Fasab’s Fascinating Festive Facts

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi, and welcome to fasab’s fascinating festive facts.

Everything on my blog this week is in Christmas mode including these tidbits of information that you may be able to work into the conversation if you are at a party or two this week.

Enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas.

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festive facts

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The traditional three colors of Christmas

are green, red, and gold.

Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth;

red symbolizes the blood of Christ,

and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.

traditional three colors of Christmas

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The first printed reference to a

Christmas tree was in 1531 in Germany.

Christmas_Tree

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Apparently seven out of ten British dogs

get Christmas gifts from their doting owners.

dogs get Christmas gifts

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A lot of people don’t like it,

but the abbreviation of ‘Xmas’ for

Christmas is not irreligious.

The first letter of the word Christ in Greek is chi,

which is identical to our X.

Xmas was originally an ecclesiastical abbreviation

that was used in tables and charts.

Xmas for Christmas

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Electric Christmas lights

were first used in 1854.

edison-ad-christmas-lights1

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Some people who were born on December 25

feel hard done by because they have to

make do with one present instead of two

and share their big day celebrations with everybody else.

Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island,

recognized the problem. When he died on December 4, 1894,

he willed his November 13 birthday to a friend

who disliked her own Christmas birthday

Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island

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Franklin Pierce was the first president to

decorate an official White House Christmas tree.

white-house-christmas-tree

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Silent Night was written in 1818,

by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr.

He was told the day before Christmas

that the church organ was broken

and would not be repaired in time for Christmas Eve.

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Artificial Christmas trees

have outsold real ones since 1991.

Artificial Christmas tree

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In the British armed forces it is traditional

that officers wait on the other ranks

and serve them their Christmas dinner.

This dates back to a custom from the Middle Ages.

British armed forces Christmas dinner

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Long before mistletoe became a saucy ‘kiss encourager’,

it was considered to have magic powers.

It was said to have the ability to heal

wounds and increase fertility.

Celts hung mistletoe in their homes

in order to bring themselves good luck

and ward off evil spirits.

mistletoe

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Each year there are approximately 20,000

“rent-a-Santas” across the United States.

“Rent-a-Santas” usually undergo seasonal training

on how to maintain a jolly attitude

under pressure from the public.

They also receive practical advice,

such as not accepting money from parents

while children are looking and

avoiding garlic, onions, or beans for lunch.

rent-a-Santa

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In Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea,

your age is measured not in years

but in how many Christmases you’ve lived through;

you’re not 20, you’re twenti krismas.

Rather less charmingly,

the Japanese expression to describe

single women over 25 years old is

kurisumasu keiki – left-over Christmas cake.

Port_Moresby__Papua_New_Guinea

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Most of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names,

such as Blitzen, Comet, and Cupid.

However, male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas,

so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh

are likely not male, but female –  or castrati.  

(I wonder if that is the origin of hanging balls

on a Christmas tree comes from?)

Santa’s reindeer

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The popular Christmas song “Jingle Bells”

was actually written for Thanksgiving.

The song was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont,

and was originally called “One Horse Open Sleigh”.

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A Festive Bumper Edition Of Our Monday Quiz!

 “Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes folks, this being Christmas week we have a bumper Christmassy edition of the quiz.

All the questions have a Christmas theme and there are plenty of them this week, so this quiz should keep you going over the holidays.

As usual, if you get stuck, you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but NO cheating please!

Merry Christmas and enjoy.

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Christmas Quiz

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Q.  1:  If you were born on Christmas day, what would be your Zodiac sign?

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Q.  2:  In which century was Christmas first celebrated?

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Q.  3:  What significance is holly in celebrating Christmas?

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Q.  4:  In the familiar song ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, what is the gift on the fourth day?

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Q.  5:  In the 1998 movie what actor whilst out Christmas shopping suddenly finds himself an “Enemy of the State”?

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Q.  6:  Who discovered Christmas Island in 1777?

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Q.  7:  Who wrote the song “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”?

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Q.  8:  Plus or minus one year, how long does it take a Scotch Pine Christmas tree to reach a typical retail height of 6 to 7 feet?

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Q.  9:  One of the most popular floral gifts at Christmas is the Poinsetta, but what country did Poinsettias originally come from?

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Q. 10:  At the end of the war in Vietnam, when Saigon fell, the signal for all Americans to evacuate was what song by Bing Crosby being played on the radio?

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Q. 11:  What was Scrooge’s business partner called?

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Q. 12:  When exactly is ‘The Twelfth Night’?

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Q. 13:  Why was Boxing Day so named?

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Q. 14:  Who composed the music for the festive season ballet ‘The Nutcracker’?

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Q. 15:  Which Italian cake, popular at Christmas, belongs to Tony?

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Q. 16:  What job was first taken by James Edgar in 1890?

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Q. 17:  In which celebrated movie does James Stewart attempt suicide one Christmas?

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Q. 18:  The Bible doesn’t say when Jesus was born. Pope Julius I made this decision in which year? 

            a) 50 AD      b) 350 AD      c) 750 AD      d) 1250 AD

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Q. 19:  Mr and Mrs Hilton had a little boy who was born on Christmas Day 1887, and went on to found of one of the world’s largest Hotel chains, but what was his first name?

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Q. 20:  The names of which two reindeer mean ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightning’?

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Q.  21:  What is the name of the fruit sauce which is a traditional accompaniment to the Christmas Turkey?

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Q.  22:  The American ad writer Robert L. May invented which colorful Christmas character in 1939?

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Q.  23:  The German Christmas song ‘Tannebaum’ is translated into English as what?

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Q.  24:  What does the word ‘Bethlehem’ mean?

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Q.  25:  Before Pope Julius I decided that December 25th was the day Jesus was born, on which day did early Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus?  

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Q.  26:  Coca Cola made our modern Father Christmas for an advertising campaign, but prior to that, what color robes did he wear?

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Q.  27:  Which ‘Christmas’ word means ‘turning of the sun’?

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Q.  28:  Complete the title of each of the following Christmas movies.

            a) Holiday… b) We’re No… c) The Bells of… d) It’s A Wonderful…

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Q.  29:  What was the name of Scrooge’s clerk in a Christmas Carol?

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Q. 30:  Advent candles are a popular Christmas tradition in many cultures. What does the word advent mean?

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Q. 31:  Which nickname for Hollywood sounds Christmassy?

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Q. 32:  Which pudding with a misleading name was banned by English Puritans because it was deemed to be ‘sinfully rich’?

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Q. 33:  The Greek word for ‘Messiah’ was ‘Xristos’(Christ). What do all of these words mean translated?

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Q. 34:  In the movie ‘Die Hard 2’, which airport did the terrorist take over on Christmas Eve?

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Q. 35:  Many people claim that the first unofficial football (soccer) international between Germany and a Scotland-England side was played on a Christmas Day. The pitch or playing field was found between what?

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Q. 36:  In which country does an ugly old witch named ‘Bafana’ deliver presents on the 6th of December?

           a) Australia      b) Austria      c) Italy       d) Mexico

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Q. 37:  There are two ‘Christmas islands’, in which oceans are they located?

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Q. 38:  In which city is Kevin left ‘Home Alone’ at Christmas? (the first Home Alone)

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Q. 39:  “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephan”.  What is the name of the country where Wenceslas was king? (Will accept either the ‘old’ or ‘modern’ name of the country.)

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Q. 40:  Which Christmas tradition, said to have originated in Germany, was banned in the Soviet Union until 1935?

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Q.  41:  In which country is St. Nick called ‘Sinterklaas’?

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Q.  42:  Which Christmas gift of the very highest quality, also known as ‘Oil of Lebanon’, comes from Oman?

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Q.  43:  Why was December 25th chosen as Christmas Day?

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Q.  44:  Who said, “You’ll want all day tomorrow, I suppose “?

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Q.  45:  Which popular poem did Clement Clark Moore write for his six children in 1822?

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Q.  46:  The following all mean ‘Merry Christmas’ in which language? (A point for each!)

             a) Hyvaa joulua    b) sung tan chuk ha    c) froehliche weihnacten   

             d) mele kalikimaka    e) god jul    f) boas festas    g) kala christouyenna

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Q.  47:  Superstition dictates that when making mince pies for Christmas one should always stir in which direction?

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Q.  48:  Which Christmas tradition did the very busy Sir Henry Cole introduce in 1843?

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Q.  49:  The Christmas movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ has been remade many times. Who won a best supporting actor Oscar for the role of Kris Kringle in the original 1947 movie and which two time Oscar winner played Kris in the 1994 remake?

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Q. 50:  Which song begins with “Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall”?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  If you were born on Christmas day, what would be your Zodiac sign?

A.  1:  Capricorn.

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Q.  2:  In which century was Christmas first celebrated?

A.  2:  In the 4th century.

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Q.  3:  What significance is holly in celebrating Christmas?

A.  3:  The early church banned mistletoe, so holly was substituted.

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Q.  4:  In the familiar song ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, what is the gift on the fourth day?

A.  4:  4 Calling Birds.

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Q.  5:  In the 1998 movie what actor whilst out Christmas shopping suddenly finds himself an “Enemy of the State”?

A.  5:  Will Smith

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Q.  6:  Who discovered Christmas Island in 1777?

A.  6:  Captain Cook.

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Q.  7:  Who wrote the song “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”?

A.  7:  Irving Berlin.

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Q.  8:  Plus or minus one year, how long does it take a Scotch Pine Christmas tree to reach a typical retail height of 6 to 7 feet?

A.  8:  7 years.

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Q.  9:  One of the most popular floral gifts at Christmas is the Poinsetta, but what country did Poinsettias originally come from?

A.  9:  Mexico.

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Q. 10:  At the end of the war in Vietnam, when Saigon fell, the signal for all Americans to evacuate was what song by Bing Crosby being played on the radio?

A. 10:  White Christmas.

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Q. 11:  What was Scrooge’s business partner called?

A. 11:  Jacob Marley.

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Q. 12:  When exactly is ‘The Twelfth Night’?

A. 12:  The evening of the 5th of January.

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Q. 13:  Why was Boxing Day so named?

A. 13:  After the custom of giving Christmas Boxes/Tips to workmen/tradesmen.

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Q. 14:  Who composed the music for the festive season ballet ‘The Nutcracker’?

A. 14:  Tchaikovsky.

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Q. 15:  Which Italian cake, popular at Christmas, belongs to Tony?

A. 15:  Panettone. (Anthony or Tone’s bread).

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Q. 16:  What job was first taken by James Edgar in 1890?

A. 16:  He was the first department store Santa.

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Q. 17:  In which celebrated movie does James Stewart attempt suicide one Christmas?

A. 17:  It’s A Wonderful Life.

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Q. 18:  The Bible doesn’t say when Jesus was born. Pope Julius I made this decision in which year? 

            a) 50 AD      b) 350 AD      c) 750 AD      d) 1250 AD

A. 18:  Answer b) 350 AD.

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Q. 19:  Mr and Mrs Hilton had a little boy who was born on Christmas Day 1887, and went on to found of one of the world’s largest Hotel chains, but what was his first name?

A. 19:  Conrad.

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Q. 20:  The names of which two reindeer mean ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightning’?

A. 20:  Donner and Blitzen.

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Q.  21:  What is the name of the fruit sauce which is a traditional accompaniment to the Christmas Turkey?

A.  21:  Cranberry.

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Q.  22:  The American ad writer Robert L. May invented which colorful Christmas character in 1939?

A.  22:  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

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Q.  23:  The German Christmas song ‘Tannebaum’ is translated into English as what?

A.  23:  Christmas Tree.

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Q.  24:  What does the word ‘Bethlehem’ mean?

A.  24:   House of meat (Arabic) or House of bread (Hebraic)

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Q.  25:  Before Pope Julius I decided that December 25th was the day Jesus was born, on which day did early Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus?  

A.  25:  The 6th of January or feast of the epiphany. (Greek for appearance or revelation).

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Q.  26:  Coca Cola made our modern Father Christmas for an advertising campaign, but prior to that, what color robes did he wear?

A.  26:  Green. (As a sign of the returning Spring.)

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Q.  27:  Which ‘Christmas’ word means ‘turning of the sun’?

A.  27:  Yuletide (Yule means wheel in old Norse language).

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Q.  28:  Complete the title of each of the following Christmas movies.

            a) Holiday… b) We’re No… c) The Bells of… d) It’s A Wonderful…

A.  28:  a) …Inn        b) …Angels     c) …St. Marys     d) …Life

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Q.  29:  What was the name of Scrooge’s clerk in a Christmas Carol?

A.  29:  Bob Cratchit.

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Q. 30:  Advent candles are a popular Christmas tradition in many cultures. What does the word advent mean?

A. 30:  Arrival.

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Q. 31:  Which nickname for Hollywood sounds Christmassy?

A. 31:  Tinseltown.

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Q. 32:  Which pudding with a misleading name was banned by English Puritans because it was deemed to be ‘sinfully rich’?

A. 32:  Plum pudding. (Incidentally, there are no plums in plum pudding, just sugar, raisons, suet, flour and various spices boiled in a bag till ‘plum’)

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Q. 33:  The Greek word for ‘Messiah’ was ‘Xristos’(Christ). What do all of these words mean translated?

A. 33:  The ‘annointed’ one.

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Q. 34:  In the movie ‘Die Hard 2’, which airport did the terrorist take over on Christmas Eve?

A. 34:  Dulles International Airport (Washington DC).

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Q. 35:  Many people claim that the first unofficial football (soccer) international between Germany and a Scotland-England side was played on a Christmas Day. The pitch or playing field was found between what?

A. 35:  Between the trenches in no mans land, Christmas 1914.  (No match report is available but it seems the Germans won 3-2.)

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Q. 36:  In which country does an ugly old witch named ‘Bafana’ deliver presents on the 6th of December?

           a) Australia      b) Austria      c) Italy       d) Mexico

A. 36:  Answer c) Italy. 

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Q. 37:  There are two ‘Christmas islands’, in which oceans are they located?

A. 37:  The Pacific and Indian oceans.

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Q. 38:  In which city is Kevin left ‘Home Alone’ at Christmas? (the first Home Alone)

A. 38:  Chicago.

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Q. 39:  “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephan”.  What is the name of the country where Wenceslas was king? (Will accept either the ‘old’ or ‘modern’ name of the country.)

A. 39:  Bohemia, now known as the Czech Republic.

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Q. 40:  Which Christmas tradition, said to have originated in Germany, was banned in the Soviet Union until 1935?

A. 40:  Christmas trees.

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Q.  41:  In which country is St. Nick called ‘Sinterklaas’?

A.  41:  Holland.

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Q.  42:  Which Christmas gift of the very highest quality, also known as ‘Oil of Lebanon’, comes from Oman?

A.  42:  Frankincense.

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Q.  43:  Why was December 25th chosen as Christmas Day?

A.  43:  To compete with a pagan celebration.

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Q.  44:  Who said, “You’ll want all day tomorrow, I suppose “?

A.  44:  Scrooge to Bob Cratchit in Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’.

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Q.  45:  Which popular poem did Clement Clark Moore write for his six children in 1822?

A.  45:  A visit from St. Nicholas (The night before Christmas) “It twas the night before Christmas when all through the house……”

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Q.  46:  The following all mean ‘Merry Christmas’ in which language? (A point for each!)

             a) Hyvaa joulua    b) sung tan chuk ha    c) froehliche weihnacten   

             d) mele kalikimaka    e) god jul    f) boas festas    g) kala christouyenna

A.  46:  Answers   a) Finnish    b) Korean    c) German    d) Hawaiian    e) Norwegian

             f) Portugese    and,    g) Greek

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Q.  47:  Superstition dictates that when making mince pies for Christmas one should always stir in which direction?

A.  47:  In a clockwise direction.

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Q.  48:  Which Christmas tradition did the very busy Sir Henry Cole introduce in 1843?

A.  48:  The sending of Christmas wishes on mass produced Christmas cards.  The first cards depicted a family toasting an absent friend with the words “Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you”.

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Q.  49:  The Christmas movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ has been remade many times. Who won a best supporting actor Oscar for the role of Kris Kringle in the original 1947 movie and which two time Oscar winner played Kris in the 1994 remake?

A.  49:  Edmund Gwenn and Richard Attenborough.

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Q. 50:  Which song begins with “Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall”?

A. 50:  Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody.

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