Whichmas? Thatmas!

“‘Let me see ’em’, said his father. ”
Source: St. Nicholas 5, no. 2 (1877)
Bill O’Reilly is off on his annual “Why does KMart hate Christmasrant. I think he’s right, of course. It is offensive to have your holiday bundled up with a bunch of pseudo-holidays into a generic “Season’s Greetings”. But why only Christmas?
See “Why does Lou Dobbs hate Christmas?” for a note on last year’s go-round.
A mention by Pharyngula of “Cephalopodmas” (22 Dec) got me pondering -masses. The -mas in ‘Christmas’ is a reduced form of ‘mass’, used in the names of certain feast days (Michaelmas, 29 Sep, the Feast of Michael and All Angels; Candlemas, 2 Feb, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin). In current English it is a mildly productive suffix.
So happy X-mas!
Added: A faithful reader has pointed out that I omitted the obvious
Added: Another late arrival, or perhaps two. Nixmas1 seems to be from nix ‘no’, and Nixmas2 from *nix, by aphaeresis from ‘Unix’.
  • Nixmas (200?)
    I believe I might have created a new holiday: Nixmas
Crooks & Liars notes that a majority of those polled by Fox remain unpersuaded that there is a “war on Christmas”. Perhaps they’re distracted by that other war.

LinkDecember 2, 2005 in Jeux d’esprit