Fun and Challenging Trivia for Your Holiday Party

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The holiday season is in full swing, and many want their holiday party to be both enjoyable and unique. At General Academic, we always make room for trivia at our parties–have to keep our people on their toes, after all! This year, I’ve decided to share that trivia with you, as well as some instructions and suggestions for the game.

It is important to note that this game is meant for adults, and the content is focused on Christmas trivia. There are 5 rounds with 5 questions each, and questions are in the style of NPR’s radio game show “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me.”

How to Play

  • 2 or more players per group
  • Each group should have a team name
  • Host of the party or designated “trivia host” will read the questions
  • Allow groups 1-2 minutes to answer each question
  • You may allot whatever point values to the questions that you wish, but we recommend 5 points per question for the first 4 rounds and 1 point per word in the final round
  • The team with the highest number of points wins!
  • In the event of a tie, make sure to have some tie breaker questions (I’ll include several below)

Round 1 – Christmas Trees and Lights

1. Christmas trees are edible! They are high in Vitamin C and other good bits. Which of the following is a TRUE recipe for those delectable evergreens?
A. Wes Hannah’s Colorado Blue Spruce Casserole
B. Tanya Petrovna’s Scotch Pine and 3 Cheese Lasagna
C. Sergei Boutenko’s Douglas Fir Green Smoothie

2. Which of the following events is TRUE concerning Christmas lights?
A. The Columbian government covered jungle trees with Christmas lights that would light up when FARC guerrillas would walk by and illuminate banners asking the guerillas to lay down their arms. (331 complied)
B. Nuns from Panama City decked out the local teenage “hot-spot” with Christmas lights in the shape of the Nativity scene and the words “Shame on you—think of Jesus!” (several complained, others thanked the nuns for the better lighting)
C. In a Chicago suburb three months after Christmas, a man—angry at the fact his neighbor never takes his Christmas lights down—climbed his neighbor’s roof in the middle of the night, fell through the ceiling, and crashed into his neighbor’s still standing (and rotting) Christmas tree. (the neighbor was happy to get a new free roof and house cleaning—the lights are still there)

3. Some people like fake trees, while others prefer the real deal. Which of the following is a TRUE study concerning fake and real trees?
A. An environmentalist group in San Francisco released a report that showed homes with fake trees face a 43% greater chance of heated arguments occurring over Christmas dinner than homes with real trees.
B. A consulting firm out of Montreal released a report that showed fake trees would need to be reused for at least 20 years to be greener than using real trees.
C. A professor from the University of Colorado discovered that communities near Christmas tree farms experienced 14 times better air quality than those communities near factories producing fake Christmas trees.

4. Which of the following “facts” about fake trees is FALSE?
A. Artificial trees were originally made in Germany and were crafted from painted goose feathers, wire, and a dowel rod.
B. Artificial trees are a greater fire hazard than real trees.
C. Artificial trees were used for Christmas decorations in the US about 10 years after the start of using real trees.

5. The Christmas season can elicit any number of emotions from people, from sheer joy to intense irritation, but some take the Christmas spirit to the extreme. Which of the following is a TRUE?
A. Brandon Smith loves Christmas—so much so that he fills his 1,200 square foot home with 86 Christmas trees. Every nook and cranny is filled with Christmas trees, and many of them are donated by local elderly folk. But it’s not enough—each year, Brandon and his partner, Dennis, seek out new trees and decorations to add to their collection. Their home has become a local attraction, bringing in 1,000+ visitors every year. While it takes them several months to prepare, the looks on strangers’ faces makes it all worthwhile.
B. Caroline Havens believes that the larger the Christmas tree, the better it represents the level of Christmas cheer one has. After seeing the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree one year, Caroline was convinced she needed something bigger. She scoured websites and local tree farms to find what she needed, but to no avail. So, she sought about growing her own—a genetically modified Scotch pine that would tower over every other Christmas tree. 10 years later, Caroline succeeded in growing a 224 foot tall behemoth in her backyard, and was able to shove her Christmas spirit down the throats of her neighbors for miles.
C. When asked about his favorite thing about the holidays, Harvey Boll pounded the table and declared, “Christmas trees, of course!” Harvey Boll is so passionate about Christmas trees that he has made it his personal mission to see that every building in his town (any building) has at least one Christmas tree—whether the occupants want it or not. However, Harvey is undaunted by the returned trees and police investigation. He is optimistic he will succeed.

Round 2 – Everything Santa

1. Which of the following is NOT considered a precursor to Santa Claus?
A. The Norse god Odin who rides his 8-legged horse named Sleipnir and doles out gifts and punishment to those who deserve it. Children fill their boots and stockings with treats for Sleipnir.
B. Sinterklaas, a stately man with white hair and a long, full beard, who rides his horse named Amerigo and carries a large book that details which children have been good or bad.
C. Johan Krauss, a local bishop in Germany and whose nose was said to be forever rosy, rode about the countryside on his goat, bestowing treats and gifts to children and adults alike.

2. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), there are 2.1 billion children under age 18 in the world. If there are on average 2.5 children per household, Santa would have to make 842 million stops on Christmas Eve, traveling 221 million miles. To reach all 842 million stops, Santa would need to travel between houses in 2/10,000 second, which means he would need to accelerate 12.19 million miles per second on each stop. Realistically, what should be TRUE about Santa after each acceleration?
A. He gains mass after each jump, which is why he is portrayed as a very fat man.
B. His face is burned by the sheer force of cutting through the air at that speed, which is why he has such rosy cheeks and nose.
C. He turned into “chunky salsa” after the first acceleration, which might be why we never “see” him delivering presents anymore.

3. Which of the following is TRUE about “Santa Clauses” in the US?
A. There are nearly 20,000 “Rent-a-Santas” across the US each year. They receive training on how to keep jolly under public pressure, what food to avoid (such as garlic, onions, and beans), and to never take money from parents when a child is looking.
B. A recent report found that 67% of mall “Santa Clauses” are not fat (but instead stuff their suits), 46% don’t have a real beard, and 70% don’t even like children. Thankfully, the study also found that only 12% of mall “Santa Clauses” have been punished for smelling heavily of alcohol or smoke—though the report pulled this data from recorded citations.
C. Nick “Saint” Williams has played “Santa Claus” for over 15 years and is considered one of the most efficient “Santa Clauses” in the history of Greenwood, Indiana. Parents with large broods of children love taking them to see ol’ Nick as he averages 1.4 minutes per child—questions, pictures, and all. Nick contributes his success to the 34-point guideline passed out to each family before they enter the line.

4. While he was known for his great generosity and is considered the model for Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas was also known as which of the following?
A. “Bringer of Good Harvests” and patron saint of agrarian communities
B. “Lord of the Sea” (a sort of Christianized Poseidon) and patron saint of cities with harbors
C. “Watchful Warden” and patron saint of courts and councils

5. Sometimes even Santa Claus has trouble keeping jolly all of the time. Which of the following is a TRUE story about a time when “Santa Claus” was miffed?
A. Molly Vargen had a problem. Her husband, Trevor, was bent on portraying Santa Claus for his son’s school this year—a prospect he had lost out on for the last two years. His solution? Get as fat as possible—something Molly did not want to happen. Again and again, Molly pleaded with Trevor to stop gaining weight. Finally, Trevor snapped. Molly received a call from the police saying they had taken Trevor in for aggravated assault. Trevor had gone to the local buffet to defy Molly, but he only managed to finish 4 plates of food before the owner confronted him. The two got into a shouting match, Trevor pushed the owner over, and then attempted to sit on him. Although Trevor is now seeing a counselor and a trainer, his son’s school decided not (or ever) to allow him to play Santa Claus.
B. Frustrated with how the UN was handling the nuclear ambitions of Iran, North Korea, and Israel, Joey Skaggs decided to act. He dressed up as Santa Claus and rode up to the UN on an adult-sized tricycle with six “elves” in tow and dragging along an 8-foot missile with the words “Peace on Earth—Or Else.” Oddly, no one ran for cover. When asked to stop blocking traffic, Joey pulled to the side. “I don’t want to get arrested,” Joey said.
C. Liz Hartfield had had it. Christmas decorations had appeared in local retailers the day of Halloween! In true Grinch style, Liz and several of her friends dressed up as Santa Claus and took down every decoration they could get their hands on in the dead of night. While they succeeded, video footage proved to be their downfall. Thankfully, Liz and her friends weren’t charged, but the retailers did ask that they return the decorations to their rightful places. Liz still knocks over the decoration or two when she thinks no one is looking.

Round 3 – Shopping, Gifts, and Games

1. Which of the following games was a favorite Christmas pastime for children in medieval times?
A. “Hot Cockles” – players take turns striking a blindfolded player, who has to guess the name of the person who struck them.
B. “Carked Backstress” – one player, called the Backstress, holds onto a small loaf of bread or a large handful of grass while the other players attempt to take as much of it from the Backstress possible. The player with the most bread/grass wins.
C. “Trywp or Gardyloo” – a precursor to Truth or Dare, players must either tell the truth about something or dodge obstacles. Usually, players would attempt to dodge dirty water poured from windows onto the streets or run through carts and horses unscathed.

2. Shopping during the holiday season is tough—parking wars and fistfights over electronics. Which of the following is a TRUE story about holiday shopping gone bad?
A. After dropping his wife off at the local Target, a Dallas man in his truck looked in vain for a parking spot. When he finally found a car leaving, he promptly turned on his blinker and waited for the car to leave. What he wasn’t expecting was that an elderly woman in her small Cadillac saw the car leaving from the other row. She sped up, swerved into the spot almost clipping him, and flipped him off as she got out of her car. The man didn’t take it well—while she was still walking away from her car, the man took his large truck and plowed over on top of her car. While police couldn’t fault the man, he nonetheless found himself spending much more on Christmas this year than he thought.
B. A young woman in Los Angeles ventured to Walmart in the early morning hours to buy an Xbox during one of the store’s big sales at the start of the Christmas season. Little did she and 14 other shoppers know how bad an idea that really was. As soon as the doors opened, the woman and many other shoppers raced to the electronics section. What provoked the young woman’s ire is anybody’s guess, but video footage shows her pepper spraying 14 shoppers in the face. Charges were not pressed since police decided she may have acted in self-defense. No one knows if she managed to get an Xbox that day.
C. A retail worker in the perfume section of a Macy’s was having the worst holiday season of her life. Her boyfriend left her for one of Santa’s cute “elves,” her hours had been cutback, a group of loud college grads had moved into the apartment above hers, and her cats Chicken and Waffles were going through an “I will pee on everything” phase. To top it all off, she was put in charge of perfume samples and several people had been already been quite rude to her. Finally, after a man in a black overcoat who looked strikingly like her ex brushed her aside, the young woman took a bottle of perfume in each hand, chased him down, and then began to repeatedly spray him while shouting obscenities. While the woman no longer has her job, the man in the overcoat did offer to take her to dinner. She politely declined.

3. During the Christmas season in 1914, Charles Pajeau was having a tough time selling his new invention, the Tinker Toy. Which of the following did Pajeau do to sell over a million sets of Tinker Toys by the end of the following year?
A. Put 3 volunteers into a hole with only several sets of Tinker Toys to help them escape (they climbed out 1 hour later).
B. Place Tinker Toy replicas of art all around the West Chicago City Museum and provide guided tours of the “statues” and “monuments.”
C. Hire several “persons of slight stature” to dress up as elves and play with Tinker Toys in a display window of a department store in Chicago.

4. Turkey, ham, lasagna—what families have for Christmas dinner is varied but, in some cases, quite predictable. Which of the following is TRUE about Christmas dinners?
A. In Japan, KFC is the traditional place to get Christmas dinner. In fact, KFC is so popular, people must place their orders 2 months in advance.
B. While favored for its cheap furniture, residents of Merriam, Kansas just can’t get enough of IKEA’s bistro. For the last 5 years, 77% of Merriam families hold their Christmas dinners at IKEA on Christmas Eve when the store is still open.
C. In some parts of Spain, if you have an odd number of guests attending your Christmas dinner, then the odd man out is destined to die the following year.

5. Many people view the holiday season as a time of merriment, play, and good fun. Which of the following stories about “games” is FALSE?
A. People in Newfoundland dress up in crude costumes with masks and go from home to home. At each visit, these “mummers” dance, sing, and get wasted while the hosts must guess who the mummers are.
B. During World War II, Bicycle, the card game company, secretly worked with the U. S. government in fabricating special decks to send as Christmas gifts for American prisoners of war in German camps. When these cards were moistened, they peeled apart to reveal sections of a map indicating precise escape routes.
C. In 1989, Hasbro had a bit of a snafu with its attempt at a special Christmas edition of Monopoly. Instead of just having images of Santa, elves, and reindeer, about 40 of its boards included several Polaroid pictures of drunk employees in compromising positions.

Round 4 – Name the Christmas Movie

This round is a little different.  Groups will not be choosing from options on this one!  Instead, the host will read the movie’s “description,” and the groups must name the film.  These descriptions are meant to be strange, and it will be up to the host whether or not to add emphasis to particular words to help the groups along.  Let the groups know that these movies are either about Christmas or take place around Christmas.

1. Bored with terrorizing the innocent (and so efficiently too), this movie’s protagonist (if you want to call him that) stumbles upon a world so wondrous that he vows to give up mayhem and chaos altogether. His vow doesn’t last all that long, as he quickly steals the identity and wardrobe of a beloved world figure. While he says he wants to spread cheer and joy, the protagonist’s inventions do nothing but frighten and harm. Now no one is safe, but his friends seek to return him to his roots and put things back the way they were.

2. When the man scheduled to lead a parade shows up drunk, this movie’s protagonist steps in to fill some pretty big shoes. He’s then brought on to fill the same role for a big box retailer—except the protagonist keeps telling would be customers to buy things elsewhere! Although he gets to keep his job, the company’s psychologist thinks that he’s nuts and wants to lock him away. The protagonist’s lawyer roommate saves the day by proving in court that the protagonist is in fact a mythological being. Everyone gets a happy ending, including a young girl who had lost all joy.

3. This movie’s protagonist is a loser and has failed at everything in life. Convinced the world would have been better off if he had never been born, the protagonist goes to commit suicide. Just as he’s getting ready to jump, a bumbling oddity wearing a bowtie and a trench coat moves to save him. The protagonist is shown terrifying alternate timelines and worlds where he is never known to exist. Will he still jump, or will the protagonist face the truth that he has done some great good in this world?

4. This movie has it all—guns, scantily clad women’s legs, cursing, explosions, bad grades, tongue mishaps, aggravated assault, Chinese food, soap, and much, much more! The protagonist wants something, but it’s risky and could be dangerous. No one wants to help him out, and the protagonist is even letdown by the one man he thought could get him that special something. Defeated, the protagonist just doesn’t know what to do…until on Christmas day, he finds the surprise of his life!

5. A “circus” troupe is committing crimes throughout the city, while the deformed and rotund man who secretly leads the troupe is running for Mayor. A woman is killed by a vile business tycoon for threatening to expose his secrets, but she is revived by animals and returns as a deranged vigilante seeking revenge. The odds are stacked against this movie’s protagonist, as he must battle costumed freaks, diabolical birds, and gun-toting crazy people at every turn. To top it all off, he’s framed by the very people he’s fighting against to be a destructive lunatic who can’t be trusted. Hordes of firstborn sons are kidnapped and an army of unlikely creatures are set to destroy everything. Death, mystery, and sadness will keep you on the edge of your seat for the whole of this Christmas film.

Round 5 – Fill in the Lyrics

It’s not necessary for the host to have a great voice for this round, but it would help!  We recommend that each word (including words like “a,” “the,” and “and”) count as one point towards the team’s scores.  For example, #1 is worth a total of 6 points as there are 6 words to fill-in.

1. All I want for Christmas / is my two front teeth, / my two front teeth, / see my two front teeth! Gee, if I could only / have my two front teeth, / then I could wish you / “Merry Christmas.” It seems so long since I could say / ____________________________________________________ / Gosh oh gee, how happy I’d be, / If I could only whistle!
(6 words, 6 points)
All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth

2. Here we are as in olden days, / happy golden days of yore. / Faithful friends who are dear to us / gather near to us once more. / Through the years, we all will be together / if the Fates allow. _____________________________________________.
(8 words, 8 points)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

3. Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock / Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring / _____________________________________ / Now the jingle hop has begun.
(7 words, 7 points)
Jingle Bell Rock

4. I really can’t stay (baby it’s cold outside) / I’ve got to go away (baby it’s cold outside) / This evening has been (been hoping that you’d drop in) / so very nice (I’ll hold your hands, they just like ice) / My mother will start to worry (beautiful what’s your hurry) / _____________________________ (listen to the fireplace roar).
(7 words, 7 points)
Baby, it’s Cold Outside

5. You nauseate me, Mr Grinch / with a nauseous super naus. / You’re a crooked jerky jockey, / and you drive a crooked hoss, Mr. Grinch! / You’re a _________________________________________________________!
(9 words, 9 points)
Mr. Grinch Theme Song

Tie-Breaker Round – Christmas Gifts and Giving

In the event of a tie (unlikely), here are a few questions to help declare the true winner!

1. Which of the following has topped the best-selling Christmas Gifts charts the most over the last 20 years?
A. Ipad
B. Elmo
C. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers

2. Who delivered the first ever Christmas gifts?
A. Santa Claus
B. Macrobius
C. The Magi

3. The very first Toys for Tots managed to deliver how many presents to children in 1947?
A. 5,000
B. 8,000
C. 10,000

4. Which of the following toys was the first to be advertised on television?
A. Barbie
B. Mr. Potato Head
C. Silly Putty

5. Which of the following toys was banned in Japan and Russia as a “symbol of the emptiness of the American culture”?
A. Furby
B. EZ Bake Oven
C. Hoola-Hoop

Now for the Answers!

Round 1: #1 is C, #2 is A, #3 is B, #4 is C, and #5 is A

Round 2: #1 is C, #2 is C, #3 is A, #4 is B, and #5 is B

Round 3: #1 is A, #2 is B, #3 is C, #4 is A, and #5 is C

Round 4: #1 is The Nightmare Before Christmas, #2 is Miracle on 34th Street, #3 is It’s a Wonderful Life, #4 is A Christmas Story, and #5 is Batman Returns

Round 5:

#1 – “Sister Susie sitting on a thistle!”

#2 – hang a shining star upon the highest bough

#3 – snowing and blowing up bushels of fun

#4 – my father will be pacing the floor

#5 – three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce

Tie-Breaker Round: #1 is B, #2 is C, #3 is A, #4 is B, and #5 is C

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