Many people take them for granted, especially Nigerians and other English speaking countries that would not mind to bend or water down the Standard English at their convenience, or reinvent the language against the rules of engagement. The season is here again when we often hear people or acquaintances greet one another with the common seasonal felicitation, ‘Merry Xmas.’ Whether written or spoken words don’t jump on the bandwagon and repeat after them the forbidden expression ‘Merry Xmas.’
This seasonal blunder appears to have stuck as another Christmas knocks on the door, when Christians and even non-adherent of the faith awaits the coming of our Saviour, Jesus of Christ. Expectations are high as usual, as families prepare for the Christmas, buying and selling is the order of the day, traffic jam and often time motorists driving at breakneck speed renders the road chaotic with the attendant danger. Many have lost their lives as a result of the unnecessary frenzy that accompany the celebration. Play safe to see another Christmas!
The old and overburden adage says it all, life has no duplicate. If you can’t meet up with this year’s Christmas celebration, that is not the end of life, just remain focused to plan for the coming seasonal celebration. And now would you be right to speak or write, ‘Merry Xmas,’ just to express that inner joy that comes with the season? The English pragmatists say it’s a colloquial statement that has no place in the English lexicon.
The season is here again, and the refrain, as disturbing as it sounds, ‘Merry Xmas’, would rent the air when friends, lovers and well-wishers would express their joy for witnessing another Christmas despite the pains and agonies that people are going through, the issue of insecurity, high cost of living and government insensitivity to the plight of the poor and the vulnerable.
Again, the coming year may even be harder and difficult for the same set of people when the Buhari government would eventually remove the phony fuel subsidy. So, as we celebrate the Christmas, remember to use the right expression to send those seasonal greetings or felicitations to close friends and relatives, simply say ‘Merry Christmas,’ and you will be correct. That is the accepted standard, insists the English purist. Never abbreviate the word ‘Christmas’, pronounce and spell it in full.
The dull statement, ‘Xmas’ is an aberration that should be thrown away and completely ignored. Don’t be distracted to mimic others. Always find out the truth about things, and then make the right judgement. Yet another slip that many of us ignore is the proper way to write or send our seasonal greetings to friends and customers, from the corporate world down to the man in the street. How do we design or write our messages on the greetings card? You may argue that it doesn’t matter how one choose to frame or write the message, but that the spirit behind the message matters most.
But like the English purists and masters would always insist on standards that should be observed, I toe the line to say it does matter. I have observed to my indignation the different ways people write on the seasonal cards they intend to send to friends and acquaintances. Some go like this, ‘Season’s greetings to all my dear customers’, ‘Seasons’ greetings’, and ‘Seasonal greetings to you, ‘Merry Xmas’ with the traditional pay off or catch word, ‘Happy New Year in advance.’ From the conversation you will notice that many of us are still getting it wrong.
The correct and standard expression is ‘Season greetings’, anything else is a misnomer. Follow the rules of engagement, speak right and write right.