Keithie’s and I got into a yarn about Christmas last night and ended up in a debate about whether or not we should call it Xmas or Christmas.
It came about after Keithie noticed “Xmas Cards” on the shopping list on my fridge:
“That’s not how you spell Christmas Dyranda!”
“Says who?” I retorted. And, on cue, Keithie backed down. He’s a softie, our Keithie…hates any kind of aggression, which leaves me constantly feeling bad since I’m as naturally aggressive as I am atheist.
Even so, I pulled out my laptop and Googled Xmas versus Christmas and we both got quite a surprise.
Xmas is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas. It is sometimes pronounced /ˈɛksməs/, but it, and variants such as Xtemass, originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation /ˈkrɪsməs/. The “-mas” part is from the Latin-derived Old English word for Mass, while the “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as “Christ”.
What d’ya know Dyranda!
I was all geared up for a debate about evolution versus intelligent design and was champing at the bit to explain to Keithie why using Xmas instead of Christmas wasn’t blasphemous, since there is no God, when Keithie read on:
The word “Christ” and its compounds, including “Christmas”, have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years, long before the modern “Xmas” was commonly used. “Christ” was often written as “XP” or “Xt”.
“That’s seriously cool Keithie,” I laughed. “We don’t have to say the Holy Ghost any more we can just refer to God as the X-Man!”
When we got down to it Keithie was easy either way, which makes sense cos he’s not big on giving Xmas cards so he never really has to think about how he spells it.
But we both agreed on one thing: religions take themselves far too seriously. Just check out the cemetery situation in our own little town!
We were on a roll so next we decided to google those Danish and French cartoons that the Muslims did their lolly over. I agreed with Keithie that calling for the death sentence was seriously over the fence.
“I remember watching an interview with Dame Edna Everage (AKA Barry Humphries) on the telly where s/he said that political correctness would be the death of satire,” I told Keithie.”
“That’s right Dyranda, no one laughs anymore!”
But within minutes we were both killing ourselves laughing over an article we’d found on Google entitled: Barry Humphries: 15 witty quotes. Here’s a sample:
“I’m not racist. I love all races, particularly white people. You know, I even like Roman Catholics.”
By now we were all over Google looking for funny Xmas, or rather ‘holiday’, cartoons. We found this one: “How to tell you’ve been really bad” and we agreed that Swansea’s Catholics and Anglicans wouldn’t lose their marbles if we shared it with you – on the contrary, they’d most likely crack a grin!
And on that note we wish you, our readers, whatever you believe, a very merry ɛksməs and happy bloody New Year!