Myth or Fact Quiz: How Well Do You Know Santa Claus?

SEASONAL

3 PLAYS

Sarah Crozer

5 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Christmas season is here! Time to bundle up, and bask in the ambience of string lights and soft carols playing in the background. What better opportunity to recall our favorite Christmas character? Test your knowledge on the legend now by guessing whether each statement is a fact or a myth!!

Santa was always depicted as joyous.

Early illustrations of St. Nicholas show him as a stern and commanding man. He was more a symbol of discipline and punishment than the jolly and overweight children know today!

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Mrs. Claus was with Santa since they were babies.

Santa was a bachelor until the late 1800’s! Mrs. Claus wasn’t mentioned until the short story “Christmas Legend” by James Rees in 1849!

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Rudolph’s nose was bright so he could get Santa's attention.

The tale says Rudolph's nose was lit to light the way during a storm. In reality however, scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is the result of a parasitic infection!

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Santa’s reindeer are all male.

Comet, Blitzen, Donner are all male names, but male reindeer in fact shed their antlers around Christmas time! So the reindeer might just be female!

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Santa Claus is based on a real person.

Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra, who lived during the fourth century. He is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint!

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Santa Claus has always been overweight.

It wasn’t until 1809 that Santa Clause got fat, and by the late 1800’s he was wearing the red suit and leather boots!

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Santa has 24 hours to deliver all presents.

Santa actually has almost two days to deliver the presents. While in one part of the world it is in daylight, and in another it is night, Santa travels through three different time zones on Christmas Eve, giving him more time!

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Santa is very old.

According to legends, Santa was born in 270 AD. This would mean that he is over 1,000 years old!

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Mrs. Claus designed Santa’s clothing.

An advertising company inspired Santa Claus’ well known clothing. Santa Claus got his bright red suit when Coca-Cola Company used the well-known Santa Claus with red clothing, white beard and a belt in their marketing campaign!

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Santa didn’t always have a beard.

17th century Dutch settlers brought the jolly fat man to America's shores and their image of Santa was “tall, slender and very dignified” without his trademark beard.

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Stockings hung on the fireplace became traditional because of Santa.

Nicholas drops three bags of gold down the chimney of a struggling family. They fall into the daughters’ freshly washed stockings that have been hung by the fire to dry and his gift saves the family!

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Donner and Blitzen were Santa’s original reindeer.

The two reindeer were not originally part of Santa’s crew. They were also originally named “Dunder” and “Blixem!”

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If you are naughty, you will get a lump of coal in your stocking.

This tradition comes from Italy but is not recognized everywhere! Santa supposedly watches children all year and judges if they are naughty or nice!

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Santa comes during the night of Christmas eve.

This is when he is said to come delivers the presents. He must come when children are asleep so they don't see him!

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Santa is typically very jolly.

Santa is known to be very jolly! According to the poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” Santa is described as “a jolly old elf with cheeks like roses and a little round belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly!”

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Rudolph’s nose saves Christmas.

Rudolph was added to Santa’s team of reindeer. His original 8 could not see to fly through the storm. Rudolph and his glowing nose lit the way for Santa’s sleigh!

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Santa is an elf.

Santa is an old elf, but is based on a real person. His character is based on the Bishop Saint Nicholas of Myra!

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All countries praise one Santa.

In fact, Iceland has 13 Santas!! One of which kidnaps children!

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Tradition lets on that Rudolph saves Santa.

The story lets on that a misfit reindeer named Rudolph saves the day for Santa on a foggy Christmas Eve! When his nose lights up, Santa and the other reindeer can see their way through the fog and storm!

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Santa Claus originated in the US.

The American version of Santa Claus originally came from the Dutch, who called him Saint Nikolas. The Dutch settlers in New York brought this tradition to America!

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Saint Nicholas was known for his flying ability.

He became famous for giving gifts and money to the poor! His perks of flying in his sled came later!

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Santa was always seen in red and white clothes.

Coca Cola was said to be the company whom introduced the red and white suit as part of Santa’s image! Before then, his robes were all sorts of colors!

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There is always eight reindeer pulling his sleigh.

There is 9 reindeer with the inclusion of Rudolph. A Greek professor wrote “Twas The Night Before Christmas” in 1822. It spoke of only 8 reindeer pulling the sleigh, until “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was written!

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A goat performed his job in some regions.

Before the Santa Claus myth reached Scandinavian countries, they were already celebrating with the magic of a “Yule Goat” which monitored celebrations and gifts during that time!

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Santa has his own zip code.

This is true! Santa Claus’ workshop up in the North Pole is so very vast that it takes up a whole zip code. The Canada Post has been accepting mail to old Saint Nick. The letters received are replied to by the employees!

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He only eats milk and cookies.

Santa can't just eat cookies! In Britain and Australia, he is sometimes given sherry or beer, and mince pies instead. In Sweden and Norway, children leave rice porridge. In Ireland, it is popular to give him Guinness or milk, along with Christmas pudding!

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Santa was always known to slide down the chimney.

In his satiric 1809 book A History of New York, Washington Irving described Santa as a portly, bearded man who smokes a pipe. Irving's story also marked the first time Santa slid down the chimney!

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Saint Nicholas spent time behind bars.

Traditional stories explain that Saint Nicholas spent several years in prison because of his faith. Many prisoners were said to be converted to the Christian faith by his witness!

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Santa always enters through the chimney.

In 1841 a merchant hired a man to dress up as Santa and shimmy into the chimney of his department store! Word got around, illustrations and stories quickly formed! In Europe Santa is believed to come down for the sake of not needing to leave the window open, exposing families to the cold!

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Santa has a naughty or nice list.

His naughty or nice list is not recognized by all cultures. However, the naughty and nice list originated from Nordic folk tales in which a magician rewarded good children. In Italy being on the naughty list meant receiving coal in your stocking!

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His only getup is the well known red suit.

Originally he was dressed in traditional Bishop’s robes. It wasn’t until the 20th century that he began to be dressed in the more commonly known red and white outfit.

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Despite the region, Santa Claus related characters are all friendly.

In Scandinavian tales there are some mischievous characters. Some even stealing children away!

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Santa Claus was modest and humble.

In Saint Nicholas' time, a young woman had to have a dowry before she could be married. According to the stories, Saint Nicholas wanted to help a poor nobleman with three daughters. He gave for the joy of giving!

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Santa makes all the toys himself.

Santa has elves to help him make the toys. They are said to all be hard at work at the North Pole year round preparing for Christmas!

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Saint Nicholas and Jesus knew each other.

According to tradition, Saint Nicholas, the beloved bishop of Myra, obeyed Christ’s command that we help all those who are in need.

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