As we near the holiday season, we’re reminded of the traditions that bring us joy and comfort: hanging ornaments from the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, and having intimate conversations with our loved ones. But what would the holidays be without last-minute activities like gift shopping, wrapping, and party planning? Especially now as we continue to work from home, you might find yourself searching for a way to celebrate the holiday spirit with your colleagues and workmates in a way that doesn’t require too much work. Look no further, as we share 10 holiday trivia questions that’ll be sure to inspire curiosity and fun for your team’s virtual Christmas party:
- What country does the Christmas tree originate from?
German Christians first began bringing decorated trees into their houses at the start of the 16th century. A popular belief says that Martin Luther was the first person to ever decorate a tree by hanging a lit candle from its branches.
2. Which Christmas song was actually written to be sung on Thanksgiving?
a. Little Drummer Boy
b. Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
c. Jingle Bells
Although “Jingle Bells” is a classic carol sung each year around Christmas time, it was originally written by James Lord Pierpont in 1857 for his church’s Thanksgiving service. It was originally called “One Horse Open Sleigh” and was considered too mischievous to be sung at his church with some lines enticing not-so holy acts, like “Go it while you’re young, take the girls tonight.” (Source)
3. What year did Santa Claus begin to appear in shopping centers for young children to meet?
In 1773, newspapers in the US began to observe that Dutch families gathered to celebrate the anniversary of St. Nicholas’ death, which led to the revival of Christmas in the United States. By the 1820’s shopping centers began to advertise for Christmas shoppers, which naturally led to St. Nicholas’ appearance in a Philadelphia shopping center in 1841, gathering thousands of children. (Source)
4. How many “arms” do all snowflakes have?
Snow begins to form when a water drop freezes onto a particle of dust into the sky. As the frozen water drop falls through the sky, it begins to run into water vapor at which point the water molecules in the vapor fill in predefined positions on the water droplet, forming the six arms of the snowflake.
The snowflake has six arms as a result of the internal geometry of the water molecule, where the angle between each hydrogen and oxygen atom in H2O forms a 120 degree angle. When these polar molecules bond with other H2O molecules, they form a hexagon, which has an internal angle of 120 degrees!
5. Which of the following is not one of Santa’s reindeers’ names?
“Twas the night before Christmas,” written in 1823, first introduced the modern-day Santa Claus and his 8 reindeer. A full century later, the most well-known reindeer, Rudolph, was added as the ninth in the group by Robert May in a 1939 children’s book.
6. Which country constructs a 40-foot tall statue of a “Yule Goat” before Christmas each year?
This massive Yule Goat is built in Gävle, Sweden each year to honor its ancient pagan traditions. The goat itself is 40 feet tall, 23 feet wide, weighs 3.6 tons, and takes 1,000 man hours to create. On many occasions in the past, the goat has fallen victim to being destroyed by a cruising car and arson, such that it’s become as much of an unlawful tradition to destroy the Yule Goat as it is to construct the goat. (Source)
7. In Japan, nearly 3.6 million families visit which fast food chain each year around Christmas time?
Only 1% of Japanese families are Christian and Christmas isn’t considered a national holiday in Japan, which means that many households in Japan don’t have the time or reason to make traditional holiday hams or turkeys. As a result of clever marketing, KFC filled the void of Christmas tradition with their own, calling it “Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii” or “Kentucky for Christmas” (Source)
8. Which of the following countries did the tradition of making gingerbread houses most likely originate from?
b. United Kingdom
The first gingerbread houses originated from Germany with the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale “Hansel and Grethel” in 1812. Although the story doesn’t particularly pertain to Christmas, German bakers became inspired by the tale and began crafting houses of lebkuchen, a type of spiced honey biscuit (Source)
9. According to the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” what gift was given on the seventh day?
a. Calling birds
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” first appeared in a 1780 children’s book called “Mirth With-out Mischief.” From there on out, most historians agree that the song was designed to be a “memory and forfeits” game, where singers would test their memory of the lyrics and forfeit a small favor if they forgot any of the words. Fun fact: the first edition of the book “Mirth With-out Mischief” sold for $23,750 at an Sotheby’s auction in 2014 (Source)
10. How many ghosts appear to Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol?
Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by 4 different ghosts in Dickens’ classic Christmas tale. He’s first visited by his recently deceased business partner Jacob Marley, then by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.
Fun Fact: Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” as a commentary on the state of industrialized Britain. Dickens wrote with a journalist friend who described the testimonials of young boys and girls that worked grueling 16-hour shifts, 6 days a week on a factory floor, which was considered normal at the time. “A Christmas Carol” took the perspective of a sad and lonely business owner to showcase the ugly reality of the industrial revolution. (Source)