Merry Christmas – Happy Christmas – Merry Xmas

Christmas in Fawnskin!

So GG wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and since I have way to much time on my hands, I actually took a look at some of the rumored origins of some of the holiday greeting phrases.

  • Merry Christmas seems to be associated wtih the Old English “myrige” (pleasant or agreeable) instead of joyous, joyful or jolly.
  • Documented usage of Merry Christmas in 1565 was found in the Hereford Municipal Manuscript, “And thus I comytt you to God, who send you a mery Christmas.”
  • “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” have a reference from 1699.
  • The 16th century English carol used the phrase, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
  • In the 17th century the term appeared in both the first commercial Christmas card and publication of the story, A Christmas Carol.

In contrast, “Happy Christmas” emerged in the latter part of the 19th century.

One of the theories is that the change of phrase stems from attempts to separate the celebration of Christmas from public insobriety since the term “merry” also meant “tipsy” or “drunk.”

“Merry Xmas” is supposed to have arisen back in the early days of Christianity when the Greek letter “χ” was used as shorthand. (It is the first letter in the Greek word for Christ, Χριστος.)

Personally, I think too much time and energy is wasted on semantics and arguing over what is correct.

If you do a bit of digging you can find all kinds of fascinating information. Remember that post I did on Christmas Folklore?

What I find silly is that people fight over the topic when it is supposed to be a time for peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

So, Merry Christmas to those you you who prefer it.

And for others, whatever you celebrate and whatever you believe, GG wishes you a Happy Holiday season and a fabulous New Year!

If you want to read more start with the Wikipedia notes on Christmas and Holiday Greetings and then do your own research.



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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 25th, 2012 and is filed under High Altitude Living, Mountain Lake Resort, Small Town Living.

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