How Much Do You Know About Victorian Christmas Traditions?

By: Heather Cahill
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
How Much Do You Know About Victorian Christmas Traditions?
Image: Burak Karademir / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Queen Victoria was known for her ability to popularize many things. Christmas became one of these, as her traditions impacted the people of her era as well as all of us to come afterward. Under her reign, there were many firsts concerning Christmas. One example is the Christmas tree, which she and her husband Prince Albert brought to England from his homeland of Germany. But that's not all! Christmas cards became hugely popular during the era as mass production grew.

Without the Victorian traditions that have been passed on to us, our Christmases would be much different than the festive celebrations we enjoy today. Our dinners might be much blander, our gifts could be more expensive, and we might not know as many Christmas carols! The Victorians made things much more fun in many ways. We can also thank them for the significant role that our families play on the holiday. Many of us look forward to going home to spend the holidays with our nearest and dearest, which was something that the Victorians treasured as well.

So, think you know all about the Christmas cheer that the Victorians had? Let's see if you can jingle the winning bell on this quiz!

15 Xmas Pudding
Iowa Ingredient via Youtube
Can you name the food pictured here that was common to find on the table for Christmas dinner?
Christmas pudding
Green bean casserole
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Along with a feast of goose, it was common for Victorians to enjoy some Christmas pudding. This pudding included beef suet, flour, eggs, dried fruits, candied peels and brandy. This pudding was boiled, then aged, then steamed before serving.

12 Goose
GMVozd / E+ / Getty Images
A goose is what part of the Victorian Christmas?
The main attraction
An appetizer
A light snack before bed
A meal to last a week
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Meat was an important part of the Victorian Christmas dinner, and for many families, the centerpiece was a roasted goose. Other popular meat dishes included standing rib or beef, boar's head and oysters.

14 Carolers in Doorway
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This door-to-door event was first started by the Victorians. Do you know what it is called?
Trick or treating
Christmas caroling
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Christmas carolers were all about the same thing back then as they are today — spreading Christmas joy and cheer to all! TThe tradition merges two older practices — visiting from house to house while offering good cheer and singing traditional songs called carols.


13 Reading
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When they weren't playing games, Victorians were reading. Which author's stories were often read on the holidays during this era?
George Eliot
Elizabeth Gaskell
Charles Dickens
Thomas Hardy
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Charles Dickens was an accomplished author who wrote many Christmas stories during the Victorian era. You'll surely recognize one of his most famous works: "A Christmas Carol," featuring Ebenezer Scrooge.

16 Wassail Punch
Iowa Ingredient via Youtube
It could be quite cold in England around Christmas time, so who was the wassail punch traditionally served to?
The less fortunate
Queen Victoria
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Carolers were admired and appreciated in the Victorian era, and they were often rewarded with delicious hot wassail punch. Some of the ingredients that went into it were apples, cider, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon sticks.

Queen Victoria 9
WikiCommons by Franz Xaver
Queen Victoria's husband is credited with a few traditions surrounding the holiday. What became popular, thanks to Prince Albert?
Christmas trees
Gingerbread cookies
Santa Claus
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Prince Albert, who was born in Germany, popularized the German idea of having a Christmas tree in England. He and Queen Victoria personally decorated their tree in the palace, something that became popular around the country and later around the world.


26 Tree Farm
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There are many important parts to Christmas, but what was one of the central themes of the Victorian holiday?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Family is one crucial part of Christmas for most of us today, but we have the Victorians to thank for making it this way. The family took part in many Christmas traditions, such as decorating the tree, exchanging gifts, attending church and feasting.

23 Sparkling Decorations
ThomasVogel / E+ / Getty Images
Some traditions had unique names, and this one is no exception! Do you know what the word "pantomime" refers to?
A servant
A performance
A royal assembly
A manufacturer
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you didn't get enough entertainment from reading Christmas stories, a pantomime would have been a great event. Held in theaters, Christmas pantomimes featured music and gesturing performers, acting out stories.

27 Santa
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What was a common way to address Santa in England at this time?
Santa Christmas
Ole Saint Richard
Father Christmas
Sinter Klaas
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Father Christmas" was commonly used to refer to the figure we know today as Santa Claus. In fact, many of the names you've heard for Santa Claus around the world are still in use today. The Victorians also called him St. Nicholas.


19 Boxing Day
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Boxing Day to us is a time of returning items and getting some of the best deals around. What happened on this day in the Victorian age?
Boxing matches took place.
Everyone slept all day.
A parade through the streets
Servants opened their gifts.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Boxing Day was extra special for servants, as they were given gifts by their bosses. It was a day for them to kick back and relax without worrying about their duties and obligations. Sometimes the boxes included leftovers from Christmas dinner.

Hero - If You Were a Holiday Candle, What Scent Would You Be
Pexels by Pixabay
The first Sunday of Advent would mark the start of which tradition?
Christmas dinner
Hanging tinsel
Singing Christmas carols
Lighting the Advent wreath
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Many kids look forward to their candy-filled Advent calendars today, but it was much different in the past. The Victorians had Advent wreaths with four candles — with one candle lit on each Sunday of Advent before Christmas.

34 Xmas Couple
Steve Prezant / Image Source / Getty Images
Though it started in Victorian times, the meaning of this decoration hasn't changed much. What decoration shows that love is in the air during the holidays?
Kissing bough
Christmas star
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

What was known as a kissing bough in Victorian days has evolved into our mistletoe tradition. A kissing bough was usually a round ball made from ash or twigs, with greens and other decorations inserted.


18 Storytime
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Stories were popular in this time, but what genre really took over during Christmas?
Ghost stories
Adventure stories
Romance stories
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Usually Christmas is filled with cheer and happiness, but the Victorians also enjoyed a little scare! It's a tradition that has carried into modern times as well. Just look at our many modern adaptations of "A Christmas Carol!"

30 Lit Up Tree
Holly Anissa Photography / Moment / Getty Images
Can you guess which country first popularized the indoor Christmas tree?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Germans loved to bring Christmas trees into their homes to decorate, although they looked a little different than our decorated trees today. Instead of putting ornaments on like we do today, the trees were often decorated with items like roses or fruit.

28 Stockings
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The less fortunate often made stockings for the holidays and for giving gifts. What were they filled with?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Fruit was an important part of Christmas for the less fortunate. It was a great filler for their stockings, often paired with other little items such as nuts. Unfortunately, more elaborate gifts were out of reach for them, but they made the most of what they had.


35 Decorating Tree
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Today, some of us never even take our trees down! When was the Victorian Christmas tree typically decorated?
Boxing Day
December 1
The night before Christmas
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This gives a new meaning to the story! Victorians didn't give themselves much time to fully prepare, but they must have had their gifts wrapped ahead of time. Then all they had to do was put the gifts on the tree as they decorated to get ready for the next day.

21 Kid with Present
Rebecca Nelson / Image Source / Getty Images
When Christmas was first celebrated in Victorian times, how were the gifts presented?
Under the tree
Keeping the presents hidden
By the fire
Hanging from the tree
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Who needs ornaments when the Christmas tree is decorated with many hanging presents? Of course, hanging presents had to be small — they included such items as fruit, handmade gifts and nuts.

10 Xmas Tree Bokeh
Sean Gladwell / Moment / Getty Images
The first artificial Victorian Christmas tree was made of what?
Goose feathers
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Today we have Christmas trees made of all types of materials, in many different styles and colors. In Victorian days, however, most artificial trees were made of goose feathers. This tradition came from Germany.


24 Beef Dinner
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Meat was a luxury at this time. What type of meat did rich Victorian families eat for their holiday dinner?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Meats such as beef were quite expensive, so only the rich typically had them for Christmas dinner. In fact, beef was a status symbol to show guests that they were able to afford the luxuries of the time.

17 Street Decorations
Julius Reque / Moment / Getty Images
The waits weren't the only ones to go door to door. Who else did this during the holidays?
The royals
The police
The church
The less fortunate
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The less fortunate of the time often visited homes around Christmas, hoping that wealthier families would share some extra food or other items. Such donations would help them to have a Christmas feast or celebration with their own families.

31 Gifts
Catherine MacBride / Moment / Getty Images
Due to greater disposable income and innovations in machinery, what became popular in Europe in the Victorian era?
Convenience stores
Secret Santa
Mass production
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Mass production played a huge role in Victorian Christmas celebrations. Before this time, many people didn't have the disposable income to spend on items for Christmas, but once they did, there was much demand for toys and other holiday items.


7 Onesie
Ariel Skelley / DigitalVision / Getty Images
What was a common time to open gifts in this time period?
After breakfast
Around lunch
At midnight
Whenever they felt like it
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

After breakfast was a common time for Victorians to open their gifts with family. Gifts would be opened before the family headed off to church, another important part of the day.

3 Under Tree
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It wasn't a true celebration without this crucial piece! Which item was hidden in the tree for good luck?
A glass pickle
An apple
A present
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

One thing that you may not have known about the Victorians and their Christmas traditions is that they loved to hide glass pickles in their trees. Can you guess why they would do this? The first child to find the pickle was given an extra present.

25 Evergreen
Annie Otzen / DigitalVision / Getty Images
What was placed during the holidays as a symbol of Christ?
Evergreen tree
Pine boughs
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The evergreen tree came to be a symbol of the trinity, being triangular, and it was a symbol of Christ. Germans were the first to bring Christmas trees into their homes, and the people of Victorian England followed suit.


9 Sparkly Ornament
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Ads were just as important back then as they are now. Can you name the holiday accessory that was first advertised in 1853?
Christmas trees
Wrapping paper
Christmas tree ornaments
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

People decorated their trees before this, but commercially produced Christmas ornaments were first advertised in 1853. These ornaments, usually made of glass, were mass-produced as demand increased.

33 Dog Head in Present
Brigitte Blättler / Moment / Getty Images
What did you get if you were the first to find the glass pickle?
You got to open your present first.
You earned good luck for the coming year.
You got to pick a song for the carolers.
You were allowed to have a friend over for Christmas.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Getting yourself into a pickle was good on Christmas Day! If you found the pickle ornament hidden in the Christmas tree, you usually got a special privilege or good luck for the coming year. If you were in a wealthy family at this time, you might have even received an extra gift. Origins of this tradition are rather murky.

20 Table Setting
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Rich families ate expensive meats for Christmas dinner. What did poorer families eat?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Meat was an important part of the Victorian Christmas dinner, and oysters were an affordable option for the less fortunate. In fact, one Charles Dickens character states, "Poverty and oysters always seem to go together."


22 Xmas Card
CasarsaGuru / E+ / Getty Images
Who is credited with the invention and popularization of the Christmas card?
Queen Victoria
Alexander Graham Bell
Sir Henry Cole
Charles Dickens
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Victorian era was a time of innovation, and one such innovation was the Christmas card. Sir Henry Cole's first mass-produced Christmas card offers a glimpse into the time, showing a family as they enjoy their holiday. Images of charity are also featured. Written on it is "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you."

29 Couple Watching TV
You might be surprised to find out that a winter sport wasn't the most popular to play at this time! Football (soccer) was played on which day in December?
Christmas Day
Boxing Day
The first of December
New Years Eve
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Victorians loved to spend their Christmas Day getting dirty in the game of football, or what Americans call soccer. If the Victorians weren't playing, they were watching and rooting on their favorite teams. Unfortunately, this tradition has been lost over time.

32 Snowman
loops7 / E+ / Getty Images
Which of the following is a Victorian parlor game?
Rock, paper, shoot
Pin the tail on the goose
Hoop and hide
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In this age, games were a great way to pass the time, so it's no secret that the Victorians had lots of them to choose from. One parlor game was hoop and hide, in which people would hide and one person would seek, and those who were found got a kiss.


4 Victorians
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Middle-class Victorians had more disposable income than those in past generations. What did they do with this extra money during the holidays?
Buy more presents
Spend it on food
Donate to charities
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Being a child in a middle-class Victorian family meant having a pretty great Christmas. Presents were more plentiful, and the demand for them went up as people earned more. One of the many popular gifts to give at the time was soap!

11 Carolers
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Christmas carolers had a special name in the Victorian era. What was it?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Waits" were groups of singers who sang Christmas songs, visiting house to house, especially on Christmas Eve. Special permission was required in advance, however, as unauthorized singers could be charged with begging.

2 Xmas Fire
dszc / E+ / Getty Images
Once known as "kisses," what traditional Christmas items were popularized at this time?
Christmas stars
Gingerbread cookies
Christmas crackers
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

It wasn't a Victorian Christmas without the Christmas crackers! These were not the flaky baked crackers you're thinking of, though. Victorian crackers were candies wrapped in tissue paper, twisted at each end, with a small firecracker inside.


1 xmas wreath
bravo1954 / E+ / Getty Images
Today we enjoy our chocolate Advent calendars, but Victorians counted the days in their own way. How many candles were in an Advent wreath?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Advent wreath is made up of four candles, each representing a theme. The themes are love, good fortune, peace and belief — all things that are very important during the Christmas season as well as in everyday life in Victorian times.

5 Mistletoe
Jacky Parker Photography / Moment / Getty Images
It's not as widely used today, but the word "Christmasing" meant what?
Giving anonymous gifts
Making cookies
Gathering mistletoe and holly
Writing Christmas cards
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Back in the Victorian days, "Christmasing" meant gathering or purchasing mistletoe and holly. Mistletoe, in particular, was a rare and expensive decoration to have, showing the status of the homeowner. In fact, it was difficult for sellers to find the plants in the first place.

You Got:
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