Come All Ye Faithful! The History of Christmas Quiz

By: Sarah Crozer
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

There is something magical about Christmas time. With Christmas around the corner, test how much you really know about everyone's favorite holiday with this quiz!

Why is christmas celebrated?

The name 'Christmas' comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service is attended on Christmas eve. Christians go to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and remember how he died for our sins.

Who celebrates Christmas in modern day times?

Christmas is now celebrated by people around the world, whether they are Christians or not. It's a time when family and friends come together. People, and especially children, also like Christmas as it's a time when you give and receive presents!

What was the first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated?

The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336 A.D., during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I, officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December!

What is the name for the day where there is the shortest time between the sun rising and the sun setting?

It happens on December 21st or 22nd. To pagans this meant that the winter was over and spring was coming and they had a festival to celebrate it and worshipped the sun for winning over the darkness of winter!

What is “Yule”?

In Scandinavia, and some other parts of northern Europe, the Winter Solstice is known as Yule and is where we get Yule Logs from. In Eastern Europe the mid-winter festival is called Koleda. “Yule time carols!"

Pagans use what to decorate their homes during the winter solstice?

Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. The Romans used Fir Trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia. Christians use it as a sign of everlasting life with God!

Who was the first person to bring a Christmas tree inside?

A story is told that one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus!

What is the Yule Log?

The largest end of the log would be placed into the fire hearth while the rest of the tree stuck out into the room! The log would be lit from the remains of the previous year's log which had been carefully stored away and slowly fed into the fire through the Twelve Days of Christmas!

This plant represents the crown of thorns Jesus wore when he was crucified.

The berries are the drops of blood that were shed by Jesus. In Scandinavia it is known as the Christ Thorn. In pagan times, Holly was thought to be a male plant and Ivy a female plant.

In Roman times _____ were hung on the doors as a sign of victory and status.

Rich Roman women also wore them as headdresses at special occasions like weddings and to show they were posh! Roman Emperors also wore Laurel Wreaths!

What is the advent?

Some people fast (don't eat anything) during advent to help them concentrate on preparing to celebrate Jesus's coming. In many Orthodox and Eastern European Churches, Advent lasts for 40 days and starts on November 15th and is also called the Nativity Fast!

Why is mistletoe originally hung in a house?

It is supposed to possess mystical powers which bring good luck to the household. It was also used as a sign of love and friendship in Norse mythology and that's where the custom of kissing under Mistletoe came about.

This item captured gold coins which were tossed down a chimney by Saint Nicholas.

The generous St. Nicholas, hearing of the girls’ plight, set forth to help. Wishing to remain anonymous, he threw three small pouches of gold coins down the chimney where they were captured by the stockings the young women had hung by the fireplace to dry!

This edible christmas decoration mocks the shape of a shepherd's crook.

Legend has it that during the 17th century, craftsmen created the white sticks of candy in the shape of shepherd's crooks at the suggestion of the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The candy treats were given to children to keep them quiet during ceremonies!

What is Midnight mass?

Having a Mass at Midnight at Christmas eve dates back to the early church when it was believed that Jesus was born at midnight. A lot of Churches have midnight services on Christmas Eve! In many Catholic countries such as France, Spain, and Italy, the midnight mass service is very important and everyone tries to go to a service.

Where is St. Nicholas from?

Because of his kindness Nicholas was made a Saint. St. Nicholas is not only the saint of children but also of sailors! One story tells of him helping some sailors that were caught in a dreadful storm off the coast of Turkey!

Who is Ruldoph?

Did you know that Rudolph might actually be a girl!? Only female reindeer keep their antlers throughout winter. By Christmas time most males have discarded their antlers and are saving their energy ready to grow a new pair in the spring!

Who is Frosty?

The song “Frosty the Snowman” was written by Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson in 1950 specifically as a means of capitalizing on the success of Gene Autry’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

This single was originally a Thanksgiving song.

Jingle Bells was originally written by James Pierpont in 1857, for Thanksgiving not Christmas. It was originally called One Horse Open Sleigh!

What is the name for this paper tube, which when pulled will make a “pop” sounds and release its contents?

Christmas crackers were invented by Thomas Smith. Traditionally it contains a paper crown, small gift, and joke!

Who was responsible for using electric lights on Christmas Trees.

Thomas Edison demonstrated electric lights in 1879, but his assistant came up with the idea to use them on trees in 1882!

In the 1600's, it was at one point ______ to celebrate Christmas in Boston.

Because of its roots in pagan festivals, Christmas was not immediately accepted by the religious. In fact, from 1659 to 1681, it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in Boston. You were fined if you were caught celebrating!

Who was santa's lead reindeer?

Rudolph was actually conceived by a department store, Montgomery Ward, as a marketing gimmick to get kids to buy holiday coloring books!

This is the best selling Christmas single of all time.

“White Christmas” by Irving Berlin is the best selling single of all time, with over 100 million sales worldwide!

What is a mince pie?

Mince Pies, like Christmas Puddings, were originally filled with meat, such as lamb, rather than a dried fruit mix as they are today. They were also first made in an oval shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby!

Who was the first person to draw santa?

On January 1st 1881, Harper's Weekly published Nast's most famous image of Santa, complete with a big red belly, an arm full of toys and smoking a pipe! This image of Santa became very popular!

Who are “Waits”?

Before carol singing in public became popular, there were sometimes official carol singers called 'Waits'. These were bands of people led by important local leaders. They were called 'Waits' because they only sang on Christmas Eve!

This is a successful Christmas ballet.

Nutcrackers got what would turn out to be their biggest boost when Peter Tchaikovsky adapted an 1816 E.T.A Hoffman Christmas story called The Nutcracker and the Mouse King for the famous and wildly successful ballet, first performed in 1892!

Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh were presents given to Jesus by who?

One of the main reasons we have the custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas, is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the 3 Wise Men!

Who was responsible for christmas carols?

Early Christians took over the pagan solstice celebrations for Christmas and gave people Christian songs to sing instead of pagan ones!

The origin of Santa Claus began with whom?

Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, an area in present day Turkey. His kindness and reputation for generosity gave rise to claims he that he could perform miracles and devotion to him increased!

Which is a gift from the “Twelve Days of Christmas”

A partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, three French hens, four calling birds, five gold rings, six geese laying, seven swans swimming, eight maids milking, nine ladies dancing, ten lords leaping, eleven pipers piping!

When did Rudolph become Santa's 9th reindeer?

Rudolph didn't become Santa's ninth reindeer until 1939 when an advertising writer for the department store Montgomery Ward created him!

Which country did Kris Kringle originate?

The German word Christkindl, which means Christ child, eventually turned into Kriss Kringle!

What is an advent calendar?

There are many types of calendars used in different countries. The most common ones in the UK and USA are made of paper or cardboard with 25 little windows. A window is opened on every day in December and a Christmas picture is displayed underneath!

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