HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

FOLLOW US
The Ultimate Christmas Traditions Quiz
by Staff
Countless traditions accompany the holiday season. It's impossible to wrap up every Christmas tradition into a tidy little box with a big red bow, but if we tried, we'd have to include fruitcake, carols, mistletoe and "A Christmas Story."

It's a time-honored Christmas tradition to kiss under the mistletoe, but no one's quite sure when and where the practice originated. Which of the following is NOT accepted as a possible origin of the tradition?

  • Ancient Romans were the first to pucker up under the mistletoe during the mid-December festival of Saturnalia.
  • The tradition began with the Vikings, who associated mistletoe with Frigga, the goddess of love.
  • In the formal era of Victorian England, people began stealing kisses under the mistletoe as an excuse to show affection in public.

We can thank the Crusaders for the advent of gingerbread. When they returned from the Middle East, they brought ginger, which was used in molded gingerbread cakes and cookies. When gingerbread is prepared, which of the following spices is NOT typically used in the recipe?

  • anise
  • cinnamon
  • cumin

One of the most popular performances to take in during the holiday season is "The Nutcracker," a ballet based on E.T.A. Hoffman's "The Nutcracker and the King of Mice." Alexander Dumas (who wrote "The Three Musketeers") adapted Hoffman's tale into the story on which the ballet is based. But who choreographed the ballet?

  • Agnes de Mille
  • Marius Petipa
  • George Balanchine

Which of the following phrases completes this rhyming couplet from Clement C. Moore's 1822 poem "The Night Before Christmas": "He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf..."

  • "...and there in the flesh, he was real as myself."
  • "...and I marveled at the gifts for the children and myself."
  • "...and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself."

In what year did 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon famously inquire about Santa's existence, prompting Francis Pharcellus Church's response, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus"?

  • 1897
  • 1906
  • 1930

The much-loved 1983 film "A Christmas Story" is actually based on a book of short stories and essays by what author?

  • Shirley Jackson
  • Jean Shepherd
  • Dylan Thomas

In Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," which ghost is a good-humored, burly spirit who wears an evergreen robe?

  • The Ghost of Christmas Past
  • The Ghost of Christmas Present
  • The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Orphans and beggars in 19th-century Britain frequently sang this song at holiday time as a polite way of asking for alms, food or fire:

  • "The Little Drummer Boy"
  • "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
  • "Here We Come A-Wassailing"

Of the following facts about fruitcake, which is NOT true?

  • It weighs 8 pounds, on average.
  • It's nearly as dense as mahogany.
  • It has a shelf life of up to three years.

In what century and for what reason was the candy cane invented?

  • It was created in the 18th century as an over-the-counter remedy for nausea.
  • It was created in the 17th century as a Christmas tree decoration.
  • It was created in the 19th century as a Christmas treat for orphans.