The winter holiday season is my favorite time of the year. I love the twinkling lights, the snowflakes, the cheerful carols, the spirit of generosity, the excitement on children’s faces, the baking, the toasting and the gathering of family and friends. I love roasting chestnuts (it is easier than you think and you do not even need an open fire – an oven will do), kissing my husband under the mistletoe, watching It is a Wonderful Life for the hundredth time, hanging lights and decorating our tree with glitter and sparkle and childlike glee.
Yes, Christmas is full of joyful rituals – and if you take this quiz you will discover where many of these traditions came from as well as what people do in other corners of the world. †Joyeux NoŽl!
1. Who created Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer?
a. Scottish storytellers
b. Sami (Swedish) Reindeer herders
c. Montgomery Ward Department Store
d. Coke Cola
2. In Poland, people use what unusual item(s) to decorate their Christmas trees?
a. Spider webs
b. Watches and clocks
c. Colored leather
d. Animal fur and eggs
3. When and where did the first Christmas cards originate?
b. New York City/1901
4. Electric tree lights were first used in what year and where?
b. 1882/New York City
5. In which country was it illegal to celebrate Christmas for about 400 years?
6. The first artificial Christmas tree was made in what country and from what materials?
a. America/wire and tinsel
b. Germany/Goose feathers dyed green
c. Russia/peacock feathers and copper
d. England/blown glass, feathers and leather
7. How did the poinsettia first arrive to America?
a. By Joel Poinsett who brought it from Mexico
b. An English Lord, Lord Poinsettia, brought one via ship from South America
c. Blackbeard, the pirate, brought it from Puerto Rico
d. Spanish Explorer, Ponce de Leon, brought the plant to Florida from the Caribbean
8. Holly berries are poisonous. True or False?
9. Christmas became an official national holiday in the United States when?
10. Where does the abbreviation X-mas come from?
a. In Greek, the letter X means Christ
b. Atheists who wanted to take the Christ out of Christmas
c. Retailers who wanted to make Christmas a more general holiday and not just a Christian celebration
d. From the same aliens that made crop circles in the English countryside
11. When was Christmas first celebrated on December 25th?
a. 336 A.D.
b. 611 A.D.
c. 1125 A.D.
d. 1447 A.D.
12. In which country does an ugly, but kind, witch named Befana deliver presents to children, rather than Santa Claus?
d. Czech Republic
13. In which American colony was it illegal at one time to celebrate Christmas?
b. New York
14. Where did the tradition of kissing under mistletoe originate?
a. In Europe, where mistletoe was associated with fertility and love
b. Romanian gypsies who believed mistletoe to be deadly to those who did not share true love
c. Santa’s workshop. Mrs. Claus put it there to remind Santa he was still married and needed to pay attention to his wife
d. Russian noblemen would court noblewomen with a gift of mistletoe wrapped in mink fur – the women if she accepted would then kiss the nobleman on the hand.
15. A real gift-giving St. Nick existed. In which modern day country was he born?