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25 Christmas Carol Trivia Questions

Christmas carols are a cherished tradition during the holiday season. These joyful songs not only bring people together but also spread the spirit of Christmas. 

If you’re planning a festive gathering or simply looking for a fun way to test your knowledge of classic Christmas carols, we’ve got you covered. 

In this blog post, we’ll provide a list of Christmas Carol trivia questions to challenge your friends and family. 

So, gather ’round the virtual or physical fireplace, warm up your vocal cords, and let’s dive into some jolly carol trivia!

Christmas Song/Carol Trivia Questions

  1. Origin of “Silent Night: This beloved Christmas carol was composed in 1818 in Austria, but what were the circumstances that led to its creation and what are the names of its creators?

  2. “White Christmas” and Record-Breaking Sales: This song, famously sung by Bing Crosby, holds a Guinness World Record. What record does it hold, and in which film did it first appear?

  3. “O Holy Night” and Historic Broadcast: This carol played a role in a significant event in radio history. What was the event and who was the person behind this broadcast?

  4. “Jingle Bells” in Space: This famous carol was part of a historic event in space exploration. What was this event and who were the astronauts involved?

  5. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” Hidden Meaning: It’s said that this song contains hidden meanings. What are these supposed hidden meanings?

  6. “Carol of the Bells” and its Ukrainian Roots: Originally a Ukrainian folk chant, what was the original purpose of this song and who transformed it into a Christmas carol?

  7. “Deck the Halls” and its Age: This carol is known for its festive melody, but how old is the tune and from which country does it originate?

  8. “Joy to the World” Misconceptions: Often associated with Christmas, this song wasn’t originally written for the holiday. What was its original purpose and who composed it?

  9. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and its Famous Composer: Which famous classical composer’s music was adapted for this carol, and what was the original opening line of the carol written by Charles Wesley?

  10. “I Saw Three Ships” and its Imagery: This carol references three ships sailing in on Christmas Day. What is the historical or symbolic significance of these ships?

  11. “Good King Wenceslas” and its Historical Basis: Who was the real King Wenceslas, and what event from his life does this carol depict?

  12. “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” and its Victorian Popularity: This carol was a favorite of which famous Victorian author, and how was it featured in one of his novels?

  13. “We Three Kings” and its Unique Composition: Who composed “We Three Kings,” and what is unique about the structure of the song compared to other carols?

  14. “The First Noel” and its Origins: What are the origins of “The First Noel,” and what does the word “Noel” actually mean?

  15. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and its Cold War Context: What event inspired the writing of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and what is the song’s hidden message?

  16. “Silver Bells” and its Original Title: What was the original title of “Silver Bells,” and why was it changed?

  17. “The Little Drummer Boy” and its Origins: When was “The Little Drummer Boy” first recorded, and what was the original name of the song?

  18. “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” and its Unique Aspect: What sets “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” apart from most other traditional Christmas carols, particularly in terms of its focus?

  19. “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and its Disputed Authorship: Who are some of the individuals claimed to have written “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and what is unusual about its authorship claims?

  20. “Away in a Manger” and its Misattributed Composer: This carol was long attributed to a famous composer. Who was this, and what is the truth about its composition?

  21. “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” and its Literary Origin: Which famous American poet wrote the poem that this carol is based on, and what was the historical context of the poem?

  22. “Once in Royal David’s City” and its Educational Use: Who wrote “Once in Royal David’s City,” and for what educational purpose was it originally composed?

  23. “Ding Dong Merrily on High” and its Old Melody: How old is the melody to “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” and what was its original use before becoming a Christmas carol?

  24. “O Christmas Tree” (O Tannenbaum) and its Non-Christmas Theme: What is the original theme of “O Tannenbaum,” and how does it differ from its Christmas associations?

  25. “In the Bleak Midwinter” and its Famous Poet-Composer Duo: Who wrote the poem and who composed the most popular music setting for “In the Bleak Midwinter”?

Answers

  1. “Silent Night”: It was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf near Salzburg, Austria. It was created because the church organ was broken, necessitating a song with guitar accompaniment.

  2. “White Christmas”: It holds the Guinness World Record for the best-selling single of all time. The song first appeared in the 1942 film “Holiday Inn.”

  3. “O Holy Night” and Radio: In 1906, Reginald Fessenden played “O Holy Night” on the violin and sang the final verse during the first AM radio broadcast on Christmas Eve.

  4. “Jingle Bells” in Space: On December 16, 1965, astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra played a prank by reporting a “satellite” and then playing “Jingle Bells” on a harmonica and bells aboard Gemini 6.

  5. “The Twelve Days of Christmas”: It’s theorized that the song was a catechism song to help young Catholics learn their faith, with each gift representing a different religious tenet, although this theory is not universally accepted.

  6. “Carol of the Bells”: Originally a Ukrainian folk chant known as “Shchedryk,” it celebrated the coming New Year. It was transformed into a Christmas carol by Peter J. Wilhousky, who added new lyrics.

  7. “Deck the Halls”: The melody dates back to the sixteenth century, and it originates from Wales. The tune was originally a Welsh New Year’s Eve song.

  8. “Joy to the World”: Composed by Isaac Watts, the song was originally meant to celebrate Christ’s second coming rather than his birth and was based on the second half of Psalm 98 in the Bible.

  9. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”: The music was adapted from Felix Mendelssohn’s composition. The original opening line by Wesley was “Hark! how all the welkin rings.”

  10. “I Saw Three Ships”: The three ships are thought to symbolically represent the three wise men, or the ships that brought relics of the three wise men to Cologne Cathedral in the 12th century.

  11. “Good King Wenceslas”: The real King Wenceslas was Wenceslas I, Duke of Bohemia, a 10th-century ruler known for his kindness and Christian values. The carol depicts an event where he went out to give alms to the poor on St. Stephen’s Day.

  12. “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”: This carol was a favorite of Charles Dickens and is featured in “A Christmas Carol,” where it’s sung by a caroler at Scrooge’s door.

  13. “We Three Kings”: It was composed by John Henry Hopkins Jr. in 1857. The song is unique as it features a different verse for each of the Magi, with their gifts and perspectives.

  14. “The First Noel”: The carol dates back to at least the 17th century. The word “Noel” is derived from the French word for Christmas, which itself comes from the Latin word “natalis,” meaning birth.

  15. “Do You Hear What I Hear?”: Written in October 1962, it was inspired by the Cuban Missile Crisis. The song’s hidden message is a plea for peace during the Cold War.

  16. “Silver Bells”: The original title was “Tinkle Bells.” The title was changed after the composer Ray Evans’ wife pointed out that “tinkle” had another less desirable meaning in colloquial English.

  17. “The Little Drummer Boy”: It was first recorded in 1951. The original name of the song was “Carol of the Drum.”

  18. “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”: Unlike many Christmas carols that focus on the nativity, this carol, written by Edmund Sears, centers on the theme of peace and the song of angels.

  19. “O Come, All Ye Faithful”: The authorship is disputed, with claims attributing it to various individuals including John Francis Wade, John Reading, and even King John IV of Portugal. The confusion arises from the multiple manuscript versions and translations.

  20. “Away in a Manger”: It was long misattributed to Martin Luther, but it was actually written by an unknown American in the late 19th century.

  21. “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”: The poem was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the American Civil War, reflecting his despair at the time and then his renewed hope for peace.

  22. “Once in Royal David’s City”: Written by Cecil Frances Alexander, it was originally composed to explain the Apostles’ Creed to children.

  23. “Ding Dong Merrily on High”: The melody dates back to the 16th century and was originally a secular dance tune before George Ratcliffe Woodward adapted it for Christmas lyrics in the early 20th century.

  24. “O Christmas Tree” (O Tannenbaum): The original theme of the song was about the evergreen quality of the fir tree as a symbol of constancy and faithfulness, rather than specifically about Christmas.

  25. “In the Bleak Midwinter”: The poem was written by Christina Rossetti and the most popular music setting was composed by Gustav Holst.
christmas song/carol trivia questions

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