Christmas is among the jolliest of holiday seasons, especially here in America. Department stores deck out their windows, communities throw spectacular parades, and millions of people put up sparkling lights in and around their homes for the month of December.
But did you know that many of our most beloved American holiday traditions, like Christmas cards and trees, were actually influenced by the US’s immigrant past? According to Kenneth C. Davis, New York Times bestselling author of Don’t Know Much about History know much about history, Christmas in the United States is a beautiful hodgepodge of international traditions:
“We have a strong tradition of English and German traditions as well as other ideas,” explains Davis. “The stockings hung by the chimney originated in the Nordic countries. And of course Santa Claus is a combination of a great many Father Christmas-Pere Noel traditions.” So how does this make America unique? “While other countries have distinctive Christmas traditions, Americans get the best of many worlds,” says Davis.
So as you and your family are gathering around the Yule log (originally from Scandinavia), test your Christmas smarts in this quiz excerpted from Davis’s book, Don’t Know Much about Anything Else.