1. Who created Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer?
c. Montgomery Ward Department Store
The Department store crafted the story of Rudolph in 1939 as a holiday promotion – and the rest is history.
2. In Poland, people use what unusual item to decorate their Christmas trees?
a. Spider webs
A Polish folktale says that a spider wove a blanket for baby Jesus, hence the proclivity to decorate their Christmas trees with spiders and spider webs. Across Poland, spiders are also symbols of goodness and prosperity.
3. When and where were did the first Christmas cards originate?
a. England 1843
The card was created by John Calcott Horsley, who was commissioned by Sir Henry Cole, to draw a card illustrating three generations of a well-to-do family offering a toast. To the side of the family are scenes of charity where food and clothing are being given to the poor. Click†here to see an image of this card.
4. Electric tree lights were first used in what year?
The tradition of lighting a tree with candles goes back many centuries, but in 1882, the first tree was illuminated by electric lights. Edward Johnson, an assistant to Thomas Edison, hand-wired a string of red, white and blue bulbs together and then lit up a tree in New York City.
5. In which country was it illegal to celebrate Christmas for about 400 years?
Christmas celebrations were banned in Scotland for almost 400 years, starting in 1647, thanks to the Presbyterian Church. People who went against the ruling suffered severe punishments and this anti-Christmas trend continued into the 20th century. Thus, today, even though the Scots do now celebrate Christmas, the most important end-of-the-year celebration in Scotland is the New Year celebration called Hogmanay.
6. The first artificial Christmas tree was made in what country and from what material?
b. Germany/Goose feathers dyed green
7. How did the poinsettia first arrive to America?
a. By Joel Poinsett who brought it from Mexico
8. Holly berries are poisonous. True.
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 (Xristos) means Christ.
11.When was Christmas first celebrated on December 25th?
a. 336 A.D.
The exact birth date of Jesus is unknown, so there are a number of theories as to why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. One theory is that Mary was told on March 25th (the Annunciation) that she would have a special baby – and nine months from March 25th is December 25th. Another theory suggests that rather than fight the festive energy of the pagan Winter Solstice holiday, already celebrated around December 25th, the Church layered the celebration of Jesus’ birth on this day. The same has been said of the Roman festival, Saturnalia, which was also celebrated around this time, as was the birthday of the pagan Sun God, Mithra (the origin of the word Sunday).
12. In which country does an ugly, but kind, witch named Befana deliver Christmas presents to children?
In Italy, children must wait until January 6th (Epiphany) to receive presents from the witch, Befana. According to folktales, Belfana was informed by the three kings that Jesus had been born, but she delayed visiting the baby, then got lost and has been flying around every since with gifts meant for Baby Jesus. Like Santa, she slides down chimneys, then fills stockings and shoes with presents and treats.
13. In what American colony was it illegal at one time to celebrate Christmas?
From 1659 to 1681, Christmas was outlawed in Boston by the Puritans.
14. Where did the tradition of kissing under mistletoe originate?
a. In Europe, where mistletoe was associated with fertility and love
Across Europe, mistletoe has long been regarded sacred and magical, as well as associated with fertility.††Mistletoe was maybe first associated with the ancient Greek Festival of Saturnalia, where people were known to kiss under mistletoe.†In Scandinavia, mistletoe was seen as a peace plant, under which enemies were encouraged to declare a truce, while feuding spouses were urged to kiss and make-up. Mistletoe was especially sacred to the Celtic Druids who used the plant in many rituals.†It was gathered by the Druids for the winter solstice, and thus the custom of using mistletoe to decorate houses at†Christmas†is a charming remnant of the Druid and other pre-Christian traditions.
15. A real St. Nick once existed. In which country was he born?
Historians pinpoint modern-day Turkey as the birthplace of a Greek bishop named St. Nick nearly a thousand years ago. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in shoes left outside homes.