The X in X-Mas

I initially started my last blog post complaining about the abbreviation of “Christmas” to “x-mas.” It all flowed very nicely, and I felt that all of my points were fully conveyed. I was ready to post, so I sent it to a few friends to be sure I didn’t make any grammatical mistakes. The feedback, however, was not at all what I had anticipated.

The post started with me ranting about the lunch ladies at school wishing us a “Merry X-Mas.” This really bothers me. Christmas is about Christ. You can’t just shorten it to “x-mas” in order to save a little time and space. It’s Christmas for a reason.

I was told that was too harsh, so I added that I do realize that the lunch ladies aren’t intentionally taking Christ out of Christmas, but I also think it’s worth the extra effort to go ahead and write out Christ instead of writing an X. This made it a little better, but my friend still had some feedback to give.

The term X-mas comes from the Greek symbol ☧ meaning Christ. Many other words use the same symbol (Wikipedia does a fine job of listing those for you). The X was not someone being lazy and shortening Christ to X. The X is not people trying to take Christ out of Christmas – not initially, at least.

I tried to keep all of this in my other post, but it just didn’t fit. Once I edited it out, though, I realized it was something I really needed to share. I’d been assuming that people were lazy and sacrilegious when really there is a totally legitimate reason for the abbreviation. I guess the point of this is to do a little research before deciding to judge others. You never know what you’ll find.

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