Holiday Quiz by Mark Kearney and Randy Ray

Holiday Quiz

By Mark Kearney and Randy Ray

Mark Kearney of London, Ont. and Randy Ray of Ottawa are the authors of nine books about Canada, with best-seller sales of more than 50,000. Their Web site is:

Big Book of Canadian Trivia cover


Since Victorian times, puzzles and games have helped make the holiday season a joyous time for kids and adults of all ages.

Christmas crackers with amusements tucked inside, special games and toys associated with Hanukkah and board games left under the tree by Santa have long been an integral part of holiday celebrations.

With this trivia quiz, we’re keeping the tradition alive with 20 challenging questions that will add some cheer and knowledge to a season known around the world for joy and merriment.

Score one point for each correct response (some questions have more than one answer) out of a total of 30 points. But remember, answers are like presents — no peeking.  When you’re done, go to the bottom of the quiz to check the answers and see how you fared.

Happy Holidays!

1. True or false. The poinsettia plant, a favorite at Christmas, was named for a Dr. Poinsett.
2. The original Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, was believed to be born in the fourth century in what is now this country?  a)  Sweden    b)  The Netherlands    c)  Turkey    d)  Czechoslovakia    e)  The Soviet Union

3. Robert May, an advertising copywriter for the Montgomery Ward department store, came up with the tale of a Red-Nosed Reindeer. Before he settled on Rudolph what two other names were suggested?

a) Rollo and Reginald

b)  Roscoe and Randy

c)  Robin and Roland

d)  Rufus and Rupert
4. Which book of the New Testament contains these famous words “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

a)  Matthew

b)  Mark

c)  Luke

d)  John

5. The word Hanukkah means:

a) of, or from, the light

b)  victorious

c)  celebration of peace

d)  rededication
6.  Yes or no:  Christmas was once outlawed in England.
7.  Score a point for each of the three wise men you can name.
8.  Still with the wise men; they brought gold, frankincense and myrrh.  What is myrrh?
9.  Score a point for each singer or group you match correctly with their hit holiday songs:

a) Jingle Bell Rock

1) Brenda Lee 

b) Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree  2) Harry Belafonte
c) Grandma Got Run-Over by a Reindeer 3) Royal Guardsmen
d) Snoopy’s Christmas 4) Bobby Helms
e) Mary’s Boy Child 5) The Irish Rovers


10.  The two biggest selling Christmas songs of all time are White Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  What’s number three?

11.  December 26 is known as Boxing Day because in England:
a) annual boxing matches in the 19th century were held in towns and cities to determine local champions
b) people used to place Christmas wrappings and bows in boxes to be picked up as garbage
c) churches used to empty collection boxes annually and give the money to the poor
d) King Henry VII decreed in 1489 that every merchant in London provide one boxed gift to be distributed to members of his army the day after Christmas.

12.  The tune for “Deck the Halls” is one of the few Christmas songs to have originated in Iceland.  True or false.
13.  Near the end of A Christmas Carol, Ebeneezer Scrooge tells a young boy in the street to buy a bird for him that he plans to give to Bob Cratchit. What kind of bird is it?

a) fat goose

b) partridge

c) turkey

d) duck

14.  What country is acknowledged to have issued the first special Christmas stamps?

15.  The popular Christmas movie It's a Wonderful Life is based on a story called:

a)  It’s A Wonderful Life
b)  My Guardian Angel
c)  The Greatest Gift
d)  One Christmas in Bedford Falls

16.  Under Universal Postal Union regulations, letters in Britain addressed to “Santa, North Pole” are required to be sent to which country?

17.  True or false. Bing Crosby said this of the song White Christmas in an interview shortly before he died: “I know people probably won’t want to hear this, but I was never really much of a fan of that song. And I’m pretty darned tired of it now.”
18.  Match the translation of “Merry Christmas” to the correct language.
a) Glaedelig Jul                1)  Portuguese

b) Gajan Kristnakon          2)  Irish Gaelic
c) Vrolijke Kerstmis          3)  Danish
d) Boas Festas                 4)  Flemish
e) Nodlaig Nait Cugat       5)  Esperanto

19.  A Christmas Carol is also the name of a poem that Charles Dickens wrote.  Yes or no?
20.  A manger is a:
a) hand woven basket.

b) feeding trough for horse and cattle

c) wooden crate, usually filled with straw

d) type of hammock made of hemp.

Mark Kearney of London, Ont. and Randy Ray of Ottawa, are the authors of eight books about Canada. For more trivia, visit their Web site at:

1. True. The plant is named after Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States ambassador to Mexico, who in the late 1820s brought it into the U.S.
2. c). He was from the ancient town of Lycia in what is now Turkey. He is the  patron saint of children.
3. a). After dismissing those two names, Rudolph was introduced in a department store booklet in 1939, and the song was made famous in 1949 by Gene Autry.
4. c), Luke
5. d), rededication. Hanukkah is celebrated as the result of a Jewish defeat of Syrians who had converted a Jewish temple into a pagan shrine. The Jews cleansed the temple and rededicated it.
6. Yes. The Roundhead government of 1643 outlawed Christmas, Easter and Whitsundtide. With the Restoration in 1660, the ban was lifted.
7. Gaspar (sometimes Caspar), Balthazar, and Melchior. However, there is no clear indication these names are accurate or that there were only three wise men. Numbers have ranged up to a dozen.
8. Myrrh is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a gum resin used in perfumery, medicine and in incense.”
9. a) 4,  b) 1,  c) 5,   d) 3,   e) 2.
10.   According to The Christmas Almanack, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town is number three.
11. c)
12. False. The song is of Welsh origin
13. c). To quote from Dickens, Scrooge says: "Do you know whether they’ve sold the prize turkey that was hanging up there? — Not the little prize turkey: the big one?”
14. Canada. According to the Guinness Book of Christmas, it was a fluke. A stamp was issued in 1898 to commemorate a reduction in the Imperial postage rate, but it also coincided with the birthday of the Prince of Wales. Says the Guinness Book “when a postal official informed Queen Victoria that the stamp would also mark the prince's birthday she asked jealously ‘which Prince?’' To which the official tactfully replied ‘why, madam —
the Prince of Peace, of course.’ And so ‘XMAS 1898’ came to be inscribed on the stamp.” There were no special Christmas stamps from then until Austria did so in 1937.
15. c). The Greatest Gift was a short story written by Philip Van Doren Stern.
16. The main post office in Greenland.
17. False. In fact, White Christmas was Crosby’s favorite song from the Irving Berlin score of the movie Holiday Inn. One of Crosby’s biographers says the crooner was reluctant to sing it at first because he didn’t want to be involved in commercializing Christmas.
18. a) 3,   b) 5,   c) 4,   d) 1,   e) 2.
19. Yes.  It was published in the Christmas chapter of The Pickwick Papers.
20. b).

Randy Ray, publicist / speaker agent / author

 (613) 425-3873 - (613) 816-3873 (c)

Holiday Quiz
by Mark Kearney and Randy Ray

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