ladbible logo

To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

People stunned after discovering true reason Christmas is sometimes called Xmas

People stunned after discovering true reason Christmas is sometimes called Xmas

Why do we sometimes use Xmas over Christmas? Is it just laziness, or is there more to it?

Ever wondered why we sometimes refer to Christmas as Xmas? It turns out there’s more to it than you might have realised.

I’m pretty sure as a kid I was told it was a nod to Jesus Christ – the X resembling a cross... Well, kind of.

In hindsight, it seems like a pretty ropey explanation, but between that and being told that too much TV makes your eyes go square, it’s hard to know the truth as a child.

However, there is some truth to that idea, in the sense that the ‘X’ in ‘Xmas’ has religious significance.

Some people feel that using the shortened term removes the Christian aspect of the holiday, but actually it’s quite the opposite.

Why do we sometimes use 'Xmas' over Christmas?
Clare Waddingham/Stockimo/Alamy Stock Photo

In a TikTok video a couple of years ago, @thepiosilva explained how there is sometimes the belief that the ‘X’ reflects the lack of Christ in the more modern, commercialised version of Christmas.

But he continued: "The real origin of the X comes from the Greek name for Christ himself, if you were referring to Christ as Christos or Chi (X) in Greek."

Many other TikTokers had absolutely no idea, with one writing: "Thank you, my whole life has been a lie."

Someone else said: “Mind blowing.”

A third added: “My life is a lie.”

A fourth said: "I didn't know the Xmas."

The experts at Dictionary.com also back this up, explaining how the ‘-mas’ part of Christmas derives from the old word for mass, while the ‘Christ’ part is probably one that already makes sense.

It explains: “You won’t find Xmas in church songbooks or even on many greeting cards.

"Some people associate Xmas with the holiday as a commercial, secular occasion instead of as a particular cultural and religious ritual.

It turns out 'Xmas' does actually include a reference to Jesus.
Dinodia Photos/Alamy Stock Photo

“But, the history of the word Xmas is actually more respectable - and fascinating - than you might suspect.

“First of all, the abbreviation predates (by centuries) its use in gaudy advertisements.

“It was first used in the mid-1500s. X represents the Greek letter chi, the initial letter in the word Χριστός (Chrīstos). And what does Χριστός mean? ‘(Jesus) Christ.’

X has been an acceptable representation of the word Christ for hundreds of years. (And why would people need to abbreviate Christ? Well, the word is very widely written.)”

The website adds: “Other abbreviations for Christ include Xt and Xp, the P here representing the Greek letter rho, source of our letter R.

"A stylized version of the Greek chi (X) and rho (P) is ☧, a symbol of Christ called a Christogram.

“In the same vein, the dignified terms Xpian and Xtian have been used in place of the word Christian.”

So there you go: you no longer need to feel bad for switching to ‘Happy Xmas’ when your hand starts aching from writing all those cards.

Featured Image Credit: insta_photos / Alamy Stock Photo / Hon Chung Ham / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Christmas