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Spin Control: Like Santa Claus, Christmas Trivia is coming

UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 24, 2019

In the spirit of the Christmas season, when the Bible says wolves can live peacefully with lambs, we here at Spin Control can only hope that Trump supporters can share a holiday dinner with Bernie bros without a fight breaking out before the plum pudding is served.

Also in the spirit of the season, Spin Control stays away from political topics and offers its annual 12 Trivias of Xmas, a chance to stump the other elves at the neighborhood bar between now and New Year’s Eve. Like previous years, we mix a bit of government and history with pop culture. Answers below, but don’t peek. Santa knows if you’ve been bad or good.

1. Before he was president, Donald Trump had a cameo role in what Christmas movie?

A. “Home Alone”

B. “Home Alone 2”

C. “Home Alone 3”

D. “Home Alone 4”

2. What president liked to read “A Christmas Carol” to the family gathered at the White House on Christmas Eve?

A. Abraham Lincoln

B. Teddy Roosevelt

C. Franklin Roosevelt

D. John F. Kennedy

3. Which two reindeer get a shoutout in the song “Here Comes Santa Claus”?

A. Dasher and Donder

B. Dancer and Prancer

C. Vixen and Blitzen

D. Comet and Cupid

4. What Christmas song did the astronauts on Gemini 6 play on a harmonica from space in 1965?

A. “Silent Night”

B. “O Come All Ye Faithful”

C. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

D. “Jingle Bells”

5. After the Beatles broke up, which member was the first to record his own Christmas song?

A. John

B. Paul

C. George

D. Ringo

6. What fort was occupied on Christmas night by Union soldiers in the lead-up to the Civil War?

A. Ticonderoga

B. McHenry

C. Knox

D. Sumter

7. Who was crowned the first Holy Roman emperor on Christmas Day 800?

A. William the Conqueror

B. Charlemagne

C. Arthur Pendragon

D. Otto the Great

8. How many candles does an Advent wreath have?

A. One, to be lit on Christmas Eve

B. Four, for the Sundays leading up to Christmas

C. 12, for the traditional days of Christmas

D. 24, for the days in December before Christmas

9. Relying strictly on the Gospels, which of the following do not belong in a Nativity Scene or Creche?

A. Angels

B. Wise men

C. Sheep

D. None of the above

10. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Gospel of Matthew says Joseph and Mary became refugees and fled with him to Egypt. Why did they come back to Judea?

A. Joseph couldn’t get work as a carpenter because of the recession.

B. Pharaoh was separating families of undocumented Israelite immigrants.

C. Egypt had a famine.

D. King Herod died.

11. In the musical “Mame,” why did they “Need a Little Christmas”?

A. The title character lost her money in the Stock Market Crash.

B. The title character needed a better Santa Claus for Macy’s.

C. The title character was creating a show to entertain U.S. soldiers in December.

D. The title character was writing songs for her inn that was only open on holidays.

12. In “Scrooged,” the updated Americanized version of “A Christmas Carol,” Bill Murray plays a …

A. Miserly bank executive

B. Ruthless real estate developer

C. Cynical television executive

D. Angry newspaper editor


1. B. Trump played himself in the second movie, or first sequel, subtitled “Lost in New York.”

2. C. FDR had a tradition of reading the story, or at least an abbreviated version, to children and grandchildren on Christmas Eve.

3. C.Vixen and Blitzen are mentioned although “all the reindeer are pulling on the reins.”

4. D. After suggesting they saw an object coming from the North Pole, astronauts played “Jingle Bells” on a small harmonica and some bells – listed as the first musical instruments played in space.

5. A. John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” was released in 1971.

6. D. Five days after South Carolina voted to secede from the Union, Fort Sumter was fortified and occupied by troops who took advantage of the darkness on Christmas night to move from a different fort nearby.

7. B. Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of Rome by Pope Leo III in St. Peter’s Basilica. William was crowned king of England in 1066. Legend says Arthur was crowned king of England on Christmas Day, but no one knows if he even existed.

8. B. An Advent wreath shouldn’t be confused with an Advent calendar.

9. D. Although it would make figures for a creche very limited and medieval renditions of the first Christmas pretty bland, neither Matthew nor Luke mentions angels at the birth. Luke says they appeared to the shepherds but went away after telling the shepherds where to find the baby Jesus. The shepherds “went with haste,” so probably wouldn’t have brought their sheep with them. The wise men, or magi, didn’t come to the manger in Bethlehem but to his house.

10. D. That Gospel says they stayed in Egypt until the death of King Herod, who had ordered the slaughter of all male children under a certain age after talking with the magi.

11. A. She decides everyone needs cheering up after the crash.

12. C. Murray’s character, Frank Cross, is a television network executive trying to stage a live version of the Dickens story on Christmas Eve when he’s visited by the ghosts.

How to score

0-2: You could be Scrooge before Marley’s ghost shows up.

3-5: You could be Charlie Brown sitting in Lucy’s therapy chair.

6-8: You could be Clarence the Angel being sent to help George.

9-11: You could be Linus explaining the meaning of Christmas.

12: You could be Scrooge waking up after all the ghosts had visited.

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