — but one New Zealand woman found a dead mouse in hers.

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Betty Lawrence was sharing Christmas crackers with her family in the South Island city of Invercargill shortly after Christmas dinner when a dead, decaying mouse was found in one, the Southland Times newspaper reported.

"I had said to my granddaughter, 'What's that smell?' and we couldn't work it out until we pulled the cracker," Lawrence said.

"My niece started pulling it out, thinking it was a soft toy," she said, adding the discovery wrecked the festivities. "It ruined my appetite for the rest of the day."

The Indonesia-manufactured crackers, branded "Mayfaire," were part of a hamper supplied by nationwide supermarket operator New World.

The newspaper reported it was unable to reach a spokesperson for the New Zealand company Wednesday.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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