Taos Aglow

Fun Quiz: So you think you know Santa?

10 questions (and answers) about the Big Guy's history

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We all know the names the plump Christmas icon goes by, such as Jolly St. Nick, Kriss Kringle (Germany) and Father Christmas (Britain). We all know he wears a red suit and floppy hat accented with a dangling white ball of fluff. We all know he rides in a magical sleigh pulled by eight reindeer and delivers presents to children all over the world in one night.

Is there anything about Santa Claus that you don’t know?

1. Santa was born in which country?

A. Scandinavia

B. Holland

C. Italy

D. Turkey

2. Where was the first department store Santa visited?

A. Boston

B. Finland

C. Philadelphia

D. New York

3. Which of the following explains why early American settlers eagerly adopted the St. Nicholas figure from Dutch settlers?

A. St. Nicholas already had a very strong following in Massachusetts.

B. There was a very large contingent of Dutch settlers spread throughout all the former British colonies.

C. It was just after independence from England and American were looking for their own traditions to replace those of the British.

D. St. Nicholas was a much snazzier dresser than the other gift-giving figures of the day.

4. Which publication is credited with providing Americans with the first detailed account of the Dutch version of Saint Nicholas, eventually leading to the modern Santa Claus?

A. Harper’s magazine

B. “A Visit from St. Nick”

C. “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”

D. “A History of New York”

5. Countries around the world have different traditions for sending letters to Santa. Which of the following is NOT one of those traditions?

A. Leave the letter in the manger of a Nativity scene.

B. Email or mail him at the North Pole.

C. Burn the letter in a fireplace.

D. Leave the letter under your bed.

6. Which of the following has NOT been one of Santa’s helpers throughout the ages?

A. Knecht Ruprecht

B. Tomtar

C. Black Peter

D. Grandfather Frost

7. St. Nicholas was revered throughout the Middle Ages. He was a patron saint of all the following groups except one. Which one?

A. Mothers and innkeepers

B. Russia and Greece

C. Soldiers and sailors

D. Lawyers and spinsters

8. Which of the following mythological characters is NOT generally considered as having provided a basis for the modern Santa Claus?

A. Hertha

B. Chronos

C. Saturn

D. Odin

9. Santa's present-day "habits" evolved from many sources. For example, Santa's habit of coming down the chimney to deliver presents is said to have roots in all of the following but one. Which one?

A. The Norse goddess Hertha.

B. Lapland tents set under snow with a single hole to act as both door and chimney.

C. Victorian chimney sweeps.

D. Medieval legend of gold being dropped down a chimney to save three sisters from lives of ill-repute.

10. How does Santa go back up the chimney after delivering gifts?

A. By grasping a very sturdy rope pulled by the reindeer.

B. He places his finger on the side of his nose and gives a nod.

C. He has a twinkle in his eye that magically lifts him up.

D. His empty bag becomes a balloon and lifts him out.

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ANSWERS:

1-D (According to legend, Saint Nicholas was born in the heart of the Roman Empire in Patera, Turkey.)

2-C

3-C

4-D (Written by Washington Irving under the pen name Diedrich Knickerbocker, "A History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty" was written in 1809. Other passing references to Santa Claus appeared as early as 1773.).

5-D

6-D (Grandfather Frost is Santa's name in Russia.)

7-A

8-B

9-C (Depending on who you talk to, Santa's penchant for chimneys comes from Hertha appearing in fireplaces bringing good fortune and health in midwinter; from Lapps use of igloo-shaped tents set under snow that had a single hole in the roof to act as both chimney and door; or, from the legend of St. Nick dropping gold down the chimney to save the girls because the doors and windows were locked.)

10-B

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