Quizmas Carols: Family Trivia Fun with Classic Christmas Songs.


234 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 978-0-14-305477-1
DDC 394.2663




Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



Nine short essays serve as chapter breaks in this weighty collection of over 400 trivia questions on the topic of carols and other Christmas music. These mini-text segments provide a bit of history, a few notes on authors of some well-known carols, plus a sprinkle of background filler and legends. The subjects are wide-ranging, from the legends around the writing of “Silent Night” to the story of “The Huron Carol,” from the popularity of “White Christmas” to the “Live Aid” movement. There are notes on Christmas songs in which kangaroos and kookaburras replace reindeer and partridge, and on Messiah, “Ave Maria,” and other seasonal music not usually classified as carols. The essays also provide some structure to the mass of trivia questions, promoting groupings such as early carols, English carols, children’s songs, classic carols, etc.


What to do with 400 trivia questions? The authors suggest selecting a number for use as family entertainment, as icebreakers at social events, or for competitive team activities. High school teachers should love it. For each topic (modern carols, American carols, and so forth) the questions are grouped by level of difficulty — three levels per topic. To make this into a game for which prizes can be awarded, the authors suggest assigning one, two, or three points per correct answer, according to level of difficulty.


The questions, at all levels, are challenging. They assume a knowledge of such diverse subjects as Church Latin, English, and European folklore, classical music, English literature, pagan rites, and the media.


The questions are all multiple choice, with the answers given in an appendix. The lack of an index is a source of frustration.


Pape, Gordon, and Deborah Kerbel., “Quizmas Carols: Family Trivia Fun with Classic Christmas Songs.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/26771.