A popular myth is that the abbreviation Xmas is used as a non-religious spelling of Christmas. The logic behind this statement is that the word Xmas takes ‘Christ’ out of Christmas.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The history of the word Xmas, which should be pronounced “Christmas” and not “ex-mas”, is actually more respectable than you might think. And here’s why. (the article continues after the ad)
The letter “X” in Xmas stands from the Greek letter “X” (pronounced Chi) which is the first letter of the word “Χριστός” (Christ in Greek). So, Xmas and Christmas are actually two equivalent words in every way, except their lettering.
This should come as no surprise as using the Greek letter “X” in place of Jesus Christ’s name, is a practice that has been going on for at least 1000 years. In fact, the word Xmas was once very popular in formal writing, particularly with religious scribes.
By the way, in case you’ve been wondering, the “-mas” part comes from the Old English word for “mass” therefore, Christ-mass refers to the Church service that celebrated the birth of Christ.
Now you know!