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A dozen multiple choice trivia questions about Christmas holiday traditions and history.


1. Which Christmas tree fact is NOT true?

A. Artificial Christmas trees have outsold real ones every year since 1991.
B. Nova Scotia leads the world in exporting Christmas trees.
C. Franklin Pierce was the first president to decorate an official White House Christmas tree.
D. The Christmas tree was chosen to represent this holy holiday because it's shape points the way to heaven.

2. Can you name the popular Christmas song that was actually written for Thanksgiving?

A. Jingle Bells
B. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
C. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
D. Away in the Manger

3. Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in what year?

A. 1865
B. 1895
C. 1905
D. 1932

4. Good King Wenceslas was king of what country?

A. Bohemia
B. England
C. Germany
D. Morocco

5. In 8971, the New York Sun newspaper wrote a famous response to a little girl's question: "Yes, _______, there is a Santa Claus." Can you name that girl?

A. Mary
B. Charlotte
C. Vidalia
D. Virginia

6. Can you name Scrooge's dead business partner from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol?"

A. Jacob Marley
B. Tiny Tim
C. Bob Cratchett
D. Old William

7. One of the pagan traditions that Christians have incorporated into their Christmas celebration includes hanging mistletoe. Which of these is NOT a former pagan belief?

A. Ancient Europeans believed that the mistletoe plant held magical powers to bestow life and fertility as well as protect against disease.
B. French girls used to slip branches of mistletoe beneath their pillows to dream of their future husbands.
C. The Celts believed mistetoe brought about peace and goodwill.
D. Northern Europeans associated mistletoe with the Norse goddess of love, Freya and developed the custom of kissing underneath mistletoe branches.

8. While today the Christmas tree is an enduring symbol of the season, it wasn't always a holiday tradition. Which historical fact is NOT true?

A. According to legend, Martin Luther, the founder of German protestantism, while walking through the forest on Christmas Eve was so moved by the starlit fir trees he brought one indoors and decorated it with candles to remind his children of God's creation.
B. In 1841, Prince Albert of Germany gave his wife, Queen Victoria of England, a gift of a Christmas tree. This was reputedly the first Christmas tree in England, but the custom quickly spread.
C. German immigrants brought the Christmas tree to Europe, the United States and Canada, where it soon became a popular tradition.
D. On a bet, 11-year-old P.T. Barnum started hawking trees in Connecticut in 1821, telling his marks they were all the rage. Soon the fashion spread throughout the country and it became tradition, thus establishing his maxim "There is a sucker born every minute."

9. Many people are familiar with the term "The Twelve Days of Christmas," but not everyone knows where it originated. Can you pick out the right explanation?

A. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the number of days Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem.
B. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the length of time that the three wise men from the East traveled to reach Baby Jesus after his birth.
C. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the number of reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh.
D. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the length of time required to celebrate Good King Wenceslas' birthday.

10. Who hasn't wondered what "wassail" is and why people would request it at Christmas. Let's see if you can guess…

A. Wassail comes from the Old Norse "Ves Heill" and means "to be of good health," so when neighbors would visit on Christmas Eve they would drink to each other's health.
B. Wassail comes from the Old German "Ves Heill" and means "to avoid Hell," so loved ones would share this sentiment with each other on Christmas Eve in preparation for the birth of Christ.
C. Wassail comes from the Old Celtic "Ves Heill" and means "drink up" so is naturally associated with all party occasions.
D. Wassail comes from the Old English "Ves Heill" and means drink of the angels and eventually became associated with Christmas.

11. Everyone loves to receive them, but dreads performing the annual holiday ritual of sending Christmas cards. So who do we NOT have to thank/blame?

A. Medieval Europeans who exchanged wood prints of religious themes for Christmas.
B. English illustrator John Calcott Horsley who created the first modern Christmas card in 1843 that depicted a family celebration with the caption "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You."
C. German-American printer Louis Prang who made advances in color lithography allowing him to mass produce colorful Christmas cards in 1875.
D. Desmond Hallmark who had a surplus of cards left over from Arbor Day depicting a fir tree and decided to unload them by the box by simply printing Merry Christmas across the trees in red ink.

12. Remember that fuscia sweater Aunt Edna knitted for your Christmas present last year? Don't blame Aunt Edna, she's not the one who started the Christmas gift giving tradition, so who is?

A. Those three wise men who visited the stable where Jesus was born.
B. The ancient Romans who exchanged gifts to bring good fortune for the new year.
C. Mark Antony who was always looking for new ways to please Cleopatra.
D. The ancient Greeks who sought to placate the gods on Mount Olympus.


Answers:

1. D. The Christmas tree was chosen to represent this holy holiday because it's shape points the way to heaven.
QQ: OK, so maybe it's true, but the QuizQueen can't prove that fact, as reasonable as it sounds, because it wasn't in any of the literature she dug up for this quiz.

2. A. Jingle Bells
QQ: The song was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont, and was originally called One Horse Open Sleigh. When you think about the words make a lot more sense that way…

3. B. 1895
QQ: American Ralph E. Morris had the bright idea that electric Christmas lights would be safer than using candles.

4.A. Bohemia.
QQ: Who knows why those Bohemians always get such a bad rep? Although, history has it that Wenceslas, who lived in the 10th century, was only a Duke, not a King at all.

5. D. Virginia
QQ: Virginia O'Hanlon to be exact! Shame on you, if you missed it.

6. A. Jacob Marley
QQ: The first of four spirits to appear to Scrooge that fateful Christmas Eve was that of Jacob Marley, his old business partner.

7. B. French girls used to slip branches of mistletoe beneath their pillows to dream of their future husbands.
QQ: That was a tough one, wasn't it? The QuizQueen is soooo clever…

8. D. On a bet, 11-year-old P.T. Barnum started hawking trees in Connecticut in 1821, telling his marks they were all the rage. Soon the fashion spread throughout the country and it became tradition, thus establishing his maxim "There is a sucker born every minute."
QQ: Good 'ole P.T. Barnum did try to sell just about everything, and may in fact have sold Christmas trees, but I doubt he sold them at that age!

9. B. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the length of time that the three wise men from the East traveled to reach Baby Jesus after his birth.
QQ: And you thought you didn't learn anything practical in Sunday school?

10. A. Wassail comes from the Old Norse "Ves Heill" and means "to be of good health," so when neighbors would visit on Christmas Eve they would drink to each other's health.
QQ: Sometimes The QuizQueen can be very, very silly.

11. D. Desmond Hallmark who had a surplus of cards left over from Arbor Day depicting a fir tree and decided to unload them by the box by simply printing Merry Christmas across the trees in red ink.
QQ: While all except poor Desmond can be held responsible, The QuizQueen truly blames Louis!

12. B. The ancient Romans who exchanged gifts to bring good fortune for the new year.
QQ: Of course, Aunt Edna is to blame for choosing that color. You can't blame the Romans for that.
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3 comments

lacey said... @ 12/09/2008 7:43 AM

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Kate
http://educationonline-101.com

Melissa said... @ 12/09/2008 11:56 AM

What a neat quiz. Thanks for sharing it!

Stacy's Random Thoughts said... @ 12/10/2008 10:16 PM

Fun quiz, thanks for posting! ;)

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