Once again, in the spirit of peace on Earth to men and women of good will, Spin Control avoids political commentary so close to Christmas. This year our holiday wish is that if lions can lie down with the lambs, Senate Republicans can peacefully break bread with Senate Democrats, NRA members can share a cup of cheer with gun control advocates and birthers will wake up Tuesday morning to find a brand-new conspiracy in their stockings.
Instead, we offer our annual 12 Trivias of Christmas Quiz. Put your hand over the answers at the end, to avoid the quiz equivalent of stuffing the ballot box.
1. In the song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” how many days have gifts involving people?
2. In “It’s a Wonderful Life,” what book is Clarence the angel reading?
(A) “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”
(B) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
(C) Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”
(D) “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”
(E) “The Red Badge of Courage”
3. Who was the first president to celebrate Christmas in the White House?
(A) George Washington
(B) John Adams
(C) Thomas Jefferson
(D) James Monroe
4. When Kevin McCallister is left “Home Alone,” where does his family go?
(D) New York
5. How much does Lucy charge for psychiatric advice in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”?
(A) A penny
(B) A nickel
(C) A dime
(D) She doesn’t charge; she gives her advice for free.
6. Who narrates the television version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”?
(A) Dr. Seuss
(B) Boris Karloff
(C) Bill Cosby
(D) Bing Crosby
7. The story of Jesus’ birth is described in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Which of the following accurately represents those accounts?
(A) Both feature shepherds and the magi.
(B) Both have shepherds but only Matthew has the magi.
(C) Both have shepherds but only Luke has the magi.
(D) The magi are in Matthew, and the shepherds are in Luke.
8. What do the children drink on the way to the North Pole on the “Polar Express”?
(A) Warm milk
(B) Hot chocolate
(D) Holiday punch
9. “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas” was rewritten this year to be more politically correct by a Canadian author who changed what?
(A) Santa is not described as an “elf” to avoid offending little people.
(B) Santa comes through the door to avoid references to carbon-burning fuel in the fireplace.
(C) Santa is described as so trim and fit he can slide down the chimney without getting ashes and soot.
(D) Santa isn’t smoking a pipe.
10. Ebenezer Scrooge’s favorite line in “A Christmas Carol” is “Bah. Humbug.” What is a humbug?
(A) It’s a small, pesky insect that plagued Londoners in the 1800s.
(B) It’s a stupid person.
(C) It’s a 19th-century oath.
(D) It’s a trick or hoax.
11. Kissing under the mistletoe is a custom that is traced back to
(A) Ancient Greeks
(B) Ancient Romans
(C) Ancient Celts
(D) Ancient Norse
12. When Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas 1776 to surprise the British at Trenton, what future president was wounded in the battle?
(A) Thomas Jefferson
(B) James Madison
(C) James Monroe
(D) Andrew Jackson
1. (D) Days 8 through 12 involve people: maids a-milking, ladies dancing, drummers drumming, pipers piping and lords a-leaping.
2. (A) Clarence is reading “Tom Sawyer,” and he leaves the book under the tree for George Bailey.
3. (B) John and Abigail Adams moved into the White House in 1800, shortly before it was finished. It wasn’t called the White House at the time, though.
4. (C) They went to France but came back by Christmas.
5. (B) Lucy always charges 5 cents for her sessions.
6. (B) Boris Karloff does the narration in the 1967 “Grinch.”
7. (D) It’s almost like they are describing two different events. Luke has angels and shepherds; Matthew has wise men from the East.
8. (B) “Hot cocoa as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars.”
9. (D) No stumpy pipe for Santa, no head-encircling smoke in Pamela McColl’s rewrite.
10. (D) It’s a trick or hoax, or someone who is trying to play a trick.
11. (D) The kissing under the mistletoe is traced back to Norse mythology.
12. (C) Monroe was wounded in the shoulder in the battle of Trenton on Christmas Day, 1776. In the famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, Monroe is depicted as the soldier standing behind Washington, holding the flag. It’s unlikely either of them was actually standing up in the boat.
• 0-3 correct: Early Grinch, before heart grows three sizes.
• 4-7 correct: Ebenezer Scrooge after visit from the ghost of Christmas past.
• 8-11 correct: Linus, explaining the true meaning of Christmas.
• 12 correct: You should get to put the star on the top of the tree.