Blog Archives

Christmas Quiz

It’s Christmastime, but do you really know what “figgy pudding” is, or why we hang stockings? Test your Christmas trivia knowledge with the following quiz we got at work today.

After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Congress was in session on Dec. 25, 1789, the first Christmas under America’s new constitution.
1. What year was Christmas declared a federal holiday in the U.S.?

Decorating evergreen trees had always been a part of the German winter solstice tradition. The first “Christmas trees,” explicitly decorated and named after the Christian holiday, appeared in Strasbourg in the beginning of the 17th century.
2. The Christmas tree tradition was introduced to England after what German prince married a British royal?

In 1828, an American diplomat, Joel R. Poinsett, brought a foreign, red-and-green plant to America. As its coloring seemed perfect for the new Christmas holiday, the plants, called poinsettias after Poinsett, began appearing in greenhouses as early as 1830. In 1870, New York stores began to sell them at Christmas. By 1900, they were a universal symbol of the holiday.
3. Joel R. Poinsett was American minister to what country?

One popular English dish, dating back to the Middle Ages, is prepared by combining suet, flour, sugar, raisins, nuts, and spices loosely in a cloth and boiling it until the contents have enlarged enough to fill the cloth. It is then unwrapped, sliced like cake, and topped with cream.
4. What is the name of this unique holiday dish?

5. What 13th century saint created the first living nativity to help explain the birth of Jesus to his followers? In the U.S. and England, children hang stockings on their bedpost or near a fireplace on Christmas Eve, hoping that it will be filled with treats while they sleep. This tradition can be traced to legends about Saint Nicholas. One legend tells of three poor sisters who could not marry because they had no money for a dowry. To save them from spinsterhood, St. Nick rode by their house one night on his horse and tossed a gold coin down the chimney for each of the sisters. One coin landed in a pair of shoes that had been left on the hearth, and another went into a pair of stockings left hanging by the fire to dry.
6. In what part of the world do children leave their shoes on the hearth, also hoping that “Saint Nicholas” will make a visit to their home on Christmas Eve?

In France, Christmas is called Noel, from the French phrase “les bonnes nouvelles,” which means “the good news.” Italians also refer to the gospel with their word for Christmas.
7. What does Il Natale mean?

Rockefeller Center in New York has displayed a Christmas tree every year for almost 75 years. The tallest tree came in 1948 and was a 100-foot tall Norway spruce, and the trees placed in recent years have been decorated with more than 25,000 lights.
8. What group of men placed the first tree at Rockefeller Center in 1931?

9. You may not know that “Good King Wenceslas” was actually a Duke of Bohemia who lived in the 10th century, but do you know the meaning of the city featured in “O Little Town of Bethlehem?”

Much of his history is unconfirmed, but it is believed the man who became St. Nicholas lived in the 4th century and was a bishop in Asia Minor. Some countries consider him the patron saint of children, sailors, and the poor. St. Nicholas took on the persona of Santa Claus in the U.S., from the Dutch settlers’ Sinter Klaas.
10. Santa Claus generally was depicted as an elf until 1931, when what company’s ads portrayed him as human-sized?

Did you know that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was almost a “Reginald?” Created in 1939 by Robert L. May, a copywriter for Montgomery Ward department stores, the story went on to become a nine-minute cartoon, a 1964 television special narrated by Burl Ives, and the second best-selling song of all time.
11. What is the only song to sell more copies than “Rudolph,” and who famously recorded that best-selling song?

Click below to see the answers

Read the rest of this entry

Christmas Traditions

Hard to believe its already December 2nd. My mind is consumed with finishing my degree (one assignment down, two to go) that it kind of snuck up on me. I was sent into reflection by Erika’s story on advent.

Since we went to visit my family for thanksgiving we are going to spend Christmas here in California with Brian’s family. Their tradition is to spend the night at his sister’s house and have an early breakfast and present time.

At our house we’d usually go to a Christmas Eve service somewhere and then open one present. We’d wake up Christmas morning, have a big breakfast then my dad would read the Christmas story from Luke and we’d pray as a family. Then each person would get their turn in the spotlight to open their presents, starting with the youngest.

Other favorite times at our house was when we decorated. My mom and I would make cookies as my dad and brother would assemble our artificial tree. There would be Christmas music playing as we decorated the house. That is as Normal Rockwell as we got.

I’m trying to think what Brian and I can do to start our own Christmas traditions. I guess sometimes you just stumble on them or it happens in a flash. But I love tradition and think it creates an amazing framework to build memories. I’m also an addict for warm-n-fuzzy.