Festive Quiz

This quiz makes some assumptions about the way that various mid-winter festivals are celebrated in the modern world. Feel free to change it to suit your circumstances.

Which mid-winter festival(s) did your family celebrate when you were a child?


Which mid-winter festival(s) do you celebrate as an adult?

None. Oh, ok. Christmas if you insist.

And New Year, so long as it doesn’t involve being snogged by strangers.

Earliest Midwinter / Christmas / Hanukkah / Diwali / Solstice / New Year / etc memory?

Not sure, just a general feeling of sustained excitement, I think. It was always wonderful when the Christmas decorations go up.

How did you find out that Santa does not exist?

Again, I am not sure, I think I always knew he came into the same category as fairy-stories – I remember writing my Christmas Letter to Santa and burning it on the fire, thinking “well, the grown-ups expect it, don’t they”.

How old were you?

See above. 5?

Bestest ever ever EVER present?

A toy typewriter. Aged 5. Though I was bitterly disappointed that it took me another decade to learn to type.

It’s better to give than receive – which gift that you gave someone else pleased you the most to give?

Tricky, this one. I gave my father a garden bench once, but that was a birthday present. But it did please me to give it to him.

Favourite festive tradition?

Carol singing, as a singer or an audient. But it must be real singers and real carols. I have been known to accost the organisers of mechanical carol floats and abuse them. It is just possible that abusing the organisers of mechanical carol singing is in fact my favourite festive tradition.

Least favourite festive tradition?

Over-eating. In what possible world do we need mincemeat pies and christmas cake and christmas pudding and stollen and marzipan logs all on the same day? The trouble is that we have accreted traditions rather than selected them.

What do you eat for your main festival meal?

Turkey and trimmings usually, and christmas pud.

Who prepares it?

It varies, this year it’ll be me and the one I prepare meals with.

How long is your (Christmas) card list?

Dunno. 30-ish. It used to be longer, but my most recently gained friends are on-line.

Presents – all at once or one at a time?

One at a time, for preference. I’m nosey and like to see who’s got what.

Worst ever festive memory?

Flu. Real, bone aching, head throbbing, feverish, wish-I-were-dead-RIGHT-NOW flu.

Just what, exactly, do you understand by the phrase “all the trimmings”?

Cocktail saussages with streaky bacon wrapped around them. Roast potatoes. Sprouts. Carrots. Another veg, probably leeks. Stuffing, two kinds, one each end. And gravy which has had to be seived, because there was a sudden disaster with the flour.

Stocking or pillow-case?


Queen’s speech or James Bond?

Neither Either. Not bothered.

Best yule-tide film?

Another tricky one, because I watch so few movies. I am trying really hard not to type “It’s a Wonderful Life”, especially as I’ve only seen about 45 minutes of it.

Least toe-curlingly awful Seasonal Special of a normal TV show?

Got to be Angela Rippon’s appearance on Morcambe and Wise. Who’d have thought she had legs, let alone such long ones. I can actually remember the feeling of “oh my god, what’s happened, it’s CHRISTMAS, it must be something AWFUL” when she appeared on the screen when it first went out. Yes, I am that old. Just.

Strangest festive tradition or habit of a family other than your own?

My former in-laws all open their presents at the same time, rip the paper and throw it away afterwards. This deeply shocked me the first time I spent Christmas with them. It also meant that I’d no idea who’d got what for Christmas. Very disappointing if you’re half as curious about these things as I was.

Oh, and they play Canasta. Or scrabble.

How early is “too early” as in “Christmas starts too early these days”?

You don’t want to know my answer to this one. More realistically, anything before December is “too early” in my book.

Have you ever been to the appropriate religious ceremony on the festive day, such as Midnight Mass or Eucharist on Christmas Day If so, when was the last time you went?

Midnight mass – I went two years ago; I rather like Midnight Mass. Church on Christmas Day? A year or so before that, as light relief from the Buddhists. I’d been to a Buddhist Puja on the same day, which was peaceful.

(UK only) Farepak – have you given? http://www.farepakresponsefund.org.uk/

Not yet.

Single mother, pregnant and homeless? Crisis is another appropriate cause.

Those Christmas puds look good.

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