Holiday Trivia: 30 Questions And Answers For Your Next Party Game

Masculine Southern Living Room in White with Christmas tree in the corner and garland hung on the mantel.
Photo: Marta Pérez; Styling: Vero Designs

Ah, Christmastime: the most wonderful time of year. The season for cozy sweaters, holiday parties, and tree decorating, is also the season for gathering to reminisce, reconnect, and make new memories. Whether planning a holiday soiree with friends or adding festive ideas to an annual family tradition, a game of fun-filled trivia is sure to brighten up any holiday celebration. We’ve got you covered with Christmas and holiday trivia questions and answers guaranteed to make your event sparkle.

Why trivia for the holidays? Stephen Walsh, owner of the independent trivia company Walsh Trivia in Baltimore, Maryland, says December is by far his busiest time of year, hosting both public and private holiday-themed trivia competitions for companies, families and friends. His in-person and virtual holiday events routinely attract hundreds of participants, and Walsh believes trivia is a unique niche that people of all ages can experience together.

“Trivia is unique because it's something everyone can have fun with,” he says. “It’s low-pressure, keeps players engaged and the questions are often catalysts for great conversations. Participants are learning something new about their teammates as they play. Trivia adds laughter and light to the holiday season while also remaining accessible for everyone.”

Below, Walsh shares top Christmas and holiday-themed trivia questions and answers that will enliven any gathering. Read on for knowledge that will dazzle the room this season! 

01 of 30

In what decade did the first Christmas stamp appear in the U.S.?

Christmas Card Display
Mandy Busby Creative

Answer: The sixties. Following years of requests for a holiday stamp, the U.S. Postal Service issued its first Christmas stamp in Pennsylvania in November 1962. The department printed its largest number ever for a specialty stamp—350 million—and quickly sold out. The supply was replenished, and by the end of the year, 1 billion stamps had been printed. The rest is history! The tradition continues today with new holiday stamps unveiled each year.

02 of 30

How much does the average American currently spend on gifts and holiday items?

Christmas presents wrapped in green and blue paper with red ribbon.
Alison Gootee; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Answer: More than you think! Nearly $1,000, according to the latest data from the National Retail Federation. Roughly one week’s median salary, the amount consistently goes up each year, with an estimated 96 percent of Americans buying gifts for their families. And the most popular present of all? Gift cards.

03 of 30

What iconic holiday character first appeared in a 1939 booklet published by the department store Montgomery Ward?

Answer: Believe it or not, we have a marketing campaign to thank for the most famous reindeer of all: Rudolph. The original eight reindeer were popularized by Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, but Rudolph didn’t come along until 1939, when he was dreamed up in Chicago by Montgomery Ward advertising copywriter Robert Lewis May. The copyright was later transferred to May and became a book, and the famed version of the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (by Gene Autry) hit No. 1 in 1949.

04 of 30

Many cultures have a tradition of hanging this food-shaped ornament on the Christmas tree. What is the item and meaning behind it?

Christmas Pickle Ornament
picture alliance / Getty Images

Answer: The Christmas pickle, or the Weihnachtsgurke! It's a German tradition that's popular in the Midwest (and the South) today. Read all about it here.

05 of 30

Both gingerbread houses and candy canes were almost certainly introduced to the U.S. by immigrants from what country?

Classic Gingerbread Cookies image
Sheri Giblin; Food Styling: Margaret Dickey; Prop Styling: Amy Stone

Answer: Germany. Some historians have gingerbread houses dating all the way back to ancient Rome, but both sweets have become synonymous with the holidays in the U.S. thanks to the millions of German immigrants who arrived in the 19th and early 20th century. Gingerbread houses had been especially popular in Germany since the publication of the Brothers Grimm's Hansel and Gretel in 1812, and candy canes are thought to have originated in in the U.S. in 1847 when August Imgard, a German-Swedish immigrant, decorated a tree with paper ornaments and candy canes.

06 of 30

Which U.S. President was the first to recognize Hanukkah with a menorah lighting at the White House?

Answer: Jimmy Carter in 1979. Since then, every U.S. president has celebrated Hanukkah in some way. The first official White House Hanukkah Party took place in 2001, hosted by George W. Bush. An annual reception hosted by the President and First Lady, the guest list includes hundreds of American Jewish leaders and school and yeshiva deans.

07 of 30

What holiday shopping day saw total sales increase by 362 percent from 2015 to 2019?

Tree Branch Gift Tag
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Answer: Cyber Monday. While Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is still the busiest shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving) is the fastest growing day. Sales grew from $2.98 billion in 2015 to a historic high of $10.8 billion in 2020.

08 of 30

Can you name three towns in the South with holiday-inspired names?

Mistletoe Kissing Ball
Photo: Ralph Anderson

Answer: Believe it or not, Christmas, Florida is a real town. As is Santa Claus, Georgia, and Mistletoe, Kentucky. Here's our list of 18 Southern towns with festive names.

09 of 30

What famous author gave us the line that Christmas “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”?

Answer: Dr. Seuss, also known as Theodor “Ted” Geisel, in his holiday classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas. After the debut of Seuss’ 1957 children’s book, his lead character of the Grinch has appeared in numerous films and television specials and is featured in two of the three highest-grossing Christmas films of all time at the U.S. box office.

10 of 30

The holiday decoration tinsel was originally made from strands of what metal?

Glitzy Silver Christmas Tree
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Answer: Silver. Once a display of wealth, it was tradition in Germany to hang tinsel ("estincele,” or sparkle in Old French, or “lametta,” meaning tiny blade in Italian) made of thin strips of silver on a Christmas tree to reflect candlelight. But since silver has a hefty price tag, cheaper alternatives have been made since the early 20th century. 

11 of 30

Where did the tradition of celebrating Christmas in July start?

Answer: In Brevard, North Carolina on July 24th and 25th in 1933 at a girls' camp called Keystone Camp. Real all about how Christmas in July came to be in North Carolina here.

12 of 30

Our present-day version of Santa Claus is based on folklore traditions surrounding Saint Nicholas, a real-life Christian bishop in what modern day country?

Santa Claus Secret
inhauscreative/Getty Images

Answer: Turkey. Active in the fourth century, St. Nicholas’ existence was not officially recorded, so nothing certain is known of his life except that he was probably bishop of Myra in the 4th century. His reputation for generosity became legendary, as well as stories of miracles he performed. St. Nicholas’ lore persisted in Holland as Sinterklaas (a Dutch variant of the name St. Nicholas), which gave rise to our current version of a gift-giving “Saint Nick” or Santa Claus.

13 of 30

Which American pop singer spent her early years growing up on a Christmas tree farm run by her parents?

Blue Christmas Christmas Tree Decorations
Laurey W. Glenn

Answer: Taylor Swift, who loved growing up on the 11-acre farm in Reading, Pennsylvania, so much that she wrote a song about it (“Christmas Tree Farm," written and released in 2019).

14 of 30

Which iconic Christmas song was released on a No. 1 Christmas album in 1994—but didn’t reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart until 25 years later?

Answer: “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey. Her 1994 album “Merry Christmas” ranked No. 3 on the album charts and sold 15 million copies worldwide, but the album’s lead single didn’t hit No. 1 until 2019. While the original continues to dominate the airwaves each December, Carey also recorded a new version as a duet with Justin Bieber for his 2011 album Under the Mistletoe.

15 of 30

The combined might of Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Irving Berlin helped make this song from the 1942 musical film Holiday Inn the biggest Christmas song ever. What was the song?

White Christmas Cast
John Swope / Getty Images

Answer: "White Christmas"—written by Berlin, the song won an Academy Award and the version sung by Bing Crosby became the world's best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales topping 50 million copies worldwide. When other versions of the song are added to Crosby's, sales of the song exceed 100 million.

16 of 30

How many pieces of holiday mail and packages will the U.S. Postal Service deliver each day this year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day?

Iris Thorpe Christmas Card Display Garland
Laurey W. Glenn

Answer: 60 million. Thanks to new package processing equipment and operational improvements, the Postal Service is expected to process nearly 60 million packages every day this holiday season, up from 53 million in 2021. Last year, the USPS projected that more than 12 billion holiday letters, cards and packages would be delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

17 of 30

The 1944 MGM movie musical Meet Me in St. Louis introduced a Judy Garland holiday megahit that was later covered by dozens of artists, including Garth Brooks, James Taylor, Christina Aguilera, Josh Groban and John Legend. What song was it?

Answer: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"—originally dreamed up by songwriters Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine, the song has continued to live on through the years—both as its original Judy Garland recording for the film and its many covers. Other popular recordings of the song include versions by Frank Sinatra, Tori Amos, Michael Bublé, and Sam Smith.

18 of 30

Which of the four presidents on Mt. Rushmore is rumored to have had his own recipe for eggnog?

The Best Classic Eggnog

Monica Farber / Southern Living

Answer: George Washington. This urban legend has flourished for decades. The first president allegedly had his own recipe for the popular holiday drink. There’s just one problem: it likely isn’t true, as there is no documented evidence of eggnog consumption at Mount Vernon. It’s unclear how the myth began, but we do know that Washington was fond of a brandy-based drink known as a cherry bounce. 

19 of 30

What country has a tradition of eating KFC on Christmas day?

Mama's Fried Chicken
Southern Living

Answer: Japan! Aptly nicknamed "Kentucky Fried Christmas," what began as a cheeky gimmick in the mid-1980s has evolved into a more widespread justification for locals to bring home a festive feast of KFC to share with family the week of Christmas. A “party barrel” bucket filled with fried chicken, coleslaw and cake makes for an annual holiday treat that many Japanese families enjoy, year after year.

20 of 30

In the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," what is given on the seventh day?

Answer: Seven swans-a-swimming! An English Christmas carol that embodies the spirit of the holidays, the classic tune describes gifts that increase on each of the 12 days of the Christmas season. The song’s lyrics were first published in England in the late eighteenth century, with its most popular melody derived from a 1909 arrangement of a traditional folk melody by English composer Frederic Austin. Variations of the song also exist in Scotland, the Faroe Islands, Sweden and France.

21 of 30

Kwanzaa was first celebrated in the U.S. in what decade?

Jessica B. Harris's Kwanza Table with Pecan-Coated Pork Loin Roast and Any-Season Succotash
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Answer: The 1960s. Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 as a way of uniting the African American community. Modeled after traditional African harvest celebrations, the weeklong holiday is celebrated as a cultural holiday; many people celebrate it in addition to other religious traditions. As many as 12 million Americans celebrate Kwanzaa annually, including writer Jessica B. Harris, who shares the meaning and principles of Kwanzaa here.

22 of 30

Name the animatronic cassette-playing bear toy that every kid wanted for Christmas in the mid-1980s?

Answer: Teddy Ruxpin. Alongside Cabbage Patch Dolls, Pez dispensers and California Raisins figurines, the ‘80s brought us the toy that parents searched high and low for at Christmastime. The best-selling toy of 1985 and 1986, the talking bear was novel in its ability “tell stories” while the cassette tape played. If you’ve still got one, you’re in luck: a Teddy Ruxpin in mint condition can fetch upwards of $1,000 today.

23 of 30

Was "Jingle Bells" always a Christmas song?

Blue front door with Christmas wreath with blue ribbon, pinecones, and bells
Alison Gootee; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Answer: No! One of the most well-known holiday tunes in the world, "Jingle Bells" was published by James Lord Pierpont in 1857 as “The One Horse Open Sleigh” with no particular connection to Christmas. The song developed a Christmas and winter connection as it grew it popularity starting in the 1860’s. In 1965, "Jingle Bells" became the first song broadcast from space when the astronauts aboard Gemini 6 performed the song on a harmonica and jingle bells as a prank.

24 of 30

In the holiday favorite A Christmas Story, what is the name of the neighbors whose dogs ate the Christmas turkey?

Answer: The Bumpuses. In Bob Clark's classic 1983 comedy film, the house next to Ralphie Parker’s is home to the Bumpuses and their 785 smelly hound dogs. The dogs hilariously get to the Parkers’ Turkey dinner before they can stop them.

25 of 30

The beloved ballet The Nutcracker was first performed in what city in 1892?

The Nutcracker Ballet

Answer: St. Petersburg, Russia. With its iconic score by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, the ballet The Nutcracker features a unique instrument that Tchaikovsky had recently discovered in France: the celesta, which provides the unforgettable sounds we now associate with the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Nutcracker is now one of the most popular annual ballets to be performed across the U.S. each holiday season. Editor Tip: It also makes the perfect mother-daughter holiday tradition!

26 of 30

Who starred at George Bailey in the holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life?

Answer: James “Jimmy” Stewart. A 1946 Christmas film, the movie was the first Stewart appeared in after returning from military service following World War II. Considered one of the greatest films in history, it was nominated for five Academy Awards and remains a beloved American family holiday tradition. There’s even a pilgrimage to make: The Seneca Falls It’s a Wonderful Life Museum in Seneca Falls, NY, features a year-round museum and a It’s a Wonderful Life-themed town festival each December.

27 of 30

What is the name of potato pancake that is traditionally prepared to celebrate Hanukkah?

Andrew’s Potato Latkes
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell

Answer: Latke! Is there anything more delicious? Traditionally made with potatoes (but sometimes other vegetables!) and a staple for Hanukkah, every family has their own recipe for latkes and no two are the same. With origins in Italian pancakes made with ricotta cheese, potato latkes gained popularity in Eastern Europe in the 1800s and have been a hit ever since. 

28 of 30

In the holiday classic Home Alone, where are the McAllisters going on vacation when they leave Kevin behind?

Answer: Paris. The 1990 American Christmas film Home Alone stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McAllister, a boy who gets accidentally left at home while his family heads to Paris for vacation. Hilarious hijinks ensue when burglars break in. Home Alone is currently the second highest-grossing Christmas film of all time at $476.7 million, surpassed only by 2018’s The Grinch, which brought in $512.9 million. 

29 of 30

In the song Frosty The Snowman, what makes Frosty come to life?

Classic Media/CBS

Answer: An old silk hat. An international holiday sensation written by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins in 1950, Frosty The Snowman tells of a snowman who comes to life—but only after a magical silk hat is placed upon his head. Numerous book and film adaptations followed, including the popular Christmas special narrated by Jimmy Durante (in his final film role) that has aired every year since its debut in 1969. 

30 of 30

In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” what is Scrooge’s first name?

Answer: Ebenezer. First published as a novella in 1843, the book commonly known as A Christmas Carol tells the story of an elderly grouch who is transformed into a kinder man following visits from the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and several impactful spirits. An instant success, the holiday staple has never been out of print and has been adapted many times for film, stage and opera. 

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