About Christmas TV History

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

TV Guide Christmas Quiz from 1996

If you follow me on Instagram (I'm @TistheSeasonTV--here's a link), then you know I've had my head stuck in old TV Guide magazines lately. Seeing the decades-old advertisements for Christmas TV movies, specials and animation gets my heart pounding with excitement. There are other bits of info and features in the magazines that catch my attention too. When I stumbled across a quiz that tests knowledge of Christmas episodes, I knew I wanted to share it here.

How well do you know Christmas TV episodes?

I discovered the quiz in the Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 1996 TV Guide magazine. It was written by Rick Schindler. There are twenty questions--and the answers are provided. You just match the question to the correct series episode. Want to play? I've provided the correct answers down below. Just match up the number to the letter. Isn't this fun?

Here's the quiz. Below, I've also written it out. Remember the quiz was written in 1996 so don't consider any series made in the twenty years since then. GOOD LUCK!

Strange occurrences:

1. An orphan who doesn't believe in Santa is magically transported to the North Pole.

2. A time traveler tries to stop a real-estate tycoon from tearing down a mission.

3. A comatose woman is found to be pregnant--despite also being a virgin.

4. A man is kissed under the mistletoe--by a horse.


5. A TV newsroom on Christmas Day.

6. A police station flooded with homeless people.

7. A Chicago hospital, where a doctor is having an emergency tonsillectomy.

8. A high-stakes poker game pitting brother against brother.

9. A Chicago hospital, where a singer is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

10. Stranded in a bus station by a blizzard.

11. Stranded in an airport by a blizzard.

12. Stranded on a space station by mad scientists.

13. A Christmas party with a tropical theme in an overheated apartment.

14. The International Cottage of Flapjacks.


15. A bowler who pawns his bowling ball to buy a Christmas gift for his wife.

16. A former loading-dock foreman whose holiday guest is a draft evader.

17. An ex-astronaut who meets the Korean family he never knew he had.

18. A gentleman farmer who is forbidden to cut down a Christmas tree on his own property.

19. A small-town Scrooge who demands the sheriff arrest a local bootlegger.

20. A TV newswoman who receives the surprise gift of a pony.

Match the question to the Christmas episode:

A. Murphy Brown
B. Picket Fences
C. Friends
D. Northern Exposure
E. The Andy Griffith Show
F. Green Acres
G. All in the Family
H. Mystery Science Theater 3000
I. The Honeymooners
J. A Different World
K. Bewitched
L. Quantum Leap
M. Barney Miller
N. Home Improvement
O. Taxi
P. The Bob Newhart Show
Q. Mister Ed
R. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
T. Martin

While you're working on that quiz, I'll share an amusing cartoon I also found in TV Guide. This particular "That's EnterTOONment" strip was in the Dec. 9-15th, 2000 edition of the magazine. Its humor is aimed at Christmas TV entertainment fans like us.

(click on image to enlarge.)

Ready for the answers?
1. k
2. l
3. b
4. q
5. r
6. m
7. p
8. o
9. s
10. t
11. n
12. h
13. c
14. j
15. i
16. g
17. d
18. f
19. e
20. a

Give yourself 5 points for every correct answer. 0-20 points--Grinch. 25-45 points--Humbug. 50-70 points--Santa's Helper. 75-100 points--Wise Man.  How did you do? Thanks TV Guide.

Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'll start at the top: 1(K) Bewitched: An orphan (Bill Mumy) who doesn't believe in Santa is magically transported to the North Pole by Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery)

  3. I'll match 20 with A...and that's a guess. These are fun--but hard!

    1. Yeah--it was a challenge. I had to repeatedly remind myself the correct answers had to be from before 1996. But your guess is correct! Good for you :)

  4. I'll match 5 (A TV newsroom on Christmas Day) with R (The Mary Tyler Moore Show). This was a Christmas episode called Christmas and the Hard Luck Kid II from the very first season, from 12-19-70. Mary has to spend Christmas alone in the newsroom. The II reference is because James Brooks wrote an episode of That Girl with the same title. I've seen that MTM episode several times and it holds up well. Wikipedia says TV Guide considered it the very best Christmas episode ever. So, Joanna, did that article say that? I agree about these questions being hard and fun, but I'm not sure that's the best Christmas episode ever done.

    1. I've seen many different articles over the years in TV Guide selecting the "best" Christmas episodes--it's never the same list. I think it is a fantastic holiday story about a workplace family though. Thanks for playing--and yes, your response to the game is correct!


  5. Thanks for taking the time to comment and teaching me from your wisdom and experience.

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