Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
CIO, grammar history, grammar wars, holiday names
Which is correct?
There are a lot of holidays in December, not just ______ but also Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Lunar New Year, Santa Lucia Day and sometimes Ramadan.
Most style guides discourage the use of Xmas, probably because many people find it offensive.
In fact, Xmas is a variation on Christmas that has deep roots. From Wikipedia:
Early use of “Xmas” includes Bernard Ward’s History of St. Edmund’s college, Old Hall (originally published circa 1755). An earlier version, “X’temmas”, dates to 1551. Around 1100 the term was written as “Xp̄es mæsse” in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. ”Xmas” is found in a letter from George Woodward in 1753. Lord Byron used the term in 1811, as did Samuel Coleridge (1801) and Lewis Carroll (1864).
Many Christians object to Xmas because they believe it removes Christ’s name from the word. However, According to the OED, the use of the letter X to refer to Christ goes back to 1485.
In any case, however, let’s maintain the peace this season by refraining from using Xmas.
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