At the back of m’new book, just after the EPIC TIMELINE OF ALL CHRISTMAS (might do a blog of that another time)… I’ve put a Christmas quiz. Answers are all in the book, or, alright, since you may not have it/might want to know ’em in a quicker fashion than scouring every page, they’re also at the bottom.

Take this to your Christmas dinner table by all means. G’luck!


1. Which climatic conditions inspired the writing of “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”, “The Christmas Song”, and “Sleigh Ride”?
a) A Baltimore blizzard b) A Hollywood heatwave c) A Manhattan monsoon

2. A letter-writing private at the 1914 Christmas Truce went on to write which animal-based book?
a) Fantastic Mr Fox b) Tarka the Otter c) Jeffrey the Weasel

3. What was the only new carol permitted by the Church of England in the 1700s?
a) “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks” b) “Joy to the World” c) “Happy Christmas Cromwell”

4. According to Catholicism, who was conceived in “the immaculate conception”?
a) Jesus b) The shepherd girl c) Mary

5. Who are the only biblical characters to celebrate their own birthdays?
a) Noah and Judas b) Pharaoh and Herod c) Wise men #1 and #3

6. What featured on the first Christmas card in 1843?
a) A child drinking booze b) Prince Albert giving two thumbs up c) A crib scene with four wise men

7. Jester Roland Le Pettour was lured out of retirement by Henry II for what Christmas Day routine?

a) A leap, a whistle, and a fart b) Juggling hedgehogs c) “I hope my tunic doesn’t catch fire…”

8. What did Chicago locals look at, bemused, in December 1804?
a) Norwegian farmers’ briefly flying reindeer b) German soldiers felling fir trees c) Russian chefs’ impromptu ballet-dancing

9. Which of these was Christmas NOT called in England in the 1640s?
a) Boxing Eve b) The Profane Man’s Ranting Day c) The Multitudes’ Idle Day

10. Which of these was the original spelling of a reindeer’s name from Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “A Visit from St Nicholas”? a) Dunder b) Flitzen c) Thrasher


Write your answer, check it twice…

11. Candlemas is otherwise known as what?
a) The Day of the Triffids b) Groundhog Day c) The Day the Earth Stood Still

12. The composer of “Little Donkey” also wrote which other animal-based song?
a) “Ox and Ass and Gerbil” b) “One More Sheep till Christmas” c) “I’ve Got a Little Whippet”

13. In what Christmassy-sounding place was St Nicholas born?
a) Bethlehemville b) Turkey c) Caracas

14. What Christmassy substance was said to emanate from St Nicholas’ bones?
a) Gold b) Frankincense c) Myrrh

15. Which one of these song facts is NOT true?
a) “Jingle Bells” was the first song in space, as part of a Santa/alien prank
b) “White Christmas” was the warning alarm for US troops to leave Saigon
c) “Silent Night” was the first song to top the charts in Klingon

16. Washington Irving is responsible for popularizing Santa Claus in North America – and what else?
a) Robinson Crusoe and the word “pants”
b) Rip Van Winkle and the word “knickers”
c) Rupert the Bear and the word “stockings”

17. Which of these was NOT the name of one of King Herod’s wives?
a) Herodia b) Cleopatra c) Doris

18. What’s the customary Japanese Christmas dinner?
a) Burger King b) KFC c) McDonald’s

19. The poinsettia plant is named after whom or where?
a) A school in Poinse, New Jersey
b) Dr Joel Poinsett, first US Minister to Mexico
c) Edgar Allen Poe, in Seattle

20. What’s the traditional response to “Wassail!”?
a) “Who’s there?” b) “Wassail who?” c) “Drinkhail!”


ANSWERS in the Amazon bestseller Hark! The Biography of Christmas or here:

1 b). 2 b). 3 a). 4 c). 5 b). 6 a). 7 a). 8 b). 9 a). 10 a). 11 b). 12 c). 13 b). 14 c). 15 c). 16 b). 17 a). 18 b). 19 b). 20 c).