Christmas trivia, along with a round of good food and drinks, can take any gathering up a notch. If you think you know everything there is to know about the holiday, then read on. We have collected some interesting Christmas trivia questions and answers that you can share with your family and friends.
Before that, however, here are some Christmas fun facts to help you get re-acquainted with this beloved holiday.
The History of Christmas
How well do you know this special holiday? Most of us are familiar with the story of the Nativity and that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. However, long before his arrival, the early Europeans were already honoring a similar event.
Many people looked forward to the winter solstice, when the worst of winter had passed and they could finally look forward to longer hours of sunlight. The same goes for Scandinavia, where the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21 all the way to January.
Unlike modern celebrations, they didn’t really think about things to ask for for Christmas or play Christmas songs as part of the festivities. They were probably simply grateful that the long nights were finally over.
Christmas Trivia: The Origins of The Yule Log
During Yule or Yuletide, fathers and sons of every family would bring home large logs, which they would set alight. The community would then feast and rejoice until the logs eventually burn out. Unlike our modern celebrations, these feasts could last for days! The Norse believed that every spark created by the fire represented the birth of a calf or pig during the coming year.
This little history tidbit about the Yule log should make for a fun addition to a Christmas trivia game, right?
Christmas Trivia: Saturnalia and Juvenalia
Another ancient celebration that is similar to Christmas would be the Roman festival of Saturnalia. The celebration is in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. This begins in the week leading up to the winter solstice and continues for an entire month.
Christmas Food Trivia: Saturnalia is one of the grandest festivals in ancient Rome. Food and drink were bountiful, and history suggests that everyone got to partake in it. For the whole month, slaves become masters and peasants would have command of the city.
Not quite the celebration we have today, but it’s an interesting piece of obscure Christmas trivia! The Romans also observed Juvenalia during December 25 in honor of the city’s children. The date is also considered auspicious for they believed it to be the birth date of Mithra, god of the unconquerable sun.
The Importance of December 25 in the Christian Calendar
Is Christmas really the day Jesus was born? Truth is, the Bible does not make mention of a specific date for Jesus’ birth. December 25 was chosen by Pope Julius and instituted by the church, which makes it official. During the early years of Christianity, the most important holiday was actually Easter. That’s a bit of bible Christmas trivia for you!
Want more? Here is a free printable Christmas bible trivia list from Beth Demme.
So why December 25? It is commonly believed that the church chose this date as an effort to adopt the traditions established by the Saturnalia festival. Here’s an interesting Christmas trivia: Before it was known as “Christmas,” this holiday was first known as the Feast of the Nativity. The custom spread to Egypt by 432 AD and all the way to England by the close of the sixth century.
Fun Trivia Questions: What Was Christmas Like During the Middle Ages?
Slowly but surely, Christianity replaced pagan religion. By the Middle Ages, they had fully integrated elements of the Saturnalia Festival into their own version. Christmas during this time had a very carnival-like atmosphere—no different from what you’d see during Mardi Gras.
Looking for trivial pursuit questions? Try this one: Who or what is the “Lord of Misrule”?
For those unfamiliar with the concept, back in the Middle Ages, they would choose a beggar or a student and crown them as such, while celebrants played the role of his or her subject. The Lord of Misrule could then knock on the homes of the rich and demand to be served their best food and drink.
This might sound silly, but if the owners did not comply, the visitor is free to wreak havoc on their homes and terrorize them with mischief. Much like Saturnalia, social hierarchies are disregarded, and Christmas became a time when the upper class could repay their supposed debt to society by entertaining the less fortunate.
Keep this little known fact in mind if you’re listing down trivia questions!
The Legend of Santa Claus
So, where does good old Santa Claus fit into everything? You’d be surprised to know that he isn’t a modern creation and a santa figure has been around since the third century! Back then, he was known as Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle.
Before the red suit and the sack full of toys, there was Saint Nicholas, who is the patron saint of children. He was admired by many for his kindness and piety, having come from a wealthy family, but chose to give all of it away to the less fortunate. There are many legends surrounding the first Santa Claus, all of which highlight his generosity.
Here’s another bit of Bible Christmas trivia: Aside from children, Saint Nicholas is also the patron saint of what? You’d be surprised to know that he is also recognized as a protector of sailors, perhaps due to the amount of travel he had done during his lifetime.
First Appearance in American Pop Culture
Saint Nick first appeared in American pop culture during the end of the 18th century. The name Santa Claus was derived from Nicholas’ Dutch Name, Sinter Klaas, which is a shortened version of Sint Nikolaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas). But, how did he evolve from patron saint to the jolly man in red? We have John Pintard and Washington Irving to credit for that.
John Pintard, a member of the New York Historical Society, is widely believed to have established the Santa imagery we are still familiar with today. He depicted the saint alongside stockings filled with fruit and toys, which hung over a fireplace. Washington Irving did his part by popularizing the Sinter Klaas stories, which helped grow Santa Claus’ popularity. Like the saint he was patterned after, Santa became known as a generous giver.
Trivia Questions for Kids: What Does Santa Look Like in Other Parts of the World?
- Christkind or Kris Kringle – Switzerland and Germany. Their name translates to “Christ Child” and according to the stories, Christkind is an angel who is often joined by St. Nicholas during their holiday mission.
- Jultomten – Scandinavia. Jultomten is an elf who delivers gifts aboard a sleigh drawn by goats.
- Father Christmas – English. The traditional Santa figure who visits every home during Christmas to deliver various treats.
- Père Noël – France. He works similarly to Father Christmas, but fills the shoes of French children with treats instead.
- Babouschka – Russia. Here’s some curious Christmas trivia for kids. Babouschka is said to be an elderly lady who purposely misled the three wise men so they wouldn’t find Bethlehem and Jesus. She later regretted her actions, but could no longer find the men. To atone for it, she is said to visit Russian children every January 5 to deliver gifts.
- La Befana – Italy. She is said to be a kindly witch who rides her broomstick down chimneys to deliver toys to lucky Italian children.
If you’re looking for funny trivia questions about Santa, here’s one you can use: Does Santa have a pilot license? He does. Saint Nick was given a pilot license by William P. MacCracken, the assistant secretary of commerce for aeronautics, back in 1927.
Christmas Trivia for Kids: The Story of Santa’s Reindeer
St. Nicholas of Myra and Sinterklaas traveled via a white steed, so where did Santa’s reindeer come from? While it was Washington Irving who described St. Nicholas as riding aboard a wagon, the first time reindeers were associated with the Santa Claus legend was back in 1821. In the 16-page booklet A New Year’s Present, which was written by an anonymous author, Santa is described as having a reindeer which drives him through “the frosty night”.
It wasn’t until the poem, The Night Before Christmas, also known as A Visit from St. Nicholas, that each of the eight reindeers were given names. As it goes, the original eight reindeer names were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder, and Blixem. Dunder and Blixem, (the Dutch words for thunder and lightning), were later replaced with Donner and Blitzen.
Christmas song trivia: When was Rudolph the Reindeer introduced? The most famous addition to the Santa crew was introduced in the 1949 song, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” It was inspired by the story Rudolph written by Robert L. May.
Easy Trivia Questions: Who is Krampus?
Krampus is often thought of as the antithesis to the Santa Claus legend. Unlike Jolly St. Nicholas, he punishes children who misbehave during Christmastime. He doesn’t dish out your usual spanking, either. Krampus’ ways are far more sinister, befitting his name which is derived from the German word Krampen, meaning claw.
According to legend, he “beats” naughty children with sticks and branches. Some versions of his story say that he either eats them or takes the children to hell! Not exactly the kind of Christmas Eve trivia you’d want to share. No wonder he frightens even some adults!
Another interesting Christmas trivia about Krampus is that his legend managed to survive the Catholic Church’s attempt to keep him from being associated with the holiday!
Christmas Tree Facts
Aside from Santa, Santa’s reindeer, and Krampus, another enduring symbol associated with the holiday is the Christmas tree. How did this tradition come about?
According to history, Germany gets credit for establishing the tradition we practice even today. It was in the 16th century when they first brought trees into their homes and decorated them. Others built tree-shapes out of wood and decorated these with candles and evergreens.
Christmas Tree Facts: The first tree ever displayed in the United States was put up back in the 1830s and was set in place by German settlers in Pennsylvania. Despite this, Americans largely saw the trees as pagan symbols and did not adapt them into their tradition until much later.
Christmas Carol Trivia: Much like the Christmas tree, Christmas carols were also seen as pagan practices. Oliver Cromwell, an influential military and political leader, saw any form of joyful expression during Christmas as a desecration of what was supposed to be a sacred event.
By 1846, however, and with thanks to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (a German), the popularity of the Christmas tree began to take root. Both were loved by their subjects and whatever they did at court immediately became popular in both Britain and the East Coast American Society.
Trivia Questions: What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah commemorates the victory of Judah and the Maccabee, along with his band of faithful yet ill-prepared Jews, against one of the mightiest army during that period: the Greeks. After reclaiming the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, they went to light the Temple’s Menorah, only to find that it only had a day’s worth of oil left.
But, as the story goes, this single cruse of olive oil managed to last eight whole days, until they were able to replenish it with a new one prepared following the conditions of ritual purity.
Hanukkah and Christmas – What is The Difference?
While Hanukkah and Christmas are both gift-giving holidays, which are celebrated in December, their similarities pretty much end there.
One of the major differences between the two lies in how they are celebrated. Hanukkah is celebrated by giving gifts, lighting candles, and eating fried food. Christmas, on the other hand, places emphasis on attending mass, enjoying dinner with family, and opening presents.
During Hanukkah, going to the synagogue does not figure greatly into the occasion. Instead, special blessings are included during services that fall within the days of Hanukkah. There is no special service, similar to a Christmas Eve mass, done during the occasion.
Hanukkah Trivia Questions: Why do Jewish people eat fried food during Hanukkah? This is to celebrate the miracle oil, which kept a menorah lit for eight whole days when it should have only lasted for one.
When is Hanukkah celebrated? Like Christmas, it also falls on the 25th of the month—but that of Kislev, which follows the Lunar calendar. This is why it falls on a different date each year on the secular calendar. Hanukkah 2020 will begin on December 10 and last until December 18.
Christmas Trivia: Christmas Around the World
Curious about how other people spend Christmas? Below are some examples of what the holiday is like in other countries.
The country celebrates Christmas at the beginning of summer holidays. Schoolchildren start their holidays from mid-December to early February. Because it’s usually warm during these months, you might find people camping during the season!
Christmas in July trivia: Australia is among the countries that also celebrate Christmas during July. Others on the list are South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil, United Kingdom, and the U.S.A. Wondering why do countries in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate Christmas in July too? These countries actually celebrate it as an ironic way of spending Christmas during hot summers. Christmas in July is typically celebrated on the 25th and parties usually have the same seasonal traditions such as Santa Claus and exchanging of gifts. The first Christmas in July was celebrated back in 1933.
Unlike countries such as the United States, Christmas is a far smaller celebration in India. For Christians in the country, midnight mass is the most important celebration. The entire family usually goes to mass together, which is then followed by a feast of traditional food and the exchanging of presents.
In Spain, most people begin their celebrations by attending ‘La Misa Del Gallo’ or The Mass of the Rooster. It is called as such because according to their nativity story, a rooster was supposed to have crowed on the eve Jesus was born. Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve, is when children go around the neighborhood to sing Christmas carols in hopes of getting some pocket money!
Ethiopia actually celebrates Christmas on January 7. The celebration in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is called Genna or Ganna. Like other Christian countries, they also attend church on the day itself. There are also those who take part in an Advent fast during the 43 days leading up to Christmas. For Genna, people also dress in white. Some wear a traditional garment called a Netela. Masses on Christmas Eve, also known as the gahad of Christmas, start at 6:00pm and end at 3:00am on Christmas day.
In Vietnam, Christmas Eve is more important than Christmas Day. It isn’t an official public holiday as many believe it to be reserved only for Christians. People celebrate by throwing confetti and eating their favorite snacks. Vietnamese who are Christians also go to midnight mass and their homes might display the nativity scene.
Christmas Eve Trivia: Did you know that Ho Chi Minh, the largest city in the country, bans cars in the city center during Christmas Eve? This is so people can freely walk the streets and enjoy the lights and sights celebrating the occasion!
Christmas Trivia Questions for the Whole Family
Turn Christmas Eve into a fun game night and learn some new things about the holiday along the way. Here are some fun and random trivia questions you can use!
Pop Culture Christmas Trivia:
What department store was the film Miracle on 34th Street based on?
What color of Christmas is Elvis going to have?
- A “Blue Christmas.”
In the first Home Alone movie, where did the McCallisters go on holiday when they left Kevin behind?
According to the film It’s A Wonderful Life, what happened each time a bell rang?
- An angel got his wings.
How do you say “Merry Christmas” in Spanish?
- Feliz Navidad.
Christmas Song Trivia:
In “Frosty the Snowman” what helped Frosty come to life?
- An old silk hat!
In the song “Jingle Bells” what kind of sleigh does Santa ride?
- A one-horse open sleigh!
On the tenth day of Christmas, what does “my true love” give to me?
- Ten lords a-leaping.
Charlie Brown Christmas trivia: What song does Lucy request for Schroeder to play?
- “Jingle Bells.”
What is the best-selling Christmas song of all time?
- “White Christmas.”
Christmas Movie Trivia:
A Christmas Story trivia: What street did Ralphie Parker and his family live in?
- Cleveland Street.
How many of Santa’s reindeers made an appearance in Twas the Night Before Christmas?
- Rudolph was not in the movie.
A Christmas Carol trivia: Who were the ghosts that visited Scrooge?
- Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
What was the name of the train that took kids to the North Pole during Christmas Eve?
- The Polar Express.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas trivia: What was the name of the mountain the Grinch and his dog Max lived on?
- Mount Crumpit.
Who was the main star of the film, White Christmas?
- Bing Crosby.
Nightmare Before Christmas trivia: What was the name of Jack the Pumpkin King’s beloved dog?
Christmas Trivia for Kids:
When the three wise men visited Jesus, what gifts did they give him?
- Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Now you know what to ask for Christmas, too!
In his workshop, who helps Santa get every present ready?
- The elves.
Where does Santa Claus live?
- The North Pole.
What were Frosty the Snowman’s eyes made of?
Christmas Food Trivia:
What is Germany’s traditional fruit cake called?
In France, what is the Bûche de Noël they traditionally eat during Christmas?
- Yule log (cake or chocolate log).
What Christmas food is considered lucky if you eat one for each of the 12 days of Christmas?
- Mince Pies.
What popular Christmas drink is also known as a milk punch?
If you leave milk and cookies for Santa, what will you leave for Santa’s reindeers?
- Carrots and oats.
What fairytale inspired gingerbread houses?
- Hansel and Gretel by The Brothers Grimm.
Did you manage to learn a lot from the different Christmas trivia we’ve collected? Aside from exchanging interesting trivia, there are plenty of other fun Christmas games for adults you can try. Christmas Jeopardy, perhaps? You can also guess Christmas movies or popular Christmas memes!
When it comes to celebrating the holiday, the most important thing is our loved ones. Instead of asking about what is the next holiday, try your best to focus on the present and the blessing of time spent with those closest to you. Not sure what to get for gifts? here’s a list of the best Christmas gift ideas you can get them.