Xmas vs. Christmas – Origin, Spelling & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Growing up in rural Newfoundland, my grandmother would scold us for using the term Xmas. But she was one of those old-fashioned, traditional Christians who believed we should be using the full name of Christ in Christmas. And rightfully so. We respected that. However, both Xmas and Christmas are widely used and totally acceptable, so let’s talk about the differences so you understand, too.

Xmas vs. Christmas: Which Is Right?

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Christmas and Xmas usage trend.

Both “Xmas” and “Christmas” are technically correct today and are both widely used to talk about the holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, which is traditionally held on December 25th.

“Xmas” is sometimes used as an abbreviation for “Christmas,” with the “X” representing the Greek letter “Chi” which happens to be the first letter in the Greek word “Χριστός” (Christos), meaning “Christ.”

How Do You Spell Christmas?

When it comes to how to spell Christmas, it’s C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s, although I’ve actually seen it spelled with two Ss at the end instead of the single letter. But I’m pretty sure that’s incorrect. The spelling of Christmas always starts with a capital, too, because it’s a proper noun.

Is Xmas Correct?

Yes, “Xmas” is a commonly used and totally acceptable abbreviation for “Christmas.” You’ll see it on décor, in media, and just about everywhere during the holidays.

Why Is Xmas Offensive?

The use of the word “Xmas” is not inherently offensive, but it depends on who you ask. Some older Christians believe it takes away from the religious significance of the holiday because it’s not using the full name of Christ as it was originally meant.

But this old-fashioned criticism is not universally shared, and a lot of people freely use the term “Xmas” without any intention to be disrespectful or even diminish the religious core of the holiday. Basically, whether or not “Xmas” is considered offensive depends on individual beliefs and perspectives.

How to Pronounce Xmas

It’s a funny-looking word and should be spelled as Xmas, with a capital and no dash. To pronounce it, just say eks-muhs.

Sentence Examples Using the Word Christmas

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  • Christmas is the perfect time for families to get together and celebrate the holiday season.
  • I love the smell of a fresh-cut Christmas tree in the house. It’s the best!
  • Every year, we exchange a couple of gifts on Christmas eve.
  • The town square is beautifully decorated with Christmas lights during the holiday season.
  • Christmas is a time of giving, so I always try to do something special for someone in need and teach the kids to do the same.

Sentence Examples Using the Word Xmas

  • I can’t wait for Xmas to come; it’s my favorite holiday season.
  • I’ll definitely be home for Xmas to spend time with my fam jam.
  • Xmas shopping can be super stressful, but it’s all worth it to see the joy on my kiddo’s faces.
  • Xmas is one of my fav holidays because it’s a time for celebration and spending time with loved ones.

Merry Xmas or Christmas!

So, there you have it. Both Xmas and Christmas are totally acceptable spelling forms, especially now in modern times. Just be mindful of those who may value the traditional spelling of it.