Xmas vs. Christmas: Xmas isn't the work of the devil.

posted 2001-Jan-3

OK, I grew up under the assumption that spelling Christmas as “Xmas” was a way of naming the holiday separate from its religious beginnings. I always kinda hated it, thinking that people were so averse to religion that they were x-ing out Christ’s name. (Some kind of politically-correct thing like trying to change women to womyn.)

Plus, I figured it was catching on because it saved space when printing up signs :)

I was just dumb and wrong, and since I’ve heard others voice similar opinions, I thought I’d help to set the record straight: The X in Xmas is actually the greek letter Chi, which was a common abbreviation of Kristos, Christ’s name. (Using the roman alphabet, I’ve also seen it written Xpistos. In greek, I believe that would be Χριστος.)

It is interesting to note, however, that my American Heritage English Dictionary does have the following Usage Note:

The abbreviation Xmas has been used for hundreds of years. In modern use it is considered informal and appropriate only in such commercial contexts as advertisements and signs.

Other authoritative-looking sources backing me up:

11:38AM ET
I believe the X in Xmas is meant for the X-Men. I am woried about making our holidays so mutant specific. The more we give into the constant pressures of adding DNA strand abbreviations into our holidays, the more likely we will lose all of our humanity thus making the holidays very commercial.
11:50AM ET
Womyn is a way of adding a man (the y-chromosome) into the word and is therefore worse than women :)
07:20AM ET
Thank you for the explaination.
03:25PM ET
I believe that adding X is WRONG!! Christ is the Whole reason why we celebrate Christmas. Yes, Several people do celebrate it differently that is fine but why take Christ out of a once a year name when he died on the Cross for our sins and the whole world wants to block him out of everything. Christmas has always been used and it has NEVER been a bother tell the past few years and WHY! If we are going to write or say Xmas than WHY have CHRISTMAS???
null this
02:34AM ET
Christ isn't the whole reason we celebrate XMas... marketing is! Seriously, don't be so freakin' naive. Besides, the only 2 religions in the USA that are losing the % of the people are Jewish faiths and Christian faiths and while "Other" religions (i.e. paganism) is the fastest growing, it is Atheism that's taking up most of the God based faiths (seriously, the G'ovt poles this stuff and makes the numbers public so go look for yourself... oh wait, your Xtian... you'll just do as your told... dance monkey dance!) Why are the non-xtian beliefs finally coming out... because people are finally admitting it. God is dead and no one cares and if there is a hell, I'll see you there -NIN.
06:34AM ET
What a terrible thing to say. I can't speak for all others, but there are millions out there who do celebrate Christmas for the singular reason of Christ's birth, including myself. I would like to see these Government polls that you write about. You have every right to your opinion, but I stongly feel that those who are not celebrating the true meaning of CHRISTMAS should call it something else and respect those who choose to celebrate it for the true reason.
07:24PM ET
this helps 4 my hw ty ppl
08:20PM ET
"God is dead"
--Nietzsche, 1882

"Nietzsche is dead"
--God, 1900
04:25PM ET

I feel that having a religion is like having a penis–it’s okay to have one and be proud of it, but please, don’t go around shoving it down my kids’ throats.

Also, with the decline/growth of religions: who cares? What happens, happens. No amount of tears will change that. Can you go out on a campaign to rejuvenate/condemn religions? Of course. But it doesn’t really make a dent.

If this sound likes some pessimistic existential crises, you’re reading it wrong. What I mean is

Anon pt2
04:30PM ET

that your intervention isn’t required for the future to happen. You could let social systems like religions run their course, and things will be fine. The morals of our world will go where they go.

Meanwhile, I will do something productive, such as study to get a better job, build a birdhouse, living up to my morals. Live up to your religion instead of bothering others because they don’t. But don’t expect any great mortal/social reward for doing so; if you do, then you aren’t doing the whole “morality” thing right.

06:23PM ET

As a non-Christian that cannot seem to escape Christmas no matter how hard I try, I have decided to embrace the season and celebrate “Xmas” as a unique and separate holiday from “Christmas” that just so happens to fall on the same day. That way I can please my girlfriend by decorating the Xmas tree with her, and I can reciprocate people’s gifts by giving out Xmas presents. It is a small stand, and totally hangs on a technicality, but I really really really don’t want to be made to celebrate “Christmas” as a non-Christian.

02:31AM ET

I basically feel most people are just too lazy to write ‘Christmas’ and therefore write ‘Xmas’. I think that is VERY disrespectful. How would YOU like it if everyone wrote to you and addressed you as X?

janet BALINT
02:34AM ET

anonymouse…..Can you not celebrate Christmas even though you are not a believer? I celebrate Hanakah with MY friends, although I believe differently.

Michael Eyres
12:35PM ET

Janet also they can not spell it !! So that’s another reason. IT IS CHRISTMAS. nothing else politics lazy or not.. Some of the UK council have to have festive trees, festive lights, and are not allowed to put up a crib scenario in the square..USA HAS holiday… !!! You try doing that to any other beliefs or countries and there would be a war.. And we are supposed to be a Christian country. Christmas is the birth of Christ celebration and that IT !!!!

10:04PM ET

Wow God is dead? When did He die? When I hear statements like that obviously whoever makes statements like that believe that mankind in the descendants of apes and the Big Bang Theory and Darwinism is their belief system. To all of you God haters God is very much alive. Just because you can’t see the wind doesn’t mean It’s not there. Most of proves His existence.

10:13PM ET

excuse me for the typo.all of creation prove the existence of God. By some of the comments some are hostile against God and Christians for no apparent reason. I suggest you read the book about God and Christians,the Bible, before you make foolish statements like that .

10:19PM ET

In all honesty, not everything in your Bible is as nice as you or many of your fellow Christians believe. Your Kind God did, after all, kill newborns of both man- and animal-kind. Nor are all of your fellow Christians nice to atheists or non-Christian believers, especially pagans.

01:32AM ET

Anon: I feel that being an atheist is the same as having a gay person around. It’s not really OK, but what you do is your own business and your own responsibility, but please, don’t go around shoving it down my kids’ throats.

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