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Christmas Trivia

Christmas Entertainment Trivia

There are more classic movies, productions, and songs played during Christmas than any other time of the year. Can you name five classic holiday movies? Theater productions? You can find out answers to these questions and more as you test your Christmas entertainment trivia knowledge with the quick facts below.

What are titles of some of the Classic Holiday Movies?

Christmas entertainment trivia: It's a Wonderful Life is a classic holiday movie.
It's a Wonderful Life is a classic holiday movie.

  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • Holiday Inn
  • White Christmas
  • The Lemon Drop Kid
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • The Santa Clause
  • A Christmas Story
  • Home Alone
  • Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Scrooged
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Do you know the history of Holidays at Rockefeller Center?

In New York, it's not officially Christmastime until the tree is lit at Rockefeller Center. The first tree appeared in 1931, during the Great Depression, when workers placed a tree in the dirt of a construction site. That year, the tree symbolized Christmas as much as it did hope and the invincible human spirit.

Increase your Christmas entertainment trivia knowledge with this fact: The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center has more than 25,000 lights.
The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center
is adorned with more than 25,000 lights.

In 1933, the current tradition began with a tree decorated with 700 lights placed in front of the newly completed RCA Building. The Rockefeller Plaza Outdoor Ice-Skating Pond opened in 1936.

The decorating themes and festivities have varied from year to year. In 1941, two reindeer borrowed from the Bronx Zoo were housed in cages beside the Prometheus Fountain. In 1942, during World War II, three living trees graced the Center.

In an act of patriotism, one tree was decorated in red, another in white, and the other in blue. However, because of wartime restrictions on electricity, the trees were not illuminated.

In 1949, the tree was painted silver. In 1951, the entire nation witnessed the tree-lighting ceremony when it was televised on The Kate Smith Show. And by 1964, the ceremony had become an annual event, with celebrities such as Johnny Carson, Hugh Downs, Ed McMahon, Barbara Walters, Debbie Reynolds, Marlo Thomas, and Phil Donahue hosting the show.

Today, the annual Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center is typically adorned with more than 25,000 lights but no other ornaments except for the star on top.

Who is Rankin-Bass?

Rudolph, Frosty, and Kris Kringle were all brought to life on television, thanks to the work of Rankin-Bass. The television production company founded by Arthur Rankin, Jr., and Jules Bass achieved fame in 1964 when they created an animated adaptation of the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

Narrated by Burl Ives, with an original orchestral score by Johnny Marks, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was an instant hit and today is one of the longest-running Christmas specials in television history.

Rudolph's success was soon followed by several other holiday hits produced by Rankin-Bass:

  • "The Little Drummer Boy," 1968, narrated by Greer Garson, featured the Vienna Boys' Choir
  • "Frosty the Snowman," 1969, narrated by Jimmy Durante, with Jackie Vernon as Frosty
  • "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town," 1970, narrated by Fred Astaire, with Mickey Rooney as Kris Kringle
  • "Frosty's Winter Wonderland," 1976, narrated by Andy Griffith and starred Shelley Winters as Crystal
  • "Rudolph's Shiny New Year," 1976, with Red Skelton as Father Time
  • "Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey", 1977, featured original music by Gene Autry
  • "Jack Frost," 1979, with songs written by Al Jolsen and Mel Tormé

Sharpen your Christmas entertainment trivia knowledge with this tidbit: A Christmas Story is a classic holiday movie.
The 1983 film A Christmas Story became an instant classic.

Rankin-Bass Trivia: What animated shows did Rankin-Bass create in the 1970s?

Christmas Song Trivia: The Nutcracker is a full-length ballet, based on The Nutcracker of Nuremberg.
The Nutcracker is a full-length ballet,
based on The Nutcracker of Nuremberg.

  • Though all of the later merchandise from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer features "Herbie," the elf-turned-dentist, his actual name is "Hermey."

  • In the 1970s, Rankin-Bass created animated versions of The Jackson Five Show and The Osmonds.
  • Rankin-Bass television specials were produced using stop-motion animation. This early type of technology gives the appearance that still objects are moving.

    The object is photographed in a single frame, then moved ever so slightly before being photographed again.

    When the frames are put together, the objects appear to move by themselves. Stop-motion animation is similar to a cartoon but is produced with real objects instead of drawings.

What is The Nutcracker?

In 1890, following the success of the Russian ballets Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, composer Peter Tchaikovsky, choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, and set designer Ivan Vsevolozhsky created what would become one of the best-loved ballets of all time.

The Nutcracker, a full-length ballet, was based on The Nutcracker of Nuremberg, by Alexandre Dumas, which he adapted from The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, by German writer E.T.A. Hoffman. In December 1892, the ballet opened at the Mariinsky Theatre of Russia to mixed reviews.

It wasn't until 1944 that an American ballet company performed the masterpiece. Choreographed by W. Christensen, the San Francisco Opera Ballet produced the first full-length American production, with Jocelyn Vollmar dancing as the Snow Queen.

So you’ve had your fill of Christmas entertainment trivia, and you’re hungry for more. Continue to the next section to test your Christmas food knowledge with our fun Christmas food trivia questions.