Ask Nick – Christmas

Another seasonal question, this time from Ian:

At this time of year I often find myself having to type the name of the “holiday”, you know the one on the 25th. But as an Atheist I’m troubled, should I use a capital C as it’s the name of an event, or does that confer too much recognition of the history of it’s name and indeed acknowledge the C bloke too much. Or should I use a lower case C to display my dismissal of the aforementioned geezer, thereby not acknowledging its status as a proper-noun which surely it is? Your considered answer would not only reduce the head scratching which my ill-covered bonce can scarcely afford, but would also save me untold time as I won’t have to have the same argument with myself every time I send an email for the next few weeks.

As an atheist myself, I’ve wrestled with this dilemma in the past and come up with the following. Since Christmas is a proper name and the correct name of the festival, I see nothing wrong with using a capital ‘C’. If this makes you uncomfortable for any reason, you could do as I do and use the common abbreviation, ‘Xmas’. As well as solving your problem rather neatly it’s also quicker to type, which is handy for us lazy types.

At the end of the day I’m not sure it really matters all that much. As I get older I find that I’m less inclined to spend hours agonising over trivia than I once was. Remember the basic rules:

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  2. It’s all small stuff.

Follow the above and I think you’ll be much happier.

One thought on “Ask Nick – Christmas

  1. Of course it’s a proper noun – it’s a specified occasion and there’s only one of them. Why don’t you just celebrate Yule (as I do) then you won’t have to compromise on your principles or feel uncomfortable about it.

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