Yep, big Christmas present my my lovely wife. This will undoubtedly bring peace into our household, as sometimes my children at I are at cross-purposes when it comes to the computer. Can I tell you how many times I have geared up to write the Next Great American Novel only to find my sons are at the computer playing Club Penguin?
Anyway, the entry: for over a week now, I've been meaning to post some trivia questions regarding references to Christmas in literature. Obviously, this would have been more meaningful before Christmas, but... eh, got busy. So here we go. (Answers follow.)
- In O. Henry’s short story “Gift of the Magi,” what is the name of the woman who sold her hair to get a Christmas gift for her husband?
- In To Kill a Mockingbird, what is the name of Atticus Finch’s brother who visits Scout and Jem for Christmas?
- In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, what gift from his dead father did Harry Potter get during his first Christmas at Hogwarts?
- What Shakespeare play is named after the religious feast that takes place on January 6th (which some believe was when the play was first performed?
- In John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, the narrator describes how Owen Meany, during one holiday season, played a role in a Christmas pageant and a role in a version of A Christmas Carol. What were these two roles?
- I am an American poet who wrote a poem called "Christmas Trees (A Christmas Circular Letter)," but you probably know me better for that other wintry poem, the one about keeping promises on the darkest evening of the year. Who am I?
- In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield spends the days leading up to Christmas wandering around what American city? (Too easy? Try this one on for size: In Catcher in the Rye, Phoebe Caulfield reports she is playing what historical figure in her school's Christmas play?)
- I’m an American writer famous for stories such as “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” but I also wrote five stories about old-fashioned Christmas customs. You may not know these stories, but they influenced Charles Dickens, who publicly said he owed a debt to me for the success of A Christmas Carol. Who am I?
- John Milton, author of “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity,” is better known for what other religious poem, about the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden?
- Which now-classic Christmas movie—about a young boy, a BB gun, and unusual lamp—is based on a book of short stories called In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, written by Jean Shepherd?
- Joe Christmas is the main protagonist of what William Faulkner novel with a decidedly non-Christmas-y title?
- In what C.S. Lewis novel does Santa Claus give children named Peter, Susan and Lucy “tools, not toys”—including a sword and a red shield emblazoned with the picture of a lion?
- What is the official title of Clement C. Moore's “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”?
- Boris Karloff, who narrated the animated special “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” famously played what famous movie monster, originally created by Mary Shelley?
- What Scottish poet wrote the poem “Auld Lang Syne” in 1788?
- What Yeats’ poem ends with the line, “Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born”?
- How many ghosts visited Scrooge in A Christmas Carol?
- This term originally referred to the feast which commemorates Visit of the Three Kings, but it could also, thanks largely to James Joyce, refer to a sudden realization of something. What’s the term?
- Dr. Seuss created an iconic Christmas character in 1957. What's Dr. Seuss' real name?
- What is the name of Scrooge’s former employer, the proprietor of a warehouse who would host Christmas balls?
- What Christmas ballet is based on an 1816 short story by M. T. A. Hoffman about a toy that comes to life?
- What Irish poet, famous for “Don’t go gently into that good night,” also wrote “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”?
2. Uncle Jack Finch
3. Invisibility Cloak
4. Twelfth Night
5. Baby Jesus, Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
6. Robert Frost
7. New York (or Benedict Arnold)
8. Washington Irving
9. Paradise Lost
10. A Christmas Story
11. Light in August
12. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
13. "A Visit from St. Nicholas"
14. Frankenstein's monster
15. Robert Burns
16. "The Second Coming"
17. Four (Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come)
19. Theodore Giesel
21. The Nutcracker
22. Dylan Thomas