The other day Gemma asked whether people liked the abbreviation “Xmas” my natural reaction was that I didn’t, but I have no idea why – so I thought I better find out the back story of Xmas. As a child I don’t remember anyone talking about the abbreviation as good or bad but I do remember seeing it on Christmas cards. So I decided I had better find out a bit more about the history of Xmas.
According to Wikipedia the prefix “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is written as 𝛸 (that looks like a normal X). The suffix “mas” is an abbreviation for mass (a church service).
There are examples of the use of the term Xmas going back to the 16th century, historic authors including Lord Byron and Lewis Carroll used the term. While the BBC reports use in Anglo Saxon Chronicle in 1021, suggesting it would be a parchment saver… Indeed, the use of Chi as part of an abbreviation for Christ goes back to the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 300s.
So Xmas is a well established term, we can each choose whether we like it or now, but now when I see it I will remember it is steeped in history.
Christmas is several weeks away, and in my opinion it is too early for putting up Christmas decorations. But if you are thinking about making your own decorations/gifts or buying from a crafter now is the time to act.
The tree (on the right – in case you didn’t realise it was a tree) was my first attempt at needle felting, which the help of the lovely Jan of Dye it Yarn Self. The Nordic Gnome is from Gemma’s Concrete Gems. I’ve also baked my Christmas Cake.
I’m planning to do some more Christmas shopping at upcoming Christmas Markets. I am wondering about what else I can make for Christmas…
When I was young one of the highlights of the year was an annual fair held in the local church hall. My parents were involved in organising the event, and for months before we would be making things to sell. Knitting egg cosies and hot water bottle covers; decorating jars for baths salts; padding coat hangers; and nearer the actual day, baking. I remember the joy of seeing someone buying something that I had help make.
With this in mind I love buying from a small maker because I know that my purchase will make them happy.
If you are looking to buy gifts try to find time to go to a Christmas Fair and buy something from a local crafts person. If you aren’t able to physically go to a Fair there are virtual fairs you can join in. Now I have to admit, I don’t understand how these work – so I am hoping Gemma is going to add a bit below to explain to us how they work!
Remember when you buy from a small business you make somebody really happy!
Gemma (Concrete Gems) says:
There are lots of online craft events happening this year. The ones I am involved in are on Facebook and Instagram, but I imagine other social media channels also run them.
On Facebook, an event or group is created and images of products are uploaded with details of prices, sizes etc. On the day of the event, often a password is provided and you would use that password to comment on the item you would like to buy. The seller then contacts you to arrange payment and delivery, which can be through their website, PayPal, etc.
Instagram works in a similar way, except the items are just added as images to the business feed.