Posted: 30/11/2014 at 09:58
Because I'm bored I also feel the need to pick up on Mike's comment that the use of Xmas is an American import.
This abbreviation is derived from the greek Chi-Rho (I think letters X & P) which have been used as the abbreviation for Christ for over 1000 years. When I'm not in the garden I spend my time transcribing pre-reformation wills and the abbreviation 'X' crops up all the time in the words xmas, xtian, xopher meaning christmas, christian and the name christopher respectively. Wikipedia says (so must be true - LOL) that Xine and Exine were both 17th and 18th century names (= Christine) but I have not come across those myself.
So, far from being a modern American import, the use of this particular abbreviation is a very old export from the UK. Similarly, some old english words such as 'trash' (meaning rubbish) remain in common use in America with their original meaning - but we hear them and think of them as Americanised terms.
Having sent you all off to sleep I shall now go & make jam with the last of my summer fruit (making room in the freezer for Xmas goodies... )
Apologies for deviating from original thread but am feeling in a pedantic mood this morning!