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Spin Control

Another Ghost of Christmas Trivia Past: Quiz from 2014

It's time once again for Spin Control's 12 Trivias of Christmas, our annual quiz that keeps politics from intruding on the holiday season.In the spirit of peace on Earth to men and women of good will, Spin Control avoids political commentary so close to Christmas. Our holiday wish is that if the lions can lie down with the lambs and Elizabeth Warren and Ted Cruz can find a reason to vote no on a $1 trillion spending bill, the rest of us can find common ground and share a bit of holiday fun.Besides, there's hardly ever any local or state political news worth writing about during Christmas week.

So here we go with the quiz, which this year are a mixture of pop culture and politics and extends all the way to New Year’s. Answers are inside the blog.If you peek, you probably have been monitoring your spouse’s online shopping orders on Amazon. Shame.

1. The tradition of having poinsettias at Christmas was brought to the United States by the U.S. ambassador to what country?
A. Italy
B. Spain
C. Mexico
D. Brazil

2. What song is featured at the end of the movie classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the television classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas”?
A. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
B. Silent Night
C. White Christmas
D. O Tannenbaum

3. In “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” what’s the name of the Jack-in-the-Box on the Island of Misfit Toys?
A. Eddie
B. Charlie
C. Freddie
D. Jack

4. What president lighted the first “national Christmas tree” outside the White House?
A. Franklin Pierce
B. Teddy Roosevelt
C. Woodrow Wilson
D. Calvin Coolidge

5. What president authorized the first official White House Christmas ornament, making copies available for the public to buy?
A. Warren Harding
C. Harry Truman
D. Ronald Reagan

6. What political leader resigned on Christmas Day? 
A. King Edward VIII of England
B. Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union
C. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt
D. President Richard Nixon

7. What was the football-themed name of the Vietnam War bombing campaign that halted for Christmas in 1972?
A. Linebacker
B. Right Tackle
C. Cornerback
D. Safety Blitz

8. Which famous document was signed on Jan. 1?
A. Magna Carta
B. The Bill of Rights
C. Emancipation Proclamation
D. Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

9. Who decreed that a new year begins on Jan. 1?
A. Julius Caesar
B. Augustus Caesar
C. Pope Gregory XIII
D. William the Conqueror

10. Two days after Christmas in 1944, FDR ordered troops to seize control of what department store?
A. Sears Roebuck
B. Macy’s
C. Gimbel’s
D. Montgomery Wards

11. The Soviet Union invaded what country on Christmas Eve 1979?
A. Afghanistan
B. Czechoslovakia
C. Poland
D. Hungary

12. What president pardoned Southerners who fought for the Confederacy on Christmas Day?
A. Abraham Lincoln
B. Andrew Johnson
C. Ulysses S. Grant
D. Rutherford B. Hayes


1 C. Joel Poinsett was the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico in the 1820s.

2 A.  That’s the song Janie was practicing when George Bailey came home despondent on Christmas Eve, and everybody breaks into that song as the money comes pouring in, although the ending song is “Auld Lang Syne.” It’s also a fitting song after Linus reads a part of the Gospel of Luke about the angel appearing to the shepherds.

3 B. As the toy says, “Nobody wants a Charlie in the Box.”

4 D. Pierce brought the first tree to the White House and Teddy Roosevelt banned them out of environmental concerns, but it was Coolidge who lighted the first national tree in 1923.

5 D. Reagan authorized the first ornament in 1981 with the proceeds going to charity.

6 B. Gorbachev resigned on Dec. 25, 1991. By then, there wasn’t much Soviet Union left.

7 A. Linebacker II was the large scale bombing campaign that was halted for about a day and a half.

8 C. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863

9 A. Julius Caesar who remade the Roman calendar so that one of the months was named for him, also made Jan. 1 the start of a new year. Before that, Roman years started around the spring equinox.

10 D. FDR seized Montgomery Ward factories and warehouses because the company refused to honor labor agreements that had been negotiated. He said the country wouldn’t tolerate any slowdowns during wartime.

11 A. In a move they would later regret as it helped lead to their demise, Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

12 B. As his term was coming to an end, Johnson granted unconditional pardons in 1868.


0-3 You could be Scrooge before a visit from Marley’s Ghost

4-7 You could be Scrooge, after the visit of the Ghost of Christmas Past

8-11 You could be Scrooge after visit of Ghost of Christmas Present

12 You must be Scrooge after visit of Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come


Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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