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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hooray! Xmas is Here! or, And Now, A Word from the Curmudgeon

Every year I am the recipient of forwarded e-mail chains from people who believe that we are on a slippery slope to somewhere unpleasant, in danger of losing our national identity, and vulnerable to communism through the replacing of the words “Merry Christmas” with the words “Happy Holidays”.

Me? I try not to get involved. Go ahead. Wish me something pleasant! I will wish you the same. My Jewish friends wish me a Merry Christmas, and I wish them a Happy Hanukah. And when there’s a crowd, a loud and heartfelt “Happy Holidays!” blankets the whole group in sincere bonhomie.

Unless you want to fight about it, wherein a general “up yours, heathen” is always popular.

I’m thinking, though, that if everyone wants to get worked up – and I’ve nothing against a good lather! – I suggest we contact the makers of the Toddler ABC program for iPad, whose “A is for Apple, B is for Ball” schtick includes the brow-furrowing “X is for Xmas”.

I kid you not.

X is for Xmas?! Well, why not? Don’t you remember the little baby X born in the manger?

X is for Xmas. Hmm. I would’ve much preferred “X is for Peds Xing”, but no one asked me.

So maybe there is a group of people trying to change not only the meaning of the season but our words and how they come about.

It’s not the guy in the red suit at the Salvation Army kettle hollering “Happy Holidays everyone!”, it’s the makers of “Toddler ABC” who see nothing wrong in using a written shortcut as a real word.

I saw an advertisement for “cubeicles” yesterday. Now, I’ve worked in a cubicle – which, from the picture, is what they were talking about, so why the misspelling?

Our long-distance carriers want us to ask our friends “Where you at?” clearly leaving us vulnerable around the not-ending-a-sentence-with-a-preposition thing. Why do they want us to look bad?

And now we are legitimizing the word “Xmas”.

I think we’ve all come to the same conclusion here, haven’t we?

Marketing is trying to kill us. Better for them that the hand holding the wallet be un-encumbered with the ability to communicate.

Why talk when you can spend?

Let’s all pledge to each other: this coming year, we will look up a word in the dictionary. We will use that word, we will love it, we will take it out, we will introduce it to our friends. We will learn the words of our friends, find how they mesh with our own, find the subtle meanings within the meanings and marvel at how the nuance of a word can change intent.



This message brought to you by the people who believe that words mean things.

39 comments:

Eva Gallant said...

I love this; and it's right in keeping with my Wednesday Bloggers go Green post!

Grant said...

If you want to get really innocuous, try Seasons Greetings instead of Happy Holidays. Or Happy Seasons. I use Happy Hannukwanzaramadamas to cover everyone. Also Hail Satan usually fits the bill.

Douglas said...

You piqued my curiosity and, since I am not a cat and therefore fairly safe, I looked up Xmas. I found this in that font of all wisdom:

"Xmas" is a common abbreviation of the word "Christmas". It is sometimes pronounced /ˈɛksməs/, but it, and variants such as "Xtemass", originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation, /ˈkrɪsməs/. The "-mas" part is from the Latin-derived Old English word for "mass",[1] while the "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as "Christ".

I don't do much Christmas (or any other holiday for that matter). Yes, I know it is a sad and empty life I live but, unfortunately, it's the only one I have.


Yesterday it was those freckled shoulders, today a reference to working up a lather. I'm not sure this place is healthy for me.

Pearl said...

Eva, I'm glad!

Grant, big grin for you over here. :-) We really should have a beer sometime...

Douglas, I laughed out loud. :-) And while I appreciate that the "X" may stand for the Greek letter "chi", I'm pretty sure most Americans, if asked, would not make that connection.

Boxer said...

amen, sistah, amen.

Simply Suthern said...

I think I will embrace the word "Curmudgeon". I actually use it once in a while.

Ponita in Real Life said...

It's so sad that the English language and our ability (okay, well, their ability) to communicate (because I am so not in that league!) has become so bastardized. Why is it so difficult to actually spell out the entire word? I often run into issues when sending a text message on my phone because I hate using all the little shortcuts.

Coming from a long line of teachers has ingrained proper use (and a love of big words) of the vocabulary directly into my genes. Any spelling mistakes you see here are the result of Canada's ties to the UK and its spelling idiosyncracies. ;-)

Bossy Betty said...

I am wishing you a very pleasant day in December that is not to be named but for which you can buy me pretty things.


That is my card greeting this year,

Oilfield Trash said...

I prefer my Xmas to be XXXmas.

Pearl said...

Boxer, if I could spell "halleluja" I would... :-)

Simply, tell 'em Pearl sent ya.

Ponita, you and I are in wild agreement.

Bossy, I only wish that I'D said that!

Oilfield, ah! More post ideas!!

Cheeseboy said...

"Up yours, heathen!" is my new favorite holiday greeting. I sincerely thank you for that, as do all my holiday friends.

btw - I can't believe how fast your followership has grown! I think I to up my game to keep up... but there's no way I can up it to this level. Well done.

haphazardlife said...

Curmudgeon is one of my favourite words, along with discombobulated and befuddled.

Actually, curmudgeon and befuddled pretty much describe me.

- Jazz

Elizabeth said...

What ever happened to X is for Xylophone?

Big Fat Gini said...

Betty, I'm stealing your greeting. Seriously, nothing drives me more batty than this entire topic. So much so that I don't think I can add anything (and that's sad, because I always having something to add)...

Brian Miller said...

i love words...and i think this year "up yours heathen" will be my greeting for everyone...smiles.

Kal said...

I always liked X-mas because it sounded like X-man and I always liked the idea of a mutant superhero delivering my presents. Plus I got issues with Santa - whose name is an anogram (sp) for Satan. I like his giving me stuff policy but have problems with his elf labor policy. So you see how this time of year can be very confusing for me.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I think I'll start wishing toddlers a Happy
X-ukah. Jesus. I mean, Moses and the Maccabees. Seriously, though, you teach me great new words. Bonhomie is an example. Thanks, Pearl. xo

WrathofDawn said...

I, too, dislike the move of The Holiday Formerly Known as Xmas to The Holiday Whose Name Cannot be Named. I'm all for recognizing everyone's holidays. And preferably getting the day off work for each of them.

As for the "Where are you at?" if you lived here you'd had to put up with people asking, "Where are you to?" No joke. In fact, if you said, "Stay where you're to, I'll come where you're at," no one would even blink.

And you thought we just SPELLED funny.

Pearl said...

Thank you, Cheeseboy! I aims to please. Not to mention that I’ve just always really enjoyed “up yours”.
Next in line is “get bent”.

Haphazard, I love befuddled as well. And lackadaisical.

Elizabeth, and X-ray! And what about that little South American lizard – isn’t there a “xi” or something?

Gini, I don’t know why a pleasant greeting isn’t enough, you know? I think as high as 85% of people really are decent sorts, but you just know that somewhere, someone’s dropped a turd in the punchbowl…

Brian, I hope to see you at the meetings. :-)

Kal, I think you just wrote a dang-fine post there. Very funny!!

Rawknrobyn, if you start a movement for Happy X-ukah, I promise to “like” it on FB!

Pearl said...

WrathofDawn, "Stay where you're to, I'll come where you're at?" Really?! Crazy furriners.
:-) H=

Pearl said...

Sorry -- not sure what that "H=" means...

Leenie said...

"CURMUDGEON: A curmudgeon's reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They're neither warped nor evil at heart. They don't hate mankind, just mankind's absurdities."


I'm going to love this word and take it out and introduce it to my friends. However, Xmas is deleted from my vocabulary. In fact was never even there.

I truly enjoy stopping by, Pearl, but you are on your own with WI's laundry.

Roses said...

I have decided to resarciate with the festive season formally known as Christmas. I am a heathen, but I'm all for sparkly presents, fairy lights and booze (especially if I get time off). Unfortunately, it also means I have to put up with cheesy carols in shops and the constant barrage of 'the only way to have a perfect Christmas' adverts on the tv.

(I adopted resarciate)

Sweet Cheeks said...

Pearly Girly, I admire your attempts to hang on to the OLD ways, however, must I remind you that languages are living entities?

Do they or do they not refer to Latin as a 'dead' language? (Dead languages are still used for legal, scientific or religious purposes, of course - and are not to be confused with 'extinct' languages which have no known speakers.

Such words as dead and extinct describe the passing of living things.

So, what's my point? If language is a living thing then it evolves, grows and changes. And painful as it may be...one must embrace the changes and step out of our comfort zones....even if it means shelving words like 'edacious' or 'heldam' or 'winx' and moving forward using 'text-speak' in our everyday lives.

Come on...I know you can do it...you know you LOL, FYI, IOU, and BTW...admit it.

I heart you!

bruce said...

Pearl-

up yours heathen! most excellent...

you are so right about marketing...i die a little everyday when i see the crass commerciality creeping into every fiber of our collective being...

bruce
bruce johnson jadip
stupid stuff i see and hear

Kay Dennison said...

I use Happy Holidays on my blog a lot because my readers span the religious spectrum and I think being a tad generic works better rather than offend my friends whether they are belivers or not. That said, if you're really interested, I'm Catholic which a lot of people think isn't Christian. Sigh. Some day I'll rage about that but not today and not here.

Pat Tillett said...

I don't think X minds people calling his X-day, X-mas...

becca said...

i am totally old fashion and still to this day say Merry Christmas

Pearl said...

Leenie, OK we’ll SPLIT Wisconsin’s laundry…

Roses, ah! This is why I love you. :-)

Sweet Cheeks, and also why I love YOU. :-) I, too, <3 you.

Bruce, I’m delighted with how well “up yours, heathen” has resonated with my readers.

Kay, I agree, and I think this way is best. With all the things to be concerned/worried about in the world, ensuring that someone is certain of your religious beliefs, at least for me, ranks pretty low, and so I am comfortable with “Happy Holidays”. Act with good conscience, behave appropriately, and be helpful as often as possible, that’s what I say.

Pat, Xcellent point.

Becca, I tend to say “Merry Christmas”, too. It’s what I’ve grown up with. I just don’t like it when people insist that others are trying to wipe it out, and I look forward to the day that I get days off for Rosh Hashana (and learn how to spell it) and a myriad of other holidays I’m only peripherally acquainted with.

Buffalo said...

I'm all for brevity. You can say "merry xmas" more quickly than "merry holiday of conspicuous consumption, depression, and massive indebtedness."

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Around this time of year, the young 'uns only use of X is likely in combination with "box". I'm not a religious person, but have always hated the Xmas shortcut. For lazy people. Happy holidays (13) vs. Merry Christmas (14). The holidays win by 1 for ease of spelling. If the t is silent, they are a tie.

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

worse than the shorteners are the "quick notes template speakers"...Ugh...Well, it is what it is if you will, keep your chin up, no worries, you go girl...better days.
Yes.
I have actually heard this used as actual conversation in public and not on some closed test track.

Courtney said...

I took a word out once. We got a little drunk and I let it have its way with me. The walk of shame the next morning was extra awkward, as I tripped over serifs discarded in the heat of passion. That word? Imbibe.

injaynesworld said...

I could not live without my thesaurus. But I'm a lover of words. I would have chosen Xerox.

lunamother said...

Let me just go on record as saying I see the whole idea of a Toddler program for iPad as evil.

Words are magical, tangible, delectable. Precious beyond speech or thought, the written word turns an idea into something real, on the page or screen, in front of you.

Keep weaving 'em together, Pearl- you're an artist.

and a Happy Festivus, to the Restofus :D

HermanTurnip said...

“Up yours, heathen”: A phrase not reserved just for the holidays. In fact, it's my favorite thing to shout at random people when walking out of a crowded movie theater ;-)

As for my word for next year, I lay claim to "floccinaucinihilipilification". Now all I have to do is learn how to pronounce it...

imbeingheldhostage said...

Best laugh of the day-- excellent post! I even savored the comments.

Jhon Baker said...

Around here it's "happy Jhonmas" as it is my birthday and I hate the hallmarkization of my birthday. Nothing gets in my craw more than people getting it wrong - X-mas, while I am somewhat of a mystery to some people this is just lazy and I hate lazy in writing as much as laziness in cooking or sex.

Symdaddy said...

I ain't krit-e-sizin' no bodies inglisch.