No, really - and no, I haven't been mysteriously converted, nor have I suddenly lost my enthusiasm for science that isn't just pulled out of one's ass. I remain an agnostic progressive with a profound distaste for the exclusionary nature of most organized religions. No matter how I feel about the subject, I'll not be opening my wallet for the car magnet/decals anytime soon. My objection to Xmas as an abbreviation is based both in linguistics and in common sense. In that spirit, I offer you six non-fundamentalist reasons why Christmas should remain, well, Christmas.
1. Because Xmas is an ugly abbreviation. It's hard-looking and cold-sounding, as though its sole purpose is to obfuscate some awful, unmentionable secret.
2. Because new names for old things always sound irredeemably dorky. Go ahead: start a petition and/or movement to rename Christmas to Super Ham and/or Turkey Present Fun Day. See for yourself how far that gets you. Perhaps you could try to recruit holiday shoppers while standing by the entrance to Super Headache White Trash-Mart.
3. Because Christmas is a good name, especially for a holiday that has its origins in the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter if, like me, your Christmas holiday is a purely secular celebration of family and friends and you don't believe in the stories of the Bible at all. 'Tis where the whole thing came from, and 'tis what it should be called.
4. Because the Christians have pulled this stunt themselves, and it was dumb. Somewhere around the mid '90s, I started to see the more general abbreviation Xtian around a fair bit. Usually, it was in connection with some sort of youth recruitment stuff: not your daddy's Xtianity and that sort of nonsense. It was particularly prevalent in the always nauseating world of Christian Rock: that sort of five-years-behind-the-times pop-and/or-metal that rocks you toward the way and the light. Do you really want to associate with that crowd? That's what I thought.
5. Because Twas the Night Before Xmas sounds amazingly dumb. As does The Grinch that Stole Xmas, A Xmas Story, The Twelve Days of Xmas, "Xmas (Baby Please Come Home)" and so on and so forth, ad infinitum.
6. Because six is a robot, and that's my new, all-purpose argument ender.