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Historic Columbia’s Holiday Happy Hour promises games and trivia

Low angle view of group of cheerful business people toasting to upcoming New Year.
Low angle view of group of cheerful business people toasting to upcoming New Year. Getty Images

Eat, drink and be merry is an underlying theme of the holiday season for many.

Historic Columbia’s Holiday Happy Hour is an opportunity to do all three, a way to kick off the holiday season with a festive happy hour where participants can partake in games, trivia, and activities that connect with past holiday customs.

“We will be playing holiday trivia, musical bingo, and Victorian holiday parlor games,” said James Quint, Historic Columbia’s director of education. “The parlor games would have been played in the 1800s by close friends and relatives of the host family.”

Yes, families and close friends played games during holiday gatherings. After all, there were no football games to watch or Instagram photos to post.

There also will be historic drinks; eggnog, wassail, and other popular beverages consumed as far back as the 1800s. Every 20 minutes, new holiday songs, activities, and beverages are unveiled to represent a new decade of seasonal celebrations.

“We have officially entered the season for holiday parties, and our Holiday Happy Hour is one you don’t want to miss,” said Anna Kate Twitty, Historic Columbia’s director of marketing and communications. “It’s a great way celebrate the holiday festivities and mix history with fun. Plus, we will test your trivia skills and explore traditions of the past. Of course, all with drink in hand!”

Historic Holiday Trivia

Speaking of trivia, here are some trivia questions about Christmas in the 1800s provided by James Quint, Historic Columbia’s director of education. These could be a bit of practice for the holiday trivia for Friday’s Holiday Happy Hour, or could be some questions you can ask your family:

1. How did poinsettias get their name?

2. Why are poinsettias tied to South Carolina?

3. What was the first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday?

4. What was the last state to declare Christmas a legal holiday?

5. True or False: “Jingle Bells” wasn’t originally written to celebrate Christmas.

6. What is the top-selling Christmas song of all time?

7. Who made “White Christmas” popular?

8. Who wrote “White Christmas?”

9. The poem “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” was published in 1823. What title is it better known as today?


1. Poinsettia plants, a popular symbol of the holiday season, was named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, a statesman who brought the plant to the United States from Mexico after being an emissary and then first U.S. minister there from 1822-1829.

2. Joel Roberts Poinsett was from Charleston

3. Alabama

4. Oklahoma

5. True. It was originally written to celebrate Thanksgiving. Published in 1857, it was written by James Lord Pierpont. There is a plaque at 19 High Street in Medord, Mass., the site of the former Simpson Tavern, where Pierpont was said to have written the song in 1850. The original title of the song was “One Horse Open Sleigh,” but that was changed to “Jingle Bells, or the One Horse Open Sleigh” when it was reprinted in 1859.

6. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, “White Christmas.” It has an estimated sales in excess of 100 million copies worldwide.

7. Bing Crosby.

8. Irving Berlin, who was Jewish. Berlin wrote the song in 1942.

9. “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was first published anonymously in 1823. Fourteen years later, Clement Clarke Moore, claimed ownership. Moore said he wrote the poem for his own children and read it to them on Christmas Eve in 1822.

If you go

When: 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30

Where: Robert Mills Carriage House, 1616 Blanding St.

About: Get into the holiday spirit with holiday-themed games, trivia and activities that connect with past customs and traditions.

Details: $20 for members; $25 for non-members and include drinks and light refreshments. Must be 21 or older. historiccolumbia.org; 803-252-1770 ext. 23; reservations@historiccolumbia.org.