Christmas is a festive season that brings joy and cheer to many people – but how much do you really know about the festivities? Here are 17 popular Christmas quiz questions with answers that will test your knowledge and trivia skills.
Our selection of brain teasers can also be used as a basis for your own festive quiz with family, workmates or friends.
Whether you are looking for some fun facts, interesting history, or curious customs, you will find something to learn and enjoy in this article from the team at Christmas.co.uk.
1. When is Christmas Jumper Day?
Christmas Jumper Day is an annual event that encourages people to don a festive jumper and make a donation to Save the Children, a charity that supports children around the world. The event started in 2012 and has since raised more than £25 million. Christmas Jumper Day usually takes place on a Friday in mid-December, but you can choose any day you like to join in. Last year participants helped to raise £5 million for children with more than 2 million school children and 24,000 workplaces taking part. In 2023, Christmas Jumper Day will be on Thursday 7 December (but you can do it on any other day if this one doesn’t suit!).
2. Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
A question that will elicit a response from every film lover – is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Die Hard is a 1988 action film starring Bruce Willis as John McClane, a New York cop who has to stop a group of terrorists from taking over a skyscraper in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve. The film is widely regarded as one of the best action movies of all time, but its status as a Christmas movie is a matter of debate. Some argue that Die Hard is a Christmas movie because it is set during the festivities and features Christmas music and references – and has a theme of family reunion. Others contend that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie because it does not focus on the spirit of Christmas, but rather on violence and explosions. Ultimately, the answer depends on your personal preference and definition of what makes a Christmas movie (We say ‘Yes!’ Die Hard is a Christmas movie!).
Make your own mind up with this classic Die Hard trailer – enjoy!
3. When are the 12 Days of Christmas?
The 12 Days of Christmas are the days between Christmas Day and Epiphany, which is celebrated on January 6. Epiphany is a Christian feast day that commemorates the visit of the Magi, or the three wise men, to the baby Jesus. The 12 Days of Christmas are also known as Christmastide or Twelvetide and are a time of celebration and festivity. Some traditions include giving gifts, singing carols, eating special foods and lighting candles. The 12 days of Christmas are also the basis of a popular song of the same name, which lists a series of increasingly extravagant gifts given by a lover.
Here’s the 12 Days of Christmas song – with lyrics so you can sing along!
4. When should people take down the Christmas tree?
There is no definitive answer to when to take down your Christmas tree (just as there is no set date for putting your Christmas tree up), as different cultures and traditions may have different customs and preferences. However, some common dates are:
January 5: This is the last day of the 12 days of Christmas and is also known as Twelfth Night. Some people believe that it is bad luck to leave your Christmas tree up after this date, as it may invite evil spirits into your home.
- January 6: This is the day of Epiphany and is also known as Three Kings Day or the Feast of the Nativity. Some people take down their Christmas tree on this date to mark the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of a new year.
- February 2: This is the day of Candlemas and is also known as the Presentation of the Lord or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the day when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the temple, 40 days after his birth. Some people keep their Christmas tree up until this date, as it is the last day of the Christmas and Epiphany cycle.
5. What is Boxing Day?
Boxing Day is a public holiday that falls on December 26, the day following Christmas Day. The origin of the name is unclear, but some possible explanations are:
- It refers to the practice of giving boxes of money or gifts to servants, tradespeople, and the poor on the day after Christmas, as a token of appreciation or charity
- Or it could be the custom of opening the alms boxes in churches on the day after Christmas, and distributing the donations to the needy.
Some people also believe the term refers to the sport of boxing which was popular among the upper classes in Britain in the 19th century, with bouts often staged on that day.
Boxing Day is celebrated in many countries that were once part of the British Empire, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. For many people, this is a day of shopping, sporting events, family gatherings and relaxation.
6. What is the origin of mistletoe?
Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on the branches of other trees. With evergreen leaves and white berries, it is often used as a Christmas decoration. The tradition of having a kiss underneath the mistletoe dates to ancient times when mistletoe was considered a sacred plant with magical powers. Some possible explanations for the origin of this custom are:
- In Norse mythology, mistletoe was the weapon that killed the god Balder, the son of Odin and Frigg. Frigg cried tears of white berries, which brought Balder back to life. She then declared that mistletoe would be a symbol of love and peace, and that anyone who stood under it would receive a kiss.
- In Celtic culture, mistletoe was believed to have healing properties and to protect against evil spirits. Druids would gather mistletoe from oak trees on the winter solstice and give it as a blessing to their followers. People would hang mistletoe in their homes to ward off evil and to promote fertility.
- In Christian tradition, mistletoe was seen as a symbol of the incarnation of Christ, who came to earth as a gift of love from God. Some also associated mistletoe with the cross, as it was said to have once been a tree that was cursed to become a parasite after providing the wood for the crucifixion. Kissing under the mistletoe was a way of remembering the sacrifice and love of Christ.
Here’s more from AJ+ – The Origins Of Mistletoe – An Animated Explainer:
7. What is the meaning of the word ‘Christmas’?
The word ‘Christmas’ comes from the Old English term ‘Cristes maesse’, which means ‘Christ’s mass’ or ‘the mass of Christ’. It is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and the word ‘mass’ refers to the liturgical service that commemorates the death and resurrection of Christ, and is also known as the Eucharist, the Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper. The word ‘Christmas’ first appeared in written records in the 11th century, but the festival itself may have originated earlier.
8. What is the difference between Christmas pudding and a mince pie?
While both are popular treats in the UK, not everyone knows – or appreciates – the difference between a mince pie and a Christmas pudding. A mince pie is a small pastry filled with dried fruits and spices. It is usually eaten as a dessert or a snack during the Christmas season. The origin of the mince pie dates to the 13th century when European crusaders brought back recipes and ingredients from the Middle East. The mince pie was originally a large oval pie that contained meat, fruits and spices, and was eaten as a main course. Over time, the pie became smaller, sweeter, and more circular, and the meat was gradually replaced by more fruits. Christmas pudding is a traditional dessert that is served on Christmas Day in Britain and some other countries. It is a rich, moist cake made with dried fruits, candied peel, spices, suet and some people will add alcohol. It is usually steamed for several hours and then set on fire with brandy before serving. There are lots recipes for Christmas pudding, some of which are more modern and lighter than the classic version.
9. What is the origin of the Christmas tree?
The Christmas tradition of having a tree is an ancient one that probably originated in pagan rites to celebrate winter. The modern trend started in Germany, and then spread throughout the Christian world in the 18th and 19th centuries. The first recorded Christmas tree in Britain was in 1800 when Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III, set up a decorated yew tree at Windsor Castle. The popularity of the Christmas tree increased when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who was German, adopted the custom and displayed a tree at Buckingham Palace in 18482. Since then, the Christmas tree has become a symbol of the festive season in the UK and around the world.
10. What is the name of the cake traditionally eaten in the UK at Christmas?
The name of the cake traditionally eaten in the UK at Christmas is Christmas cake, which is a rich fruit cake covered with marzipan and royal icing. The cake is usually decorated with festive symbols such as holly, snowmen or Santa Claus. The cake is often made weeks or months in advance and fed with brandy or other alcohol to preserve it and enhance its flavour. Some people make their cake on ‘Stir up Sunday’.
11. What is the most popular Christmas song in the UK?
The most popular Christmas song in the UK is Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, which was released in 1987. The song is a duet between a couple who have fallen out of love and argue on Christmas Eve. The song has been voted the best Christmas song of all time by various polls and surveys and has reached the top 20 of the UK singles chart every year since 2005. The most popular choice of Christmas song in the UK is backed up by the Performing Rights Society (PRS). If your answer to the question is Slade then this is the festive song that earns the most money, according to the Independent. The PRS keeps the actual figure for royalties a closely guarded secret…
Now enjoy The Pogues (featuring Kirsty MacColl) – Fairytale Of New York (Official Video)
13. What is the name of the red-flowered plant that is often used as a Christmas decoration?
The name of the red-flowered plant that is often used as a Christmas decoration is poinsettia, which is native to Mexico and Central America. The plant is named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US ambassador to Mexico, who introduced it to the US in 1825. The plant is also known as the Christmas Star or the Christmas Flower, and its red bracts (modified leaves) are often mistaken for petals. It is the number one houseplant over Christmas in the UK – and we buy more than 8 million of them every year!
14. What is the name of the ghostly figure that visits Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol?
The name of the ghostly figure that visits Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is Jacob Marley, who is Scrooge’s former friend and business partner. Marley died seven years before the story begins and he warns Scrooge that he faces a similar fate unless he is able to change his ways and show compassion to other people. He is the Ghost of Christmas Present and one of three spirits that appear to Scrooge on Christmas Eve to help him change his ways and become a better person. Described as a jolly, larger-than-life figure, he is dressed in green robes and has a booming voice. He represents generosity and goodwill and shows Scrooge scenes of people sharing what they have with each other, even if they have very little.
Learn more from ‘Easy as GCSE’ and its great video: The Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.
15. What is the reindeer’s name that has a red nose and helps Santa with his sleigh?
The name of the reindeer that has a red nose and helps Santa with his sleigh on a foggy night is Rudolph, who is the most famous of Santa’s nine reindeer. According to a popular Christmas song, ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’, Rudolph’s nose is so bright that it ‘shines like a light bulb’ and ‘all of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names’. However, when Santa Claus saw Rudolph’s glowing nose, he realised that it could be used to guide his sleigh through foggy weather, and he asked Rudolph to lead the way. Rudolph happily agreed, and he has been a popular Christmas character ever since. Rudolph was created by Robert L May in 1939 as a character for a promotional booklet for a department store. The story of Rudolph was later adapted into a song by Johnny Marks in 1949, and a stop-motion animation film by Rankin/Bass in 1964.
16. What is the popular ballet often performed at Christmas and features a nutcracker, a mouse king, and a sugar plum fairy?
The ballet is The Nutcracker and it’s a two-act ballet that was first performed in 1892 in St Petersburg, Russia. The music for the ballet was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and the story is based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The ballet is often performed at Christmas and is now a festive tradition in many parts of the world. The story follows a young girl named Clara, who receives a nutcracker as a Christmas gift and goes on a magical adventure with him. Along the way, she encounters a mouse king, a sugar plum fairy, and other enchanting characters. The ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ is one of the most famous pieces of music from the ballet.
Here’s Lauren Cuthbertson of the Royal Ballet performing the famous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy at the Opera House. Set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, it really is an impressive piece of music and choreography.
17. What is the cake that is traditionally eaten in Italy at Christmas?
The name of the cake that is traditionally eaten in Italy at Christmas and is shaped like a dome is panettone, which is a sweet bread with raisins, candied fruits, and sometimes chocolate or nuts. The cake is usually served with mascarpone cheese, cream or custard. The origin of the cake is unclear, but one legend says that it was invented by a baker named Toni, who added butter, eggs, and sugar to his bread dough to impress his beloved. The cake was then named after him, meaning ‘bread of Toni’ or ‘pan di Toni’.
Christmas quiz questions with answers
That rounds up our list of popular Christmas quiz questions with answers for you and your family and friends to enjoy. Or you just simply wanted a quick answer to a question that was bugging you! Whatever your reason, we hope you enjoy your Christmas.