Xmas is a four-letter word.  In my etymology it ranks alongside a small and select number of other words of similar length, one or two of which begin with ‘F’.

In reality, of course, the letter ‘X’ represents the Greek letter ‘Chi’, the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, ‘Khristos’.  In the Greek it looks like this:  Χριστός.  The ‘mas’ bit is from the Latin word ‘missa’ for sending away – think of the same family of words as ‘message’ or, in archaic, ‘missive’.  It attached itself to Khristos and became ‘Cristes-messe’ in  Old English, which sort of aligns it with my existing stock of four-letter words, most of which, incidentally, also have origins in Old English.

So, to a chorus of resounding groans…

What do I wish for us all?   The glowing image of a Dickensian Christmas, with plumply merry celebrants swaddled in greatcoats, bearing lanterns and singing carols in the snow?

A warm log fire and a tall glistering tree surrounded by happy children, their amassed wrappings strewn about them and their faces lit with surprise and joy?

A rich table of succulence and abundance besieged by celebrants sharing fellowship, love and honest laughter?

Cards and gentle humour, or earnest chess with one person dear to us in the sunset of a favoured room?

None of these.  I wish us all safe passage through a strait beset by dangerous currents.  I wish us forbearance as our children quarrel, patience with the visitor whose knock drags us from our favourite film to engage in conversation, charity, even, for those whose homes we share and wish it were otherwise.

Goodwill to all men.  Especially those whose presence in the grey world beyond our doors has been forgotten; who are forced to confront their memories alone. To those who are cold, to those in pain.

To you, and to you all, I give my Christmas wishes.  May you find harbour beyond the passage to another year with your loves untested and your friendships intact.

Have the merriest Christmas possible, is all I ask.

Be festive.

Buy some holly, or something.


  1. Thank you Frederick. I love your wishes for Xmas. May the very best come to you in abundance.
    We are already halfway through the day, a lovely Aussie summer day with a magpie carillon to us from outside the window. Dirk and I are having a lovely, quiet and simple day, enjoying each other’s company, listening to music, and interspersing that will calls and messages with our combined eight children and their families. The simple things are the best.
    Happy Christmas to you and yours. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It sounds idyllic! I just ‘switched on’ here at 5:30am, and of course the sun hasn’t risen yet, but the sky is clear, Mars (I think) is glittering happily and the roofs are white with frost. We have a free morning, Sylvie and I, so maybe some music? Then off to my brother-in-law’s house for Xmas dinner.

      So there we are. Another year nearly over, and another one full of adventure beckoning. Have a seriously happy day!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Frederick Of course I wished you a wonderful X,mas had I visited your blog in time.Our X,mas was very quiet just the two of us cosy and warm by the wood burner. Yes believe it or not it was freezing cold in Crete and still is with snow on the mountains. So now I wish you and your family a Happy,healthy and prosperous New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Rita, and yes, I’m hearing fantastic tales of Greece beset by snowstorms and other major changes to the world order for winter. Never mind, I guess summer will soon come around again. Christmas should be cold, shouldn’t it, and upon Bing Crosby’s immortal insistence there should be snow. There’s nothing to match a wood fire for warmth and atmosphere!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so late with my greetings, Fred. apologies, as I sent my laptop to heaven with a coffee spill across the keyboard. I hope you had a good Christmas, my buddy. Here’s to a fresh 2019, with space for creativity and adventures and our ships staying afloat. Huge hugs. xXx ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no, everybody’s nightmare! RIP laptop – I hope you have managed to get another one, and you didn’t lose too much. I intend to stay afloat in 2019, and I am sure you will, too. Yes, so a belated all the best, and my creative energy, such as it is, comin’ right at ya! Xxx HUGS (that’s er big hugs, innit?)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your hugs are always welcome. I forgot to say, you made me laugh out loud with your F four letter favourite words… 😊 With all the wifi issues over the past few months, I have made friends with the couple who run the laptop workshop. They are kindred spirits. They gave me a great deal on a recon laptop, with a trade in on mine for spares.. 💗 Here’s to shared creativity, my buddy .. whey hey. Hugs flowing right back to you. Xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My guilty secret is – I have only once bought a ‘new’ computer. Almost all of my electronic equipment is recon, and that includes my ‘phone! For all that, I’ve never really been let down, so I wish you equally good fortune with your new querty friend; and yes, here’s to shared creativity in 2019! Many hugs

          Liked by 1 person

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