Merry Xmas to You!

Originally published Nov. 4, 2014 5:28 p.m.

Halloween has come and gone, and snow has even made an appearance already in parts of the Central Savannah River Area, so in my book, the holiday season has pretty much begun. It’s hard to believe it’s already here again!

Am I ready for it? Not really, but whether I’m ready or not, here it comes! First there’s Thanksgiving, which I enjoy more and more the older I get. It’s sort of the “calm before the storm” holiday. The very next day (or in some cases that evening), shopping madness goes into full gear to prepare for Xmas.

merry-xmas
“Xmas” is not an effort to remove Christ from Christmas. It’s an abbreviation that means the same thing.

Yes, I chose to write “Xmas” instead of “Christmas,” as that is the point of this article. I understand the hesitancy to use this abbreviation. I rarely, if ever use it myself. But I was surprised to learn a few years ago that “Xmas” was not used to remove Christ from “Christmas.” In fact, “X” is the abbreviation for Christ. According to snopes.com, its origins lie in the fact that the first letter in the Greek word for ‘Christ’ is ‘chi,’ and the Greek letter ‘chi’ is represented by a symbol similar to the letter ‘X’ in the modern Roman alphabet.”

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“Xmas” is an abbreviation created long before the modern age and means the exact same thing as “Christmas.” This was a topic of conversation in the newsroom recently when a viewer complained that the station used “Xmas” in an on-air graphic during a newscast. The reason for our abbreviation was not that we wanted to abbreviate it, or remove any association to Christ, but rather because our software limits how many characters can appear on a line in some of our graphics. Since that wasn’t the only word that needed to be included in the graphic, it was abbreviated.

Read more faith-related features

Will I use “Xmas” in writing, texting or other forms of communication? Probably not, but after learning the origin of the abbreviation, I’m not offended by it.

Merry Christmas to you!

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