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Christmas Trivia: A Christmas Quiz

Updated on January 31, 2010
Public Domain
Public Domain

Christmas is celebrated in many different cultures, each with its own traditions. How much do you know about the Christmas traditions here in the United States? Take this Christmas quiz and test your knowledge about Christmas trivia. Answers are at the end of the questions but do not peek….Santa is watching!



1- Where did the word Christmas come from?

2- Where did Santa Claus originate?

3- Why do we hang Christmas stockings?

4- Who introduced the Poinsettia plant to the United States?

5- Can you name Santa’s eight original reindeer?

6- Who created Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer?

7- Who was the first president of the United States to decorate a White House Christmas tree?

8- Where is the location of the official living National Christmas tree?

9- What is the origin of Christmas caroling?

10- Why do we hang evergreen wreaths at Christmas?

11- Christmas was declared a federal holiday in what year?

12- Who made and enjoyed the first eggnog in The United States?

13- Who started the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in 1931?

14- What ornament is hidden in a decorated Christmas tree for children to find?

15- What is the best selling Christmas song of all time and who recorded it?


Public Domain
Public Domain


1- Christmas comes from Old English and is a contraction of Christ’s Mass. Contrary to what many believe, X-Mas has religious origins. Chi is the letter in Greek that corresponds to our letter X and it stands for Christ.

Public Domain
Public Domain

2- Santa is based on an actual person who lived in the Turkish town of Myra. His name was Saint Nicholas and he was a Christian bishop living in the 4th century. He was famous for the love and gifts he lavished on the poor, especially the children.


Public Domain
Public Domain

3- Hanging Christmas stockings is believed to have originated from Germanic folklore. The god Odin (who was similar in appearance to our modern Santa) would go hunting during the winter solstice celebration. The children would fill their boots with sugar and carrots for his horse, Sleipnir. To thank the children, Odin left gifts and candy in their boots.


Poinsettias.  Public Domain
Poinsettias. Public Domain

4- Joel Poinsett, the first US ambassador to Mexico, introduced the poinsettia plant to the US in 1928. He brought back cuttings from a plant growing along the edge of the road. The Mexicans revered the plant because it reminded them of the Star of Bethlehem.


Public Domain
Public Domain

5- Santa’s reindeer are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Although Donner should really be Donder; it was either mispronounced in the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or the lyricist changed it to make it flow better. But poor Donder was known as Donner from then on.


Public Domain
Public Domain

6- The ninth reindeer, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, was created by Robert L. May in 1929. He wrote the poem as a promotion for Montgomery Ward to help lure in shoppers. The rest is history!


2004 White House Christmas tree .   Public Domain
2004 White House Christmas tree . Public Domain

7- Franklin Pierce in 1856 was the first president to decorate a White House Christmas tree. Calvin Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House lawn in 1923. Teddy Roosevelt was the only president to ban a Christmas tree in the White House due to environmental concerns.

General Grant Tree.  Public Domain
General Grant Tree. Public Domain

8- We have a national Christmas tree located in Kings Canyon National Park in California. The giant sequoia “General Grant Tree” was designated as the Nation’s Christmas Tree by Calvin Coolidge on April 28, 1926.

Public Domain
Public Domain

9- Christmas caroling is an old English custom called wassailing. They sang and then toasted their neighbors to a long, healthy life.


Photo by Author
Photo by Author

10- This custom comes from Ancient Rome. The Romans wished each other good health for the New Year by exchanging branches of evergreens. They bent them into rings and then would hang them in the doorways.


11- Christmas was declared a federal holiday on June 26, 1870.


Courtesy of the American Egg Board
Courtesy of the American Egg Board

12- Captain John Smith made and drank the first eggnog in the US in Jamestown colony in 1607.


First Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.  Public Domain
First Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. Public Domain

13- The construction workers building the Rockefeller Center first put up a Christmas tree in the center of the construction site in 1931. They started a tradition which has continued every year.

Pickle Ornament. Photo by Author
Pickle Ornament. Photo by Author

14- A green glass pickle is hidden in the decorated Christmas tree. The first child to find it gets an extra little gift and then is the first one to begin opening the gifts under the tree. This delightful custom supposedly came to us from the Germans.

Bing Crosby album cover. Public Domain
Bing Crosby album cover. Public Domain

15- “White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby and written by Irving Berlin is the best selling single Christmas song of all time. Bing Crosby gave the first performance of this song on his NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day in 1941.

How Did You Do?

If you correctly scored:


You may be a scrooge but there is hope! Santa’s elves are
available for tutoring!


Pretty good but you need to brush up! Maybe Rudolph can help you out!


Very good – you thoroughly enjoy the Christmas season!


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      6 years ago

      The quiz is very hard


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