Many of you will be entering the competitive world of quizzes and trivia games over Michaelmas holiday. So, here’s a little Q&A warm-up to help you ace those Christmas competitions.
Question 1: Was Christmas ever illegal in England?
Answer: Kind of. In 1647 the English parliament passed a law banning the celebration of Christmas.
Show-off comment: ‘But it’s been perfectly legal to celebrate Christmas since the Restoration of 1660.’
Question 2: When was the first Christmas card introduced?
Answer: Sir Henry Cole produced the first commercial Christmas card in 1843.
Show-off comment: ‘Ah yes, the same Sir Henry Cole who contributed to the establishment of the Public Record Office.’
Henry Cole’s first commercial Christmas card, illustrated by John Callcott Horsley
Question 3: What’s the link between global climate change and traditional images of Christmas?
Answer: Between the 16th and 19th centuries, there was what scientists call a ‘Little Ice Age’, which brought colder winters to parts of Europe and North America. As a result, many traditional carols and paintings feature ‘white Christmasses’.
Show-off comment: ‘It was so cold that there was a ‘Thames Frost Fair’ on the river in 1607.
Thames Frost Fair, 1683-84, by Thomas Wyke
Question 4: When can two Christmasses coexist all year round?
Answer: When they’re islands. Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean, and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.
Show-off comment: ‘The Pacific Christmas Island is the largest coral atoll in the world.’
Question 5: How many gifts are mentioned in the Christmas Carol ‘12 Days of Christmas’?
Show-off comment: There are the same number of drummers and partridges – 12.
Can you spot the Christmas myths? Take part in our festive quiz and share with your friends and family.