The following is a huge blast from the past. I posted this on an old blog of mine, and the text document I copied this from is dated December 16, 2007 — eight years ago! I’ve edited it slightly and posted it here because I think it’s hilarious, and in the spirit of the season. Questions and their answers have been bolded so you can play along too. Enjoy!
While the four of us were sitting around watching the horrible claymation version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Mom said suddenly, “Do you want to play trivia?”
“Um…how?” I asked.
She explained that she had went to a conference for work recently and one of her coworkers had brought in a page of Christmas Trivia questions. So we agreed, and got some pens and paper. Mom also promised prizes for the person who got the most right. There were 23 questions in all; when Mom had went through them all, we compared answers.
1. What is the common theme of 6 of the first 7 gifts in the 12 days of Christmas?
“They’re all chickens,” Dad answered.
“No, they’re all birds,” Jessie and I answered.
2. The editorial “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” was first published in what New York City Newspaper?
“The New York Times,” Dad and I said. Jessie had no guess.
“No,” Mom said. “It was the New York Sun.”
“Do we get points if we guessed New York?” Dad asked.
“No,” Mom replied.
“Well I’m marking it correct anyways,” Dad said, and ticked a check mark on his paper.
3. Complete this line from the editorial: “Alas, how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no ___________”
4. In what country did the Christmas tree tradition originate?
“Germany,” I answered.
“Austria,” Dad said.
“No, it’s Germany,” Mom said.
“I don’t think so,” Dad protested. “I think you’ll have to check your sources on that.”
“No, it’s Germany,” Mom argued.
Dad shook his head. “I’m marking it right anyway.”
5. To which capital city does the city of Oslo give a Christmas Tree every year? Hint: Oslo is in Norway.
“Paris?” I guessed.
“Washington,” Jessie said.
“No, it’s London,” Mom corrected.
“London? How are we supposed to know that?” Dad complained. “This is too American. I’m marking mine right.”
6. Viscum album is the Latin name for what Christmas item?
“Mistletoe?” I guessed.
“Yep,” Mom said.
“I said manger chocolate biscuits,” Dad said.
7. What was the name of Clement Moore’s 1822 poem later renamed “Twas the Night before Christmas?”
“Breast of the New Fallen Snow,” Dad guessed. “It was too controversial so the printer wouldn’t print it.”
Mom laughed. “No, it’s A Visit from St. Nicholas.”
8. How many ghosts visit Ebeneezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol?
A: Four: Marley, and the three ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.
9. In which Middle Eastern city would you find Manger Square?
A: Bethlehem. Dad actually got that one right.
10. In the meadow we can build a snowman, then pretend he is Parson Brown. Who else do they pretend he is in Winter Wonderland?
A: A Circus clown
11. This ranks as the third largest occasion behind Christmas and Thanksgiving for Americans to consume food.
“Fourth of July?” I guessed.
“Halloween,” Dad said. (I laughed, but now I see the logic in that-lots of candy).
“Easter,” Jessie said.
“Nope, this one is really American,” Mom said. “It’s Super Bowl Sunday.”
12. The first charity Christmas card was produced by who in 1949?
13. The name of the horse in the timeless holiday song “Jingle Bells” is…?
“Bob-tail,” I answered.
“Yep,” Mom said.
“See, that’s not a name,” Dad said. “Bobbing the tail is scronging it up so that poop and snow don’t get into it. I think some of these should be fact checked…I’m marking mine right anyway.”
14. In the 1966 “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” TV special, what biological shortcoming made the Grinch so mean?
“Heart was two sizes too small,” I answered.
“Head screwed on too tight,” Jessie added.
“Having your head screwed on too tight isn’t a biological shortcoming, it’s a biological impossibility,” Dad commented. “So that’s wrong.”
After an argument, Mom said no, that the Grinch’s head was indeed screwed on to tight as indicated by the show, so Jessie gained a point.
15. If you received all the gifts in the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, you’d have how many gifts?
A: 364 (On the first day you’d get 1, second day you’d get 3, third day 6, etc.)
16. The string on this children’s food boxes were designed so the boxes could be hung on Christmas trees.
“Crackerjacks,” Dad said.
“Popcorn string?” I guessed. “I don’t know, that’s confusing.”
“No, it’s Animal Crackers,” Mom replied.
“Animal Crackers? Crackerjacks are more American than Animal Crackers. I’m marking mine right.”
17. The biggest selling Christmas single of all time is…?
A: White Christmas, by Bing Crosby. (Duh!)
18. Before he picked this name for this character in “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens also considered using Little Larry, Puny Pete and Small Sam.
“Tiny Tim,” I said. “That one’s easy.”
Dad didn’t say anything.
“What did you put?” Mom asked him.
“Well I thought we had to choose between those names, so I said Puny Pete,” Dad said.
The three of us burst out laughing.
19. What two children’s TV characters take their names from the cop and the taxi driver in the holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”?
A: Bert and Ernie. (That’s one of my favourite movies)
20. After hearing a clatter, “I” ran to the window. What did I do?
“Threw open the shutters and drew up the sash,” Mom said, after none of us could get it word-for-word.
“Now how would he do that?” Dad said. “The shutters are outside the window. Let me get this straight. He smashed the window glass to get to the shutters, and then opened the sash, which was on the inside? I don’t think he’d be seeing anything at that point, except maybe a hospital.”
21. Did St. Nick smoke in Twas a Night before Christmas?
A: He smoked a pipe and the smoke circled his head like a wreath.
“Santa won’t be smoking in his sleigh anymore with the new laws,” Dad muttered.
“Only if he’s going to the valley,” Jessie added.***
22. Frosty the snowman’s first words when he comes to life are…?
“Catch me if you can,” Dad said.
“No, it’s Happy Birthday,” Mom corrected.
“What?” the three of us questioned.
“It’s from this show that used to come on,” Mom explained. “He’d say it at the beginning of the show. It’s not from the song.”
“I’m marking mine right,” Dad said.
23. What is the name of the Christmas Carol that begins, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”?
A: The Christmas Song
We counted up our scores. Dad got 14 out of 23, I got 9 and Jessie got 8. Mom disappeared upstairs for the prize and we waited.
“I won,” Dad said.
“Clarence didn’t get any!” Mom yelled from upstairs.
She came back down with mint chocolate and a bag of chocolate covered cranberries. She gave Jessie and I each two mint chocolates: they’re her favourite type of chocolate.
“Do I get mint chocolate too?” Dad asked.
“You didn’t win,” Mom said defiantly.
She offered the bag of chocolate covered cranberries and Dad held out his hand. “Oh, I get these…they look like bunny poop. See if you would’ve asked me what bunny poop was, I would’ve said cruddle, and that would’ve been right.”
“Yes, but that’s not Christmas.”
“Well, Easter then. I’ll make my own trivia, and it will be Canadian.”
So I guess the plan is to make up new questions for Christmas Day, when the family is over.** Canadian trivia, and not silly American trivia. Maybe then, Dad will win.
**This did not end up happening, but he is right, he probably would have won.
***In December 2007, Nova Scotia became the first province in Canada to ban smoking in cars when driving with children, though I’m not sure what it has to do with the valley. Thoughts?