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This month's Christmas Trivia covers a variety of topics, including

Bible

Traditions

Santa & Friends

Books, Movies & TV

Songs & Carols

 

Have fun and enjoy!

 

(To find the answers, hover your mouse over the bells following each question.

Answers also appear at the end of the quiz,

in case some elves snatched up all the bells!)

 

 

 The Bible

 

1. The date of Christ's birth, as noted in the Book of Matthew in the New Testament, is

A) 6 B.C.

B) 4 B.C.

C) 1 A.D.

D) Not given

1. D) Not given - The Bible never mentions a specific date for the Nativity.

 

2. During the time of Christ, the Holy Land was part of the Roman Empire.

Who was Emperor at the time of Christ's birth?

A) Herod

B) Caesar Augustus

C) Nero

D) Quirinius

2. B) Caesar Augustus - (Luke 2:1). Son of Julius Caesar, Augustus was originally known as Octavian, the same Octavian who defeated Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC. Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem because of a decree by Caesar Augustus. Luke 2:1-5.

 

3. Jesus' ancestors include

A) A prostitute

B) An adulterer

C) A woman who committed incest

D) A non-Israelite

E) All of the above

F) None of the above

3. E) All of the above - Rahab was a prostitute, David & Uriah's wife were adulterers, Tamar & Judah committed incest, and Ruth was from Moab. Matthew 1:3,5,6.

 

4. When Mary became pregnant, Mary and Joseph were

A) Married

B) Just friends

C) Engaged

D) None of the above

4. C) Engaged - Joseph wanted to dissolve their relationship.  However, Joseph married Mary immediately after the angel appeared to him. His obedience was quick, cheerful and complete. Matthew 1:24.

 

5. For the journey to Bethlehem Mary and Joseph

A) Walked

B) Joseph walked and Mary rode a donkey

C) Rode a bus

D) The Bible does not say

5. D) The Bible does not say - A donkey does not appear any where in the Biblical account. She probably walked.

 

6. Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem to

A) Have a baby

B) Attend synagogue

C) Pay their tax

D) Visit relatives

6. C) Pay their tax - and enroll in the census. Because Joseph was of the

 

7. Who told Joseph to name the baby Jesus?

A) Mary

B) The chief priests and scribes

C) Angel of the Lord

D) Herod the king

7. C) Angel of the Lord - Both Joseph and Mary were told that the baby was to be named "Jesus." (Matthew 1:21 and Luke 1:31). In Judaism, babies were always named by their father. Here we see God the Father (not Joseph) giving Jesus his name. By the way, "Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew name "Joshua," the successor of Moses. (Joshua means "Yahweh saves").

 

8. How many angels spoke to the shepherd?

A) A multitude

B) Two-Gabriel and Michael

C) One

D) Who knows?

8. C) One – And they believed the angel. They were excited! They did not hesitate. They went to see the baby right away, they spread the word, and they praised God for what they had been permitted to see and hear. Luke 2:15-20.  Shepherding was not considered a very noble occupation.  In fact, in first century B.C., shepherding was close to what we would consider garbage collecting. Shepherds were unable to remain ritually pure according to Pharisaic laws and so were considered unclean. Yet God chose them for His birth announcement!

 

9. What sign were the shepherds to look for?

A) A star over the stable

B) A barn outlined with Christmas lights

C) A baby in a manger

D) Both a and c

9. C) A baby in a manger 

 

10. What song did the angels sing?

A) "O Little Town of Bethlehem

B) "Joy to the World"

C) "Glory to God in the Highest"

D) None of the above

10. D) None of the above    

 

11. Just what is a "heavenly host"?

A) An angelic choir

B) The welcoming angel in heaven

C) An army of angels

D) None of the above

11. C) An army of angels - God sent an army of warrior angels. See Luke 2:13. "Company" and "host" are military terms.

 

12. The baby Jesus was born in a

A) Cave

B) Manger

C) Barn

D) Who knows?

12. D) Who knows?

 

13. What did the Innkeeper say to Mary and Joseph?

A) We have no room in the inn
B) You can stay in our stable
C) The Holiday Inn is not too shabby
D) A and B
E) Who knows?

13. E) Who knows? –  There is no innkeeper in the Biblical story. Lk 2:6-7

14. What's a manger?

A) A feeding trough for livestock

B) A place to store hay or straw

C) A stable

D) A stall

14. A) A feeding trough for livestock – usually made of stone or wood.

 

15. What animals were present at Jesus birth?

A) Cows, sheep and camels

B) Cows, sheep and donkeys

C) Lion, tigers, and bears

D) None of the above

15. D) None the above – the Bible doesn’t indicate the presence of any animals.   

 

16. When did baby Jesus cry?

A) When He saw the wise men

B) Whenever babies usually cry

C) When the cattle started lowing

D) No crying he makes

16. B) Whenever babies usually cry    

 

17. Who saw the star over Jerusalem?

A) Mary and Joseph

B) Shepherds

C) The three kings

D) Both b and C

E) None of the above

17. E) None of the above - The wise men saw the star in the east (Matthew 2:2). But it did not take them to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem they asked for directions. Once leaving Jerusalem the star appeared again and led them to the house in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:9-11).

 

18. The Christ child was visited by

A) The little drummer boy

B) Three wise men

C) Five shepherds

D) None of the above

18. D) None of the above – The Bible only mentions “wise men,” but not kings

 

19. When did the wise men visit Jesus?

A) Along with the shepherds

B) Immediately after His birth

C) When he was less than 2 years old

D) When he was older than 2 years old

19. C) When he was less than 2 years old – Despite Nativity scenes that show the magi visiting Christ immediately after His birth in the stable, they did not arrive on the night of Jesus' birth.  They arrived sometime after Jesus is born (Matthew 2:1),  probably visiting Him when He was anywhere from two months to two years old, in a house (Matthew 2:11). The wise men Jesus is called a child, rather than a baby (Matthew 2:11). He may have been as old as two (Matthew 2:7,16).

 

 20. What is the connection between the wise men and King Herod's “Slaughter of the Innocents”?

A) There was no connection

B) Herod ordered the wise men to slaughter the innocents

C) The wise men helped Herod determine when Jesus was born

D) Herod killed the innocent wise men.

20. C) The wise men helped Herod determine when Jesus was born – After seeing the Star, the wise men journeyed to Judea where they spoke with Herod, then left a different way, leaving Herod mocked. In hopes of eliminating this “rival king” the wise men were visiting, Herod ordered the killing of all male children under two years old because that was the time since the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:1-16).

 

21. Among the gifts the magi brought Jesus were gold, frankincense and myrrh.  (Matthew 2:12). We’re familiar with gold, but what are frankincense and myrrh?

A) Frankincense is incense and myrrh is perfume

B) Both are oil-based incenses

C) Spices

D) Potpourri

21. B) Both are oil-based incenses – derived from trees native to the Middle East and Africa, frankincense was used as a medicine and for fumigation, while myrrh was used for embalming. Both had high market value during ancient times, and were a common barter currency. Mary and Joseph, in fact, probably sold these gifts to finance their flight to Egypt to escape Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents (Matthew 2:13-15).

 

22. What does the word “magi” mean?

A) Magician

B) Astrologer

C) King

D) Priest

22. A) Magic – “Magi” is the Latin plural of “magus,” which means “magician.” However, in Greek, the word also means “wise men,” and was applied to men of high status and learning in the ancient world, such as priests.

 

23. What are the names of the three Wise Men?

A) Gaspar

B) Melchior

C) Balthasar

D) All of the above

E) None of the above

23. E) None of the above – The names of the wise men, with their places of origin, their stations in life, and even their number, come from legend and story, not from strictly religious tradition.  However, according to Orthodox tradition, they were Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, and they were baptized by the Apostle Thomas, who founded a ministry in the Far East after the Resurrection. They are also saints in the Orthodox Church.

 

24. Aside from its brilliance, what was significant about the Star of Bethlehem?

A) It didn’t shine constantly

B) It moved

C) It shone green

D) It twinkled

24. A) It didn’t shine constantly – Unlike a normal star (Matthew 2:2, 10). To ancient astronomers, such an anomaly would have been interpreted as a divine sign.

 

25. What are some of the scientific interpretations for the Star of Bethlehem?

A) It was a comet

B) It was caused by atmospheric phenomena

C) It was a supernova

D) All of the above

25. D) All of the above – Modern astronomers believe it could have been a comet, supernova, a planetary alignment, or atmospheric phenomenon. However, evidence for any single explanation is inconclusive.

 

26. By the modern-day (Gregorian) calendar, in what year was Jesus born?

A) Year zero

B) 1 A.D.

C) 3 or 4 B.C.

D) 6 or 5 B.C.

26. D) 6 or 5 B.C. - This is usually calculated from the date of King Herod’s

  

27. The Disciples and others alive during Jesus' ministry wouldn't have thought to have celebrated Christmas. Why?

A) There didn’t know who Jesus was

B) Christmas hadn’t been established as a holiday yet

C) Birthdays were rarely celebrated

D) Jesus didn’t want any parties

27. C) Birthdays were rarely celebrated – Birthdays, even those of famous and important people, were almost never celebrated during the time of Christ.

 

28. What was the elapsed time between Isaiah's prophecy of the Messiah (Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12) and the Nativity?

A) 40 years

B) 5 years

C) 700 years

D) 2000 years

28. C) 700 years

 (top)

 

Traditions

 

29. “Crying up the lum “ is how some Scottish children tell Santa Claus their Christmas gift wishes. What is “crying up the lum “?

A) Whining for weeks before Christmas

B) Whispering in Santa’s ear

C) Sticking their heads up the chimney and shouting out their desires

D) Praying every night

29. C) Sticking their heads up the chimney and shouting out their desires

 

30. In Greek legend, malicious creatures called Kallikantzaroi sometimes play troublesome pranks at Christmas time. What should you do to get rid of them?

A) Placate them with gifts of rice pudding
B) Burn either salt or an old shoe 
C) Sing hymns in a loud voice
D) Throw your sandals at them

30. B) Burn either salt or an old shoe – The pungent burning stench drives off, or at least helps discourage, the Kallikantzaroi. Other techniques include hanging a pig's jawbone by the door and keeping a large fire so they can't sneak down the chimney.

 

31. The jólasveinar, or "yule lads", are a traditional part of an Icelandic Christmas. What are they?

A) A band of thirteen gift-giving goblins 
B) In charge of Santa's reindeer
C) Woodcutters
D) The best male singers from each village

31. A) A band of thirteen gift-giving goblins – From December 12 until Christmas Eve, the yule lads come down one at a time from the mountains. Each has a personal trick, such as stealing milk or slamming doors. They often leave presents for good children, and sometimes a potato for the bad ones. In olden times, the yule lads - who were themselves the children of monsters - had a much darker nature. They were so feared that in 1746 a law was passed to prevent them being used to frighten children.

 

32. In Victorian England, turkeys were popular for Christmas dinners. Some of the birds were raised in Norfolk, and taken to market in London. To get them to London, the turkeys:

A) Were herded by sheep dogs
B) Flew
C) Rode in huge wagons called "turkey-vans"
D) Were supplied with boots made of sacking or leather 

32.  D) Were supplied with boots made of sacking or leather – mud of the road. Boots were not used for geese: instead, their feet were protected with a covering of tar.

 

33. At lavish Christmas feasts in the Middle Ages, swans and peacocks were sometimes served "endored". What does that mean?

A) The feet and beaks were coated with gold
B) The guests knelt in adoration as the birds were brought in
C) The birds had been raised on grain soaked in brandy
D) The flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter 

33. D) The flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter – In addition to their painted flesh, endored birds were served wrapped in their own skin and feathers, which had been removed and set aside prior to roasting.

 

34. All through the Christmas season in old England, "lambswool" could be found in the houses of the well-to-do. What was it?

A) Imitation snow used in decorations
B) A brew of hot ale with roast apples floating in it 
C) The material used for knitting Christmas gifts
D) A fluffy confection made from almonds and sugar

34. B) A brew of hot ale with roast apples floating in it – "Lambswool" was the drink that filled the wassail bowl. Sugar, eggs and spices were added to the ale, and toast floated on top with the apples. Poor people would bring their mugs to the door hoping for a share of the steaming drink.

 

35. The ancient game of Snapdragon has been part of English Christmases for over 300 years. Players are egged on by a chant, part of which goes, "Take care you don't take too much, Be not greedy in your clutch, Snip, snap, dragon!" What is "the dragon" in this game?

A) A costumed child
B) Flames of burning brandy
C) The oldest male in the room
D) A "snapper" made from fireplace tongs

35. B) Flames of burning brandy – When the room is dark, a bowl of raisins soaked in brandy is lit. Who will be brave enough to claim the prize from the fierce dragon flames?

 

36. In Victorian times, most Londoners would have been familiar with the "goose club". What was it?

A) A pantomime troupe specializing in slapstick
B) A stout stick used for slaughtering geese
C) A banjo-like instrument used in door-to-door caroling
D) A method of saving to buy a goose for Christmas

36. D) A method of saving to buy a goose for Christmas – Goose clubs were popular with working-class Londoners, who paid a few pence a week towards the cost of a Christmas goose. The week before Christmas, London meat markets were crammed with geese and turkeys, many imported from Germany and France.

 

37. In the Ukraine, what does it mean if you find a spider web in the house on Christmas morning?

A) Good luck
B) Misfortune will strike in the coming year
C) The winter will be unusually cold
D) Your house needs cleaning!

37. A) Good luck - There once lived a woman so poor, says a Ukrainian folk tale, that she could not afford Christmas decorations for her family. One Christmas morning, she awoke to find that spiders had trimmed her children's tree with their webs. When the morning sun shone on them, the webs turned to silver and gold. An artificial spider and web are often included in the decorations on Ukrainian Christmas trees.

 

38. In Sweden, a common Christmas decoration is the Julbukk, a small figurine of a goat. Of what material is it usually made?

A) Candy
B) Straw
C) Uranium
D) Fir wood

38. B) Straw – Scandinavian Christmas festivities feature a variety of straw decorations in the form of stars, angels, hearts and other shapes, as well as the Julbukk.

 

39. What is the Irish custom of "feeding the wren" or "hunting the wren" on December 26?

A) Taking one's in-laws out to dinner
B) Carrying a wren door to door, to collect money for charity 
C) Leaving a basket of cakes at the door for passers-by
D) Putting out suet and seeds for the wild birds

39. B) Carrying a wren door to door, to collect money for charity – One explanation for this St. Stephen's day custom refers to a legend in which the saint was given away by a chattering wren while hiding from his enemies. Children cage the wren to help it do penance for this misdeed. Often the children carry a long pole with a holly bush at the top - which is supposed to hide a captured wren. An artificial wren may also be used.

 

40. If you were given some frumenty at a Medieval Christmas party, what would you probably do with it?

A) Eat it 
B) Burn it
C) Put it in your sweetheart's hair
D) Use it to polish your boots

40. A) Eat it - Frumenty was a spiced porridge, enjoyed by both rich and poor. It is thought to be the forerunner of modern Christmas puddings. It has its origins in a Celtic legend of the harvest god Dagda, who stirred a porridge made up of all the good things of the Earth.

 

41. In many households, part of the fun of eating Christmas pudding is finding a trinket that predicts your fortune for the coming year. For instance, finding a coin means you will become wealthy. What will you be if you find a button?

A) Poor
B) Famous
C) A bachelor 
D) Called away on a trip

41. C) A bachelor - A ring means you will get married; while a thimble predicts spinsterhood. The idea of hiding something in the pudding comes from the tradition in the Middle Ages of hiding a bean in a cake that was served on Twelfth Night. Whoever found the bean became "king" for the rest of the night.

 

42. When was Christmas first celebrated?

A) The year after Jesus was crucified
B) Around 100 AD
C) In the 4th Century
D) 1935

42. C) In the 4th Century - Christmas became a Federal holiday in the U.S. when President Ulysses S. Grant declared it a legal holiday in 1870. Louisiana and Arkansas were the first states to make Christmas an official holiday, in 1831.

 

43. At Christmas, it is traditional to exchange kisses beneath a sprig of which plant?

A) Ivy
B) Yew
C) Holly
D) Mistletoe 

43. D) Mistletoe - In ancient Scandinavia, mistletoe was associated with peace and friendship.  That may account for the custom of "kissing beneath the mistletoe".  Evergreens such as holly, pine and mistletoe are common elements in Christmas decor. But the one evergreen plant that is traditionally forbidden in Christmas decorations is Ivy, which many still consider to be bad luck when brought indoors.

 

44. In 1939 Robert May created this Christmas figure as a Christmas promotion for Montgomery Ward department store in Chicago.

A) Frosty the Snowman

B) Santa Claus

C) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

D) Elf

44. C) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – May wrote the lyrics as copy for a book, of which Montgomery Ward department store chain gave away 2.4 million copies. In 1947 the lyrics were set to music, and recorded by Gene Autry.


45. In the 1920’s what world wide beverage company adopted the Santa Claus figure for a winter advertising promotion?

A) Coca-Cola

B) Pepsi

C) Kool-Aid

D) Mountain Dew

45. A) Coca-Cola – The company used Santa Claus to promote the idea that a soft drink was a winter beverage as well as a summer beverage.  In 1931, Coca-Cola began a tradition of featuring Santa in their packaging and advertising at Christmas.

 

46. What popular Christmas candy today had its debut and was given out by a choirmaster in 1670 to quiet the noisy children?

A) Hershey kiss

B) Candy cane

C) M & M’s

D) Peppermint twist

46. B) Candy Cane - Candy canes are generally considered to be modeled after shepherds’ crooks, and the first record of them dates back to Eighteenth Century France, where they were given to children to keep them quiet during church services. Folklorists disagree on the significance of the red and white striping; some say that it’s symbolic of Jesus’ blood (red) and purity (white), but others claim there’s no meaning to the colors at all.

 

47. Where did the Christmas tree tradition originate?

A) Germany
B) Israel
C) New England
D) Scandinavia

47. A) Germany - The practice of brining evergreen trees indoors and decorating them for winter festivals predates Christianity in Northern Europe.  Franklin Pierce (President from 1853 to 1857) was the first to have a Christmas tree in the White House.  Theodore Roosevelt (President from 1901 to 1909).  Legend has it that the Roosevelt children had a secret tree, which they hid in the closet when their father was nearby. 

 

48. Why was December 25th chosen as Christmas Day?

A) That's when Jesus was born
B) To compete with a pagan celebration
C) That's when Christmas trees are in season
D) That's when the Bible says to celebrate it

48. B) To compete with a pagan celebration - The choice of Dec. 25 was made by Pope Julius I in the fourth century AD to coincide with Roman winter festivals, notably those of the pagan gods Mithra and Saturn. Christmas is originally the Pagan Sun Festival which was celebrated on December 25, later, the birthdate of Jesus was changed from March 1, to December 25 to coincide with and then eventually replace the Pagan Sun Festival.

 

49. What significance is holly in celebrating Christmas?

A) The pointed leaves represent the Star of Bethlehem
B) It was mistaken for mistletoe
C) The red berries are a Christmas color
D) The early church banned mistletoe, so holly was substituted

49. D) The early church banned mistletoe, so holly was substituted – The early church viewed mistletoe as pagan.  To Christians, the berries are symbolic of Christ’s blood, and the thorny leaves suggest the thorns in His crown. 

 

50. What country did poinsettias originally come from?

A) The U.S.
B) Cuba
C) Mexico
D) Brazil

50. C) Mexico – Dr Joel Poinsett, the first US ambassador to Mexico, brought the plant back in 1828.  Mexicans had long revered poinsettia because it resembled the Star of Bethlehem.  By the way, the flower portion of the plant are the small yellow blossoms. The large red or white ‘flowers’ are actually leaves.

 

51. Who probably was the first man to illuminate a Christmas tree?

A) Alexander the Great
B) Pope John I
C) Martin Luther
D) Pope Bob II

51. C) Martin Luther - In the 16th century. Supposedly awed at the brilliance of stars shining through evergreen branches, Luther attempted to replicate the vision for his family by placing candles on his Christmas tree.  In 1895, Ralph E. Morris contributed to our Christmas heritage with the invention of electric Christmas lights. In addition to literally making the season brighter, Morris’ lights made it safer, as they were an alternative to candles and open flames.

 

52. Celebrating Christmas was once against the law in

A) Holland
B) Indiana
C) Massachusetts
D) Japan

52. C) Massachusetts - The New England Puritans forbade Christmas celebrations. They considered Christmas trees and decorations to be pagan, and outlawed

 

53. According to some legends, what holiday decorating practice is attributed to spiders?

A) Tinsel

B) Popcorn strands

C) Glass ornaments

D) Tree toppers

53. A) Tinsel – The silvery strands (once made from metal foil but now made from Mylar) are often placed on Christmas trees to simulate icicles. But some German and Ukranian traditions tell the tale of a poor old woman who had nothing to put on her Christmas tree but spider webs; on Christmas morning those webs were turned to silver strands. In another telling, spiders wanted to give the Christ Child a gift at the Nativity. He thus gave them the power to weave webs of silver on Christmas Eve.

 

54. The candy cane legend says that it originated with a candy maker from

A) Indiana
B) Mexico
C) Germany
D) Turkey

54. A) Indiana

 

55. What is the origin of “Xmas”?

A) An attempt to remove Christ’s name from Christmas

B) The X represents the Greek word for Christ

C) An abbreviation for Christmas

D) An attempt to be “politically correct”

55. B) The X represents the Greek word for Christ – The X in Xmas stands for the Greek letter “chi”, which looks like an “X”  Since the name of Christ( “Xristos”)  begins with chi (x), Christmas became abbreviated in Europe around the 16th century as "Xmas." Despite popular belief, it is not an attempt to remove Christ’s name from Christmas. Unfortunately, in today's culture X often stand for the unknown or something that has been X'ed out. And, more unfortunately, Christ has indeed been X'ed out of many Christmas celebrations.

 

56. What is the traditional purpose of the yule log?

A) To warm the house on Christmas Day

B) It was a gift passed around from home to home

C) To protect the household from harm during the coming year

D) To help count down the days from December 1 to Christmas

56. C) To protect the household from harm during the coming year – In Europe, burning of the yule log was an important ritual that, if done properly,

  (top)

 

Santa & Friends

 

57. Who was St. Nicholas?

A) The patron saint of sailors

B) Kris Kringle

C) Sinterklaas

D) A high church official

E) All of the above

57. E) All of the above – Nicholas, a fourth century bishop in Asia Minor, was known for his generosity toward children and the poor.  He suffered persecution until the Roman emperor Constantine embraced Christianity in 312 AD. After that, Nicholas became a high Church official. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, because he supposedly once saved ships by miraculously quelling a fierce storm.  He is also the patron saint of children (surprise!), as well as the national patron saint of Russia and Greece.  Early Dutch settlers in America called St. Nicholas “Sinterklass”. Later, English settlers adopted the name but changed the pronunciation slightly. A 19th Century European folk legend told of “Christkindlein”, or the Christ child, who brought gifts to good children on Christmas Eve with the aid of an elf (sometimes called Pelznickel or Belsnickle). Eventually, this legend was combined with that of St. Nicholas, and in America, the pronunciation became “Kriss Kringle”.

 

58. According to the earliest tellings, what animal did St. Nicholas use as

transportation when leaving gifts at children's houses on Christmas Eve?

A) A donkey

B) A reindeer

C) A horse

D) A gazelle

58. A) A donkey

 

59. Why does Santa fill stockings with gifts?

A) To prevent small items from being lost under the tree

B) Stockings expand and can hold lots of goodies

C) Stockings make colorful gift wrappers

D) Traditionally, it started before Christmas trees were all the rage

59. B) Stockings expand and can hold lots of goodies – The practice of hanging stockings evolved from the Dutch practice of filling children’s wooden shoes with treats on Christmas Eve. Stockings were later substituted because they could expand and hold more goodies.

 

60. What are some of the contributions to the Santa Claus legend made by Clement C. Moore’s poem The Night Before Christmas?

A) A sleigh pulled by flying reindeer

B) the reindeers’ names

C) Santa’s landing on rooftops

D) Santa’s use of chimneys for entry

E) Santa’s weight issue

F) All of the above

60. F) All of the above

 

61. A former Civil War battlefield reporter made a significant contribution to Santa literature in 1897. What was it?

A) He wrote “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

B) He wrote “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

C) He wrote “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus”

D) He wrote “A Visit from St. Nick”

61. C) C) He wrote “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” – Former Civil War correspondent Francis P. Church wrote the famous “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” response to eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to the New York Sun asking if Santa were real. Church, a long-time editorialist for the Sun, was well-known for taking on controversial topics. His “Virginia” editorial became instantly famous, and the Sun reprinted it annually until it closed in 1949. Today, many newspapers carry on that tradition. Virginia O’Hanlon, by the way, went on to earn a masters degree and become a school principal.

 

62. Which of these names does NOT belong to one of Santa's reindeer?

A) Comet
B) Prancer
C) Blitzen
D) Klaxon 

62. D) Klaxon - A klaxon is actually a powerful electric horn. Its name comes from a German word meaning "shriek".

 (top)

 

Books, Movies & TV

 

63. One of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes takes place during the Christmas season. Which of these does the tale hinge upon?

A) A burglar disguised as Father Christmas
B) A blue diamond found in a goose
C) A cat trapped in an organ pipe
D) A poisoned flask of Napoleon brandy

63. B) A blue diamond found in a goose – In "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" Holmes manages to recover the jewel but, in the spirit of the Christmas season, allows the repentant thief to go free - on the condition that he leave England for ever.

 

64. Which well-known author of fantasy fiction also created a book called The Father Christmas Letters?

A) Lewis Carroll
B) J.R.R. Tolkien 
C) E. Nesbit
D) C.S. Lewis

64. B) J.R.R. Tolkien – The Father Christmas Letters consists of letters written to the Tolkien children by Father Christmas. It was published in 1976. The illustrated letters describe adventures and events at the North Pole.

 

65. One of the most loved Christmas books is A Christmas Carol. Who wrote it?

A) Mark Twain
B) Charles Dickens
C) Hans Christian Andersen
D) Thomas M. Sawyer

65. B) Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol tells the story of one harrowing Christmas Eve in the life of a miser named Ebenezer Scrooge. The book was an instant hit, and Dickens wrote a new Christmas story each year from then on.

 

66. In A Christmas Carol, how many ghosts visited Ebenezer Scrooge on that fateful night?

A) One

B) Two

C) Three

D) Four

66. D) Four – the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future, as well as the ghost of Jacob Marley.

 

67. After Scrooge has reformed his life at the end of A Christmas Carol, he invites Bob Cratchit to join him for some "smoking bishop". What did he mean?

A) A fast variation of chess popular in Victorian London
B) A premium pipe tobacco
C) A hot spiced drink 
D) A Christmas pudding, soaked in brandy and set alight

67. C) A hot spiced drink – Mulled wines were popular festive drinks in 19th-century London. They were undoubtedly much safer to drink than the untreated water. To make Smoking Bishop, take 6 bitter oranges and stick them with 6 cloves each. Put them in a bowl, cover with (cheap) red wine, and set in a warm place for a day. Squeeze the oranges into the wine and strain. Add port. Heat, and serve with a cinnamon stick.

 

68. Clement Moore spent _____ years trying to get “The Night

Before Christmas” published.

A) Seven

B) Two

C) Twenty

D) Zero

68. D) Zero – Moore never intended for the poem to be published, and it appeared in print only after a family friend sent it to a magazine in 1822. A religious scholar, Moore was embarrassed by the poem and for years actually denied having written it. In fact, some scholars believe that Moore may not have been the author.  By the way, “The Night Before Christmas” is not the proper title for this famous poem.  The official title is “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas”. However, most

 

 

69. Many movies on Christmas themes have been made for television and the cinema over the years, including dozens of versions of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Which of the following films has NOT yet been made?

A) The Jetsons' Christmas Carol
B) Popeye's Christmas Carol 
C) Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol
D) Mickey's Christmas Carol

69. B) Popeye's Christmas Carol – The Internet Movie Database lists hundreds of movies with "Christmas" in the title. Amongst those you may not yet have seen: A Messy Christmas (1921), An All Dogs Christmas Carol (1998), Goat Christmas (1997) and The Bad Man's Christmas Gift (1910).

 

70. What now-classic holiday movie was based on satirist Jean Shepherd's 1966 book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash?

A) Holiday Inn

B) White Christmas

C) A Christmas Story

D) Miracle on 34th Street

70. C) A Christmas Story – in 1983

 

71. What auspicious television event occurred on December 24, 1968?

A) A Charlie Brown Christmas debuted on CBS

B) The Bible was read on national TV

C) A cease-fire was called in Viet Nam

D) A nation-wide 3-minute “blackout” of CBS, NBC and ABC, in honor of lives lost in Viet Nam

71. B) The Bible was read on national TV – After achieving the first manned lunar orbit, the crew of Apollo 8 celebrated Christmas Eve by reading from the first chapter of the Book of Genesis. The event was broadcast around the world.

 

72. Thurl Ravenscroft, who sang the song "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, was the voice of what other famous animated character?

A) Yogi Bear

B) Tony the Tiger

C) Fred Flintstone

D) George Jetson

72. B) Tony the Tiger – of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes fame. Ravenscroft has had a long and varied career in film, television and music.

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Songs & Carols

 

73. Many of us are quite familiar with the first verses of the traditional Christmas carols, but how well do you know the rest of the lyrics? For instance, what is the first line of the second verse of Angels from the Realms of Glory?

A) "Christ by highest heav'n adorèd"
B) "Shepherds in the fields abiding" 
C) "Shepherds why this jubilee?"
D) "Don we now our gay apparel"

3. B) "Shepherds in the fields abiding" - The other suggested lines come from (a) Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, (c) Angels We Have Heard On High and (d) Deck the Halls. The words to Angels from the Realms of Glory were written by Scottish journalist and poet James Montgomery (1771-1854). Montgomery was a supporter of parliamentary reform and a prolific writer. About 100 of his hymns are still in use.

 

74. George Frederick Handel's great Christmas oratorio, The Messiah, was first performed in 1742. Where did the performance take place?

A) London
B) Dublin 
C) Vienna
D) Jerusalem

74. B) Dublin – Handel (1685-1759) seems to have been a kind and generous man. The Messiah was written to aid charities in Ireland. It was a success there from its original performance, though it was not immediately popular in England. Handel's favorite charity in London was the Foundling Hospital. He conducted performances of The Messiah there until 1754.

 

75. In Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker", who is the nutcracker's main enemy?

A) A girl called Clara
B) The King of the Mice 
C) Dr. Almond
D) Drosselmeyer the magician

75. B) The King of the Mice – The King of the Mice, usually represented with seven heads, leads his troops against the nutcracker's toy soldiers. He loses the battle when Clara, the heroine, stuns him with a shoe.

 

76. What classic Christmas tune was introduced in the 1951 Bob Hope comedy The Lemon Drop Kid?

A) “Silver Bells”

B) “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

C) “White Christmas

D) “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”

76. A) “Silver Bells” – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was sung by Judy Garland in the film version of “Meet Me in St. Louis”.  “White Christmas” debuted in the 1942 film Holiday Inn (and was almost cut out of the final version!). The melody of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” was originally intended to honor Johann Gutenberg and his invention of printing.

 

77. What do the songs “Jingle Bells” “Winter Wonderland” and “Sleighride” have in common?

A) They were all written by James Pierpont

B) They are all songs about sleighs

C) None of them mentions Christmas

D) They all appeared in the same movie

77.  C) None of them mentions Christmas - “Jingle Bells”, in fact, was originally composed in 1857 for a children’s Thanksgiving program at a Boston church. The song, originally titled “Dashing Through the Snow”, proved so popular that it was repeated at Christmas... and the rest is history.

 

78. Why is “O, Come All Ye Faithful” a Christmas carol but “Deck the Halls” not?

A) A true Christmas carol has to have a religious theme

B) “Deck the Halls” was originally a Thanksgiving song

C) “Deck the Halls” is, in fact, a Christmas carol

D) Carol didn’t write “Deck the Halls”

78. A) A true Christmas carol has to have a religious theme.

 

79. What does it mean to “deck the halls”?

A) To clean the floor by sweeping

B) To decorate the house

C) To drape holly boughs along the hall ceiling

D) To put wreaths on doors

79. B) To decorate the house - with all sorts of greenery (not just “boughs of holly”).  Traditionally, to “deck the halls” before Christmas Eve is considered bad luck.

 

80. In the song “Here We Go A-Wassailing,” the word “caroling” is often substituted for “wassailing.” Caroling is, of course, the act of singing Christmas carols, but what's wassailing?

A) Singing Christmas carols

B) Giving presents to friends and neighbors

C) Going out in the woods to cut down your Christmas tree

D) Toasting one’s crops and livestock to ensure prosperity for the coming year

80. D) Toasting one’s crops and livestock to ensure prosperity for the coming year – Often, wassailing parties were held in the barn, and farm animals were sometimes given treats.

 

81. What are the Twelve Days of Christmas?

A) The twelve days preceding Christmas, when small gifts are shared with loved ones

B) They represent the number of days Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem.

C) The twelve days between Christmas Day and the Feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6).

D) The six days before and after Christmas, traditionally the time a Christmas tree is to be displayed.

81. C) The twelve days between Christmas Day and the Feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6) – Traditionally, this period represents the time it took for the wise men to travel to see the Baby Jesus.

 

82. What is the significance of the gifts in "The Twelve Days of Christmas"?

A) Who knows?

B) They are all expressions of love

C) They have hidden religious meaning

D) The are a counting rhyme

82. A) Who knows? – Some claim that the gift items have religious meaning and that the song was written as a teaching aid. But most scholars believe it originated as a parlor game in which a leader recited a verse, and the others had to add on verses until someone made a mistake. Whatever significance the gifts had is now lost. The song is believed to have originated in France, but the first published version appeared in England around 1780.

 

83. Who was Good King Wenceslas?

A) King George I

B) A fictional character

C) Duke of Bohemia

D) St. Stephen

83. C) Duke of Bohemia – This song, written in 1853 by John Mason Neale, celebrates the life of Wenceslas, a 10th century Duke of Bohemia (not a king) who was famous for his generosity and moral character. The “Feast of Stephen” refers to St. Stephen’s Day, Dec. 26. Technically, the song has nothing to do with Christmas, but is sung during the holiday season because of its theme and winter imagery.

 

84. What Christmas song was written specifically for the guitar?

A) “Little Drummer Boy”

B) “Jingle Bell Rock”

C) “Silver Bells”

D) “Silent Night”

84. D) “Silent Night” – What is arguably the most famous of all Christmas carols began life as a poem by Father Joseph Mohr, an Austrian priest. His colleague Franz Gruber set it to guitar music in 1818, and it made its debut that year at a Christmas Eve mass in Oberndorf, Austria. Exactly why Gruber chose guitar accompaniment is unknown, but he was known to have had a fondness for the instrument.
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Answers

 

 The Bible

 

1. D) Not given - The Bible never mentions a specific date for the Nativity.

 

2. B) Caesar Augustus - (Luke 2:1). Son of Julius Caesar, Augustus was originally known as Octavian, the same Octavian who defeated Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC.

Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem because of a decree by Caesar Augustus. Luke 2:1-5.

 

3. E) All of the above - Rahab was a prostitute, David & Uriah's wife were adulterers, Tamar & Judah committed incest, and Ruth was from Moab. Matthew 1:3,5,6.

 

4. C) Engaged - Joseph wanted to dissolve their relationship.  However, Joseph married Mary immediately after the angel appeared to him. His obedience was quick, cheerful and complete. Matthew 1:24.

 

5. D) The Bible does not say - A donkey does not appear any where in the Biblical account. She probably walked.

 

6. C) Pay their tax - and enroll in the census. Because Joseph was of the

“House of David,” he had to report to Bethlehem, which was the “City of David” (Luke 2:3-4).  It was Augustus (in question 2 above) who ordered the famous tax and census that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.

 

7. C) Angel of the Lord - Both Joseph and Mary were told that the baby was to be named "Jesus." (Matthew 1:21 and Luke 1:31). In Judaism, babies were always named by their father. Here we see God the Father (not Joseph) giving Jesus his name. By the way, "Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew name "Joshua," the successor of Moses. (Joshua means "Yahweh saves").

 

8. C) One – And they believed the angel. They were excited! They did not hesitate. They went to see the baby right away, they spread the word, and they praised God for what they had been permitted to see and hear. Luke 2:15-20.  Shepherding was not considered a very noble occupation.  In fact, in first century B.C., shepherding was close to what we would consider garbage collecting. Shepherds were unable to remain ritually pure according to Pharisaic laws and so were considered unclean. Yet God chose them for His birth announcement!

 

9. C) A baby in a manger 

 

10. D) None of the above    

 

11. C) An army of angels - God sent an army of warrior angels. See Luke 2:13. "Company" and "host" are military terms.

 

12. D) Who knows?

 

13. E) Who knows? –  There is no innkeeper in the Biblical story. Lk 2:6-7

 

14. A) A feeding trough for livestock – usually made of stone or wood.

 

15. D) None the above – the Bible doesn’t indicate the presence of any animals.   

 

16. B) Whenever babies usually cry    

 

17. E) None of the above - The wise men saw the star in the east (Matthew 2:2). But it did not take them to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem they asked for directions. Once leaving Jerusalem the star appeared again and led them to the house in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:9-11).

 

18. D) None of the above – The Bible only mentions “wise men,” but not kings

specifically. The wise men could have been diplomats, priests or astrologers following

the Star of Bethlehem. Also, Scripture does not tell us how many wise men came to visit Jesus; traditions range from three to as many as 12.  And there is no mention of a little drummer boy in the Bible story.

 

19. C) When he was less than 2 years old – Despite Nativity scenes that show the magi visiting Christ immediately after His birth in the stable, they did not arrive on the night of Jesus' birth.  They arrived sometime after Jesus is born (Matthew 2:1),  probably visiting Him when He was anywhere from two months to two years old, in a house (Matthew 2:11). The wise men Jesus is called a child, rather than a baby (Matthew 2:11). He may have been as old as two (Matthew 2:7,16).

 

 

20. C) The wise men helped Herod determine when Jesus was born – After seeing the Star, the wise men journeyed to Judea where they spoke with Herod,

then left a different way, leaving Herod mocked. In hopes of eliminating this “rival king” the wise men were visiting, Herod ordered the killing of all male children under two years old because that was the time since the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:1-16).

 

21. B) Both are oil-based incenses – derived from trees native to the Middle East and Africa, frankincense was used as a medicine and for fumigation, while myrrh was used for embalming. Both had high market value during ancient times, and were a common barter currency. Mary and Joseph, in fact, probably sold these gifts to finance their flight to Egypt to escape Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents (Matthew 2:13-15).

 

22. A) Magic – “Magi” is the Latin plural of “magus,” which means “magician.” However, in Greek, the word also means “wise men,” and was applied to men of high status and learning in the ancient world, such as priests.

 

23. E) None of the above – The names of the wise men, with their places of origin, their stations in life, and even their number, come from legend and story, not from strictly religious tradition.  However, according to Orthodox tradition, they were Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, and they were baptized by the Apostle Thomas, who founded a ministry in the Far East after the Resurrection. They are also saints in the Orthodox Church.

 

24. A) It didn’t shine constantly – Unlike a normal star (Matthew 2:2, 10). To ancient astronomers, such an anomaly would have been interpreted as a divine sign.

 

25. D) All of the above – Modern astronomers believe it could have been a comet, supernova, a planetary alignment, or atmospheric phenomenon. However, evidence for any single explanation is inconclusive.

 

26. D) 6 or 5 B.C. - This is usually calculated from the date of King Herod’s

death in the spring of 4 B.C.

 

27. C) Birthdays were rarely celebrated – Birthdays, even those of famous and important people, were almost never celebrated during the time of Christ.

 

28. C) 700 years

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Traditions

 

29. C) Sticking their heads up the chimney and shouting out their desires

 

30. B) Burn either salt or an old shoe – The pungent burning stench drives off, or at least helps discourage, the Kallikantzaroi. Other techniques include hanging a pig's jawbone by the door and keeping a large fire so they can't sneak down the chimney.

 

31. A) A band of thirteen gift-giving goblins – From December 12 until Christmas Eve, the yule lads come down one at a time from the mountains. Each has a personal trick, such as stealing milk or slamming doors. They often leave presents for good children, and sometimes a potato for the bad ones. In olden times, the yule lads - who were themselves the children of monsters - had a much darker nature. They were so feared that in 1746 a law was passed to prevent them being used to frighten children.

 

32.  D) Were supplied with boots made of sacking or leather – mud of the road. Boots were not used for geese: instead, their feet were protected with a covering of tar.

 

33. D) The flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter – In addition to their painted flesh, endored birds were served wrapped in their own skin and feathers, which had been removed and set aside prior to roasting.

 

34. B) A brew of hot ale with roast apples floating in it – "Lambswool" was the drink that filled the wassail bowl. Sugar, eggs and spices were added to the ale, and toast floated on top with the apples. Poor people would bring their mugs to the door hoping for a share of the steaming drink.

 

35. B) Flames of burning brandy – When the room is dark, a bowl of raisins soaked in brandy is lit. Who will be brave enough to claim the prize from the fierce dragon flames?

 

36. D) A method of saving to buy a goose for Christmas – Goose clubs were popular with working-class Londoners, who paid a few pence a week towards the cost of a Christmas goose. The week before Christmas, London meat markets were crammed with geese and turkeys, many imported from Germany and France.

 

37. A) Good luck - There once lived a woman so poor, says a Ukrainian folk tale, that she could not afford Christmas decorations for her family. One Christmas morning, she awoke to find that spiders had trimmed her children's tree with their webs. When the morning sun shone on them, the webs turned to silver and gold. An artificial spider and web are often included in the decorations on Ukrainian Christmas trees.

 

38. B) Straw – Scandinavian Christmas festivities feature a variety of straw decorations in the form of stars, angels, hearts and other shapes, as well as the Julbukk.

 

39. B) Carrying a wren door to door, to collect money for charity – One explanation for this St. Stephen's day custom refers to a legend in which the saint was given away by a chattering wren while hiding from his enemies. Children cage the wren to help it do penance for this misdeed. Often the children carry a long pole with a holly bush at the top - which is supposed to hide a captured wren. An artificial wren may also be used.

 

40. A) Eat it - Frumenty was a spiced porridge, enjoyed by both rich and poor. It is thought to be the forerunner of modern Christmas puddings. It has its origins in a Celtic legend of the harvest god Dagda, who stirred a porridge made up of all the good things of the Earth.

 

41. C) A bachelor - A ring means you will get married; while a thimble predicts spinsterhood. The idea of hiding something in the pudding comes from the tradition in the Middle Ages of hiding a bean in a cake that was served on Twelfth Night. Whoever found the bean became "king" for the rest of the night.

 

42. C) In the 4th Century - Christmas became a Federal holiday in the U.S. when President Ulysses S. Grant declared it a legal holiday in 1870. Louisiana and Arkansas were the first states to make Christmas an official holiday, in 1831.

 

43. D) Mistletoe - In ancient Scandinavia, mistletoe was associated with peace and friendship.  That may account for the custom of "kissing beneath the mistletoe".  Evergreens such as holly, pine and mistletoe are common elements in Christmas decor. But the one evergreen plant that is traditionally forbidden in Christmas decorations is Ivy, which many still consider to be bad luck when brought indoors.

 

44. C) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – May wrote the lyrics as copy for a book, of which Montgomery Ward department store chain gave away 2.4 million copies. In 1947 the lyrics were set to music, and recorded by Gene Autrey.


45. A) Coca-Cola – The company used Santa Claus to promote the idea that a soft drink was a winter beverage as well as a summer beverage.  In 1931, Coca-Cola began a tradition of featuring Santa in their packaging and advertising at Christmas

 

46. B) Candy Cane - Candy canes are generally considered to be modeled after shepherds’ crooks, and the first record of them dates back to Eighteenth Century France, where they were given to children to keep them quiet during church services. Folklorists disagree on the significance of the red and white striping; some say that it’s symbolic of Jesus’ blood (red) and purity (white), but others claim there’s no meaning to the colors at all.

 

47. A) Germany - The practice of brining evergreen trees indoors and decorating them for winter festivals predates Christianity in Northern Europe.  Franklin Pierce (President from 1853 to 1857) was the first to have a Christmas tree in the White House.  Theodore Roosevelt (President from 1901 to 1909).  Legend has it that the Roosevelt children had a secret tree, which they hid in the closet when their father was nearby. 

 

47. B) To compete with a pagan celebration - The choice of Dec. 25 was made by Pope Julius I in the fourth century AD to coincide with Roman winter festivals, notably those of the pagan gods Mithra and Saturn. Christmas is originally the Pagan Sun Festival which was celebrated on December 25, later, the birthdate of Jesus was changed from March 1, to December 25 to coincide with and then eventually replace the Pagan Sun Festival.

 

48. D) The early church banned mistletoe, so holly was substituted – The early church viewed mistletoe as pagan.  To Christians, the berries are symbolic of Christ’s blood, and the thorny leaves suggest the thorns in His crown. 

 

49. D) The early church banned mistletoe, so holly was substituted

 

50. C) Mexico Dr Joel Poinsett, the first US ambassador to Mexico, brought the plant back in 1828.  Mexicans had long revered poinsettia because it resembled the Star of Bethlehem.  By the way, the flower portion of the plant are the small yellow blossoms. The large red or white ‘flowers’ are actually leaves.

 

51. C) Martin Luther - In the 16th century. Supposedly awed at the brilliance of stars shining through evergreen branches, Luther attempted to replicate the vision for his family by placing candles on his Christmas tree.  In 1895, Ralph E. Morris contributed to our Christmas heritage with the invention of electric Christmas lights. In addition to literally making the season brighter, Morris’ lights made it safer, as they were an alternative to candles and open flames.

 

52. C) Massachusetts - The New England Puritans forbade Christmas celebrations. They considered Christmas trees and decorations to be pagan, and outlawed

them in Massachusetts until 1859.

 

53. A) Tinsel – The silvery strands (once made from metal foil but now made from Mylar) are often placed on Christmas trees to simulate icicles. But some German and Ukranian traditions tell the tale of a poor old woman who had nothing to put on her Christmas tree but spider webs; on Christmas morning those webs were turned to silver strands. In another telling, spiders wanted to give the Christ Child a gift at the Nativity. He thus gave them the power to weave webs of silver on Christmas Eve.

 

54. A) Indiana

 

55. B) The X represents the Greek word for Christ – The X in Xmas stands for the Greek letter “chi”, which looks like an “X”  Since the name of Christ( “Xristos”)  begins with chi (x), Christmas became abbreviated in Europe around the 16th century as "Xmas." Despite popular belief, it is not an attempt to remove Christ’s name from Christmas. Unfortunately, in today's culture X often stand for the unknown or something that has been X'ed out. And, more unfortunately, Christ has indeed been X'ed out of many Christmas celebrations.

 

56. C) To protect the household from harm during the coming year – In Europe, burning of the yule log was an important ritual that, if done properly,

protected the household from harm during the coming year. Among other parts of the ritual, the log had to be found or received as a gift (never purchased), and lit on the first try.

 

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Santa & Friends

 

57. E) All of the above – Nicholas, a fourth century bishop in Asia Minor, was known for his generosity toward children and the poor.  He suffered persecution until the Roman emperor Constantine embraced Christianity in 312 AD. After that, Nicholas became a high Church official. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, because he supposedly once saved ships by miraculously quelling a fierce storm.

He is also the patron saint of children (surprise!), as well as the national patron saint of Russia and Greece.  Early Dutch settlers in America called St. Nicholas “Sinterklass”. Later, English settlers adopted the name but changed the pronunciation slightly. A 19th Century European folk legend told of “Christkindlein”, or the Christ child, who brought gifts to good children on Christmas Eve with the aid of an elf (sometimes called Pelznickel or Belsnickle). Eventually, this legend was combined with that of St. Nicholas, and in America, the pronunciation became “Kriss Kringle”.

 

58. A) A donkey

 

59. B) Stockings expand and can hold lots of goodies – The practice of hanging stockings evolved from the Dutch practice of filling children’s wooden shoes with treats on Christmas Eve. Stockings were later substituted because they could expand and hold more goodies.

 

60. F) All of the above

 

61. C) C) He wrote “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” – Former Civil War correspondent Francis P. Church wrote the famous “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” response to eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to the New York Sun asking if Santa were real. Church, a long-time editorialist for the Sun, was well-known for taking on controversial topics. His “Virginia” editorial became instantly famous, and the Sun reprinted it annually until it closed in 1949. Today, many newspapers carry on that tradition. Virginia O’Hanlon, by the way, went on to earn a masters degree and become a school principal.

 

62. D) Klaxon - A klaxon is actually a powerful electric horn. Its name comes from a German word meaning "shriek".

 

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Books, Movies & TV

63. B) A blue diamond found in a goose – In "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" Holmes manages to recover the jewel but, in the spirit of the Christmas season, allows the repentant thief to go free - on the condition that he leave England for ever.

 

64. B) J.R.R. Tolkien – The Father Christmas Letters consists of letters written to the Tolkien children by Father Christmas. It was published in 1976. The illustrated letters describe adventures and events at the North Pole.

 

65. B) Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol tells the story of one harrowing Christmas Eve in the life of a miser named Ebenezer Scrooge. The book was an instant hit, and Dickens wrote a new Christmas story each year from then on.

 

66. D) Four – the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future, as well as the ghost of Jacob Marley.

 

67. C) A hot spiced drink – Mulled wines were popular festive drinks in 19th-century London. They were undoubtedly much safer to drink than the untreated water. To make Smoking Bishop, take 6 bitter oranges and stick them with 6 cloves each. Put them in a bowl, cover with (cheap) red wine, and set in a warm place for a day. Squeeze the oranges into the wine and strain. Add port. Heat, and serve with a cinnamon stick.

 

68. D) Zero – Moore never intended for the poem to be published, and it appeared in print only after a family friend sent it to a magazine in 1822. A religious scholar, Moore was embarrassed by the poem and for years actually denied having written it. In fact, some scholars believe that Moore may not have been the author.  By the way, “The Night Before Christmas” is not the proper title for this famous poem.  The official title is “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas”. However, most

people know it by the vernacular title.

 

 

69. B) Popeye's Christmas Carol – The Internet Movie Database lists hundreds of movies with "Christmas" in the title. Amongst those you may not yet have seen: A Messy Christmas (1921), An All Dogs Christmas Carol (1998), Goat Christmas (1997) and The Bad Man's Christmas Gift (1910).

 

70. C) A Christmas Story – in 1983

 

71. B) The Bible was read on national TV – After achieving the first manned lunar orbit, the crew of Apollo 8 celebrated Christmas Eve by reading from the first chapter of the Book of Genesis. The event was broadcast around the world.

 

72. B) Tony the Tiger – of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes fame. Ravenscroft has had a long and varied career in film, television and music.

 

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Songs & Carols

 

73. B) "Shepherds in the fields abiding" - The other suggested lines come from (a) Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, (c) Angels We Have Heard On High and (d) Deck the Halls. The words to Angels from the Realms of Glory were written by Scottish journalist and poet James Montgomery (1771-1854). Montgomery was a supporter of parliamentary reform and a prolific writer. About 100 of his hymns are still in use.

 

74. B) Dublin – Handel (1685-1759) seems to have been a kind and generous man. The Messiah was written to aid charities in Ireland. It was a success there from its original performance, though it was not immediately popular in England. Handel's favorite charity in London was the Foundling Hospital. He conducted performances of The Messiah there until 1754.

 

75. B) The King of the Mice – The King of the Mice, usually represented with seven heads, leads his troops against the nutcracker's toy soldiers. He loses the battle when Clara, the heroine, stuns him with a shoe.

 

76. A) “Silver Bells” – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was sung by Judy Garland in the film version of “Meet Me in St. Louis”.  “White Christmas” debuted in the 1942 film Holiday Inn (and was almost cut out of the final version!). The melody of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” was originally intended to honor Johann Gutenberg and his invention of printing.

 

77.  C) None of them mentions Christmas - “Jingle Bells”, in fact, was originally composed in 1857 for a children’s Thanksgiving program at a Boston church. The song, originally titled “Dashing Through the Snow”, proved so popular that it was repeated at Christmas... and the rest is history.

 

78. A) A true Christmas carol has to have a religious theme.

 

79. B) To decorate the house - with all sorts of greenery (not just “boughs of holly”).  Traditionally, to “deck the halls” before Christmas Eve is considered bad luck.

 

80. D) Toasting one’s crops and livestock to ensure prosperity for the coming year – Often, wassailing parties were held in the barn, and farm animals were sometimes given treats.

 

81. C) The twelve days between Christmas Day and the Feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6) – Traditionally, this period represents the time it took for the wise men to travel to see the Baby Jesus.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

 

82. A) Who knows? – Some claim that the gift items have religious meaning and that the song was written as a teaching aid. But most scholars believe it originated as a parlor game in which a leader recited a verse, and the others had to add on verses until someone made a mistake. Whatever significance the gifts had is now lost. The song is believed to have originated in France, but the first published version appeared in England around 1780.

 

83. C) Duke of Bohemia – This song, written in 1853 by John Mason Neale, celebrates the life of Wenceslas, a 10th century Duke of Bohemia (not a king) who was famous for his generosity and moral character. The “Feast of Stephen” refers to St. Stephen’s Day, Dec. 26. Technically, the song has nothing to do with Christmas, but is sung during the holiday season because of its theme and winter imagery.

 

84. D) “Silent Night” – What is arguably the most famous of all Christmas carols began life as a poem by Father Joseph Mohr, an Austrian priest. His colleague Franz Gruber set it to guitar music in 1818, and it made its debut that year at a Christmas Eve mass in Oberndorf, Austria. Exactly why Gruber chose guitar accompaniment is unknown, but he was known to have had a fondness for the instrument.

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