Readers will find that there are still new things to learn about Christmas lore and customs in this winsome collection of factoids.
Following up on 2013’s Santa Claus’s Christmas Trivia Challenge, Ozanne (Tom Turkey’s Thanksgiving Trivia Challenge, 2014, etc.) proffers more than 250 new multiple-choice and true-false questions. An opening section on Santa-ology poses whimsical queries both simple (“What animals does Santa use to pull his sleigh?”) and imponderable (“If a home does not have a chimney, or the chimney is too small, what does Santa do?”). But the bulk of the book surveys the diversity and history of Christmas beliefs and practices in the real world. Readers will field questions on the life of the real St. Nicholas, the church legends surrounding him, and the folkloric sidekicks—friendly, mischievous, and monstrous—who accompany him on his rounds in different countries. They’ll also face queries about whether plum pudding actually contains any plums and which benighted land makes eels the main course of its Christmas Eve feast; the origins of Christmas ornaments in medieval plays about Adam, Eve, and the apple in the Garden of Eden; the astronomical provenance of the Star of Bethlehem; and the origins of many customs—such as hanging stockings—in the sentimental imaginations of 19th-century American writers. Ozanne delves so deep into quaint, curious, and occasionally pedantic trivia (“True or False? The Fifth verse of ‘Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne’ refers to the Second Coming?”) that everyone will be stumped by something. The answer section is an education in itself, with many erudite but accessible entries that flesh out the questions’ conundrums. The book could serve as the basis for a fun Christmas Eve game for parents and kids of all ages—from kindergarteners (“Santa has a list of who has been naughty and who has been ____?”) to grad students (“True or False? The industrial revolution helped create the retail side of Christmas?”).
An engaging, multidimensional quiz on Yuletide trivia.