( B. K. Swartz, Jr.)
Fundamentally Christmas celebration is based on the intertwining of two ethnic patterns, Roman transition rites and Germano-Celtic Yule (jiuleis) rites-feasting and mortuary practice. First known use of the word Christes-Maess was in England, 1038. The English titled Feast Days with Mass Days. No Saint's day listed for December 25th. Abbreviation Xmas; X is Greek Chi, the first letters of Christmas--not X blank out.
In colonial New England Thanksgiving, not Christmas, was the important seasonal holiday. Puritans passed an anti-Christmas law in 1659, repealed 1681. Christmas celebration was resisted by the Congregationalist Cotton Mather (1663-1728). First recorded post-repeal celebration was in 1686. Christmas was declared a holiday in Louisiana, 1837. Christmas was unimportant in the United States until 1880's when the church relented. In 1885 a law was enacted giving federal employees Christmas day off. Christmas declared a legal holiday in U.S. late (1894 or in this century). Get the whole story