Monday, November 30, 2009


So, I have been the "Xmas" police for years now. I am not afraid to scold anyone for "taking Christ out of Christmas". I thanked a friend for NOT taking Christ out of Christmas in her Facebook post today and it started an interesting conversation. One of the people pointed me toward an article on the origin of "Xmas" that helped me understand it better. So I thought I would share.
p.s. I know I have been doing a lot of non-personal blogging lately. I'll try to get caught up with my pics ASAP.
Xmas is an abbreviation for Christmas. It is derived from the word ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, transliterated as Christos, which is Greek for Christ. Greek is the language in which the whole New Testament was written.
Originally, Xmas was an abbreviation where the X represents the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter of Christ's name. However, because of the modern interpretations of the letter X, many people are unaware of this and assume that this abbreviation is meant to drop Christ from Christmas.

Also, here is a relevant excerpt from Wikipedia.
"Xmas" is frowned upon in modern guides for writing styles. Style guides at the New York Times,[2] The Times, The Guardian and the BBC all rule out its use, where possible.[3] Millicent Fenwick, in the 1948 Vogue's Book of Etiquette states that "'Xmas' should never be used" in greeting cards.[4]
The Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage states that the spelling should be considered informal and restricted to contexts where concision is valued, such as headlines and greeting cards.[5]
The Christian Writer's Manual of Style, while acknowledging the ancient and respectful use of "Xmas" in the past, states that the spelling should never be used in formal writing.[6]

So I suppose I should stop telling people not to use it in forums like Facebook and Twitter. LOL!


Anonymous said...

The christ of christmas is NOT the Christ of the Bible. X-mas is NOT a Biblical holiday.

Erickson Family said...

Huh? I am confused by what you said. Can you explain it in lay terms for me?

Erickson Family said...

I'm not sure that I said it was a "biblical holiday". I will re-read the post to be sure. I believe in the Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of the world. Christmas is a way for us to stop and remember him and get away from the daily hustle and bustle. If you're like me, Christmas is a time to teach children about the joy of giving.

Andrew and May said...

Thanks for that tid bit of info. I too kinda felt the way you did regarding the term "x-mas" but now I get it too. I also love how you are so true to yourself and express what you feel and believe but still just as willing to learn new information and be corrected humbly. You still are a great example to me and I miss you a ton.