History of Christmas and Fun Christmas Quiz

Do you know the history of Christmas? Can you answer these Christmas questions?

From Cornell Christianson's book "Holiday Skits & Contests" available from Amazon.

Christmas is a holiday held on December 25th to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity. The date is not known to be the actual birth date of Jesus, but was chosen to correspond with the date of an ancient winter festival.

Christmas is celebrated by both Christians and non-Christians through popular customs such as gift-giving, singing Christmas carols, exchanging Christmas cards, a special Christmas meal, and the display of decorations like Christmas trees, lights, wreaths, mistletoe and holly.

December 25th was first declared the birthday of Jesus in the year 400 by Constantine the Emperor of Rome. He had a vision of a cross of light, converted to Christianity and declared December 25th as the birthday of Jesus. He chose that day because there was already a popular festival on December 25th as the first day of winter called Yule, which included decorating with holly, ivy, mistletoe and singing songs.


1.  Saint Nicholas is a real person who gave gifts to poor children in the year 300. What country did he live in? 


ANSWER: Turkey. 

2.  In 1600, the Protestant Reformation attempted to change St. Nicholas to be more like Jesus Christ. What name did the Protestants give St. Nicholas?


ANSWER: Kris Kringle derived from Christ Kindel or Christ Child.  

3.  What country did the name Santa Claus come from? 


ANSWER: Holland, where he was called Sinter Klass. In 1809, American author Washington Irving changed Sinter Klass to Santa Claus. 

4.  In what country was Santa Claus called Father Christmas? 


ANSWER: England. 

5.  True or False. From 1660 to 1680, there was no Christmas in Europe and America because the Puritans outlawed it.


ANSWER: True, the Puritans thought Christmas was improper with its gifts, feasts, and singing. 

6.  The Puritans banned children from getting gifts from Saint Nicholas. But people continued to do it secretly by using new names. What names did they use for Saint Nicholas?


ANSWER: Father Christmas was used in England. Kris Kringle was used in America. Sinter Klass was used in Holland which became Santa Claus.

7.  Where did the Christmas tree originate? France, Germany or Norway. 


ANSWER: Germany, the first Christmas trees were decorated with gingerbread, apples and glass ornaments. 

8.  Who put the first lights on a Christmas tree?


ANSWER: Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant Church. He was walking at night in the forest and looked up to see stars through the trees. He thought it was a vision from Jesus and he went home and put candles on his Christmas tree and told everyone to do it. 

9.  What is the traditional day to take down your Christmas Tree? New Year’s Eve, January 6th or January 30th?


ANSWER: January 6th which is the 12th Day of Christmas, the day of Epiphany, which commemorates the Three Wise Men visiting the baby Jesus, who is thus manifested to the world. 

10.  When was Christmas Day first celebrated as a holiday on December 25th?  The year after Jesus died, the year 400 or the year 800?


ANSWER: In the year 400, Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity after seeing a vision of a cross of light. He conquered Rome, established Christianity as the state religion, and declared December 25th as the birthday of Jesus. But Christmas Day was not an official holiday until Charlemagne became emperor in the year 800.  

11.  Name the first Christmas presents, which were the gifts given to Jesus by the Three Wise Men.


ANSWER: Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. 

12.  Which one is a perfume?


ANSWER: Both Frankincense and Myrrh. 

13.  When was the first Christmas in the Americas? 1492, 1550 or 1620?


ANSWER: When Christopher Columbus landed in 1492, he named the first settlement he founded in Cuba "Navidad" because it was Christmas Day. 

14.  True or False. Christmas was dying out in the 1800s and almost disappeared, but in 1840, Charles Dickens’ book “A Christmas Carole” revived it.


ANSWER: True, it was almost the end of Christmas.

15.  True or False. Christmas cards began in 1840 by the head of the Post Office in England to promote their new one-penny stamps.



16.  What country did the first poinsettias come from? Brazil, Cuba or Mexico.


ANSWER: Mexico. 

17.  How many sides does a snowflake have? Four, Five or Six.



18.  How many reindeer does Santa have? Six, Nine or Twelve.



19.  Name Santa’s reindeer that are female.


ANSWER: Some people say Prancer, Vixen and Dancer are female, but all of them are female since they all have antlers. Male reindeer shed their antlers in November, females in January.

20.  Who won an Academy Award for acting in a classic Christmas movie? Paul Newman, Jimmy Stewart or Marlon Brando?


ANSWER: Jimmy Stewart.

21.  What was the classic Christmas movie?


ANSWER: It’s A Wonderful Life.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jane Lyle Diepeveen December 22, 2012 at 09:10 PM
There have only been nine reindeer since the Rudolph story became popular. In the poem "A visit from St. Nicholas", written in 1823 by Clement Moore, there are eight reindeer. Their names were borowed from earlier sources as were some of the features of St. Nick (from Washington Irving's writings), but much of the poem was original.


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