Answers are posted here.
If you've ever tried one of our Treehouse Christmas Quizzes before, you know that we like to play hard. But we hope you have fun too. (2009 Quiz. 2007 Snowed-in Quiz, mixed with a Carnival of Homeschooling. 2006 Quiz. 2006 Quiz with helpful hints.)
UPDATE: No guesses yet? Okay, Round Two: I've added hints.
As always: your "mission Impossible, played on jingle bells" (to quote Amy Dacyczyn) is to identify the book or story to which the passage belongs.
1. We went early to bed on this holiday night. For Christmas morning was to be unlike any we had ever known. It began with a blue mirage. We were away at sunrise, driving south, then west to Yaqui Well. Looking east toward the Salton Sea, across the California Painted Desert, we became aware of what appeared to be a range of distant mountains, bluish and banded. As we watched, they altered shape. The higher peaks became lower. The skyline changed. At times, we seemed to see trees and buildiings, all vague and wavering, as though glimpsed through blue water. By the time we turned away, the long mirage had begun to dissolve into vertical bands of lighter and darker blue.
Hints: Ambleside Online. Natural History. Seasons.
2. On the night of Christmas Eve the Abbey was so still it might have been thought to be empty, or the nuns asleep, but when the bell sounded at ten o'clock, from all corners, especially from the church, silent figures made their way to their station in the long cloister....Voice succeeded voice through two hours until the priests, vested in white and gold, with their servers came in procession from the sacristy for the tenderness and triumph of the midnight Mass. Lauds of Christmas followed straight after, and at two o'clock the community went to the refectory for hot soup, always called "cock soup" because it was the first taste of meat or chicken they had had since Advent began; the soup was served with rice--"beautifully filling," said Hilary in content--and after it came two biscuits and four squares of chocolate. "Chocolate!" "We need to keep our strength up," said Dame Ursula.
Hints: Author better known for children's books. Nuns. Film with Diana Rigg.
3. Mother used to send a box of candy every Christmas to the people the Airedale bit. The list finally contained forty or more names. Nobody could understand why we didn't get rid of the dog. I didn't understand it very well myself, but we didn't get rid of him....Muggs lived to be almost eleven years old and even when he could hardly get around he bit a Congressman who had called to see my father on business. My mother had never liked the Congressman....but she sent him a box of candy that Christmas. He sent it right back, probably because he suspected it was trick candy. Mother persuaded herself it was all for the best....
Hints: American humorist who liked to draw odd cartoons.
4. "I wish I had a pink Angora sweater," Anne said. "Marilyn has two. A pale blue one and a pale pink one."
"Two?" Joan said. "Are you sure? They're twenty-five dollars, you know."
"Marilyn's rich," Anne said. "She gets thirty-five dollars a month just to spend on clothes."
Don said, "I can't understand why we let the Russians into Berlin."
Anne said, "Marilyn's going to spend Christmas in Palm Springs."
I said, "Palm Springs is the last place I would want to spend Christmas. Who wants hot weather and palm trees for Christmas?"
"I do," Anne said wistfully. "I'm so sick of rain I could die."
"Me too," Joan said. "Marilyn's going to get her own car when she's sixteen."
Don said, "Of course Russia had the world bluffed and our policy of appeasement, uncertainty and double-talk isn't fooling anybody but ourselves."
I said, "Possessions don't bring happiness. Happiness is something you must find in your own self."
"Well, it would be a lot easier to find if I had a car of my own," Anne said.
Hint: Author of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books.
5. But in XXX village the bells rang merrily, and the church was fuller than all through the rest of the year, with red faces among the abundant dark-green boughs--faces prepared for a longer service than usual by an odourous breakfast of toast and ale. Those green boughs, the hymn and anthem never heard but at Christmas....brought a vague exulting sense, for which the grown men could as little have found words as the children, that something great and mysterious had been done for them in heaven above and in earth below, which they were appropriating by their presence. And then the red faces made their way through the black biting frost to their own homes, feeling themselves free for the rest of the day to eat, drink, and be merry, and using that Christmas freedom without diffidence.
Hint: Classic English novel, NOT Dickens. Missing gold.
6. December is the first winter month. The ground is often covered with snow. The days are dark and cold and night falls early. Now is the time to be in the barn. There is hay and grain to eat. There are places to play or hide or dream. There are warm straw beds. December is the last month of the year. Now is the time to catch up on sleep. Everyone goes to bed earlier in wintertime.
Hint: Children's book. Lots of animals.
7. "Well, my last crime was a Christmas crime, a cheery, cosy, English middle-class crime; a crime of Charles Dickens. I did it in a good old middle-class house near Putney, a house with a crescent of carriage drive, a house with a stable by the side of it, a house with the name on the two outer gates, a house with a monkey tree. Enough, you know the species. I really think my imitation of Dickens's style was dexterous and literary. It seems almost a pity I repented the same evening."
Hint: English detective stories, NOT Agatha Christie.
8. For all of our twenty-eight years in Switzerland we have had the five-o'clock Christmas Eve Service in Champéry, with over a hundred candles to be put in wooden candleholders made of rough logs, and also fastened on fresh green trees....The Christmas tree has been trimmed the night before, during a traditional time of drinking iced ginger ale and eating homemade Christmas cookies spread out in lovely rows on a tray. The Christmas stockings, filled with all sorts of interesting but inexpensive things, are the old hand-knitted stockings our girls wore the first years in Switzerland. Full of holes, but still usable, they add much in the way of memories as they are pulled out one night and filled and then found on Christmas morning.
Hint: Wife of well-known 20th century theologian.
9. It didn't matter any more that she had once chased me through the Glen with a codfish--it didn't matter that she had smeared goose-grease all over my dreams of romance....I would never dislike Mary Vance again. I went over to her and kissed her....She got Susan and me a tip-top breakfast and made us eat it, and 'bossed the life out of us,' as Susan says, for two days, until the roads were opened so that she could get home. [The baby] was almost well by that time and father turned up. He heard our tale without saying much. Father is rather scornful generally about what he calls 'old wives' remedies.' He laughed a little and said, 'After this, Mary Vance will expect me to call her in for consultation in all my serious cases.' So Christmas was not so hard as I expected it to be; and now the New Year is coming--and we are still hoping for the 'Big Push' that will end the war....
Hint: Last book in famous Canadian fiction series.
10. I do think it's a very uneven exchange of Christmas presents. You'll eat yours up in a week and have nothing left to show for it by New Year's Day. I'll have mine till the day I die--and die happy in the knowledge that I'm leaving it behind for someone else to love. I shall sprinkle pale pencil marks through it pointing out the best passages to some book-lover yet unborn. Thank you all. Happy New Year.
Hint: Film with Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft. Lots and lots of books.