Etymology
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Christmas (n.)

"Church festival observed annually in memory of the birth of Christ," late Old English Cristes mæsse, from Christ (and retaining the original vowel sound) + mass (n.2).

Written as one word from mid-14c. As a verb, "to celebrate Christmas," from 1590s. Father Christmas is attested in a carol attributed to Richard Smart, Rector of Plymtree (Devon) from 1435-77. Christmas-tree in the modern sense is attested by 1835 in American English, rendering German Weihnachtsbaum. Christmas cards were first designed in 1843, popular by 1860s; the phrase Christmas-card was in use by 1850. Christmas present is from 1769. Christmas Eve is Middle English Cristenmesse Even (c. 1300).

updated on December 20, 2020

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