Holiday (n.) - Merry Christmas!
1. A holy day.
2. A day one is has off of work.
3. In British English it also refers to a vacation.
It’s my holiday special!
No, really, it’s about the word holiday.
Get your Christmas shopping done:
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History & Etymology:
Holiday comes from the Old English haligdæg a compound of halig meaning ‘holy’ and dæg meaning day. Haligdæg generally was used in reference to religious festival, but slowly it started referring to recreation or exemption from labor.
The pronunciation changed in the 1200s to haliday and finally into holiday in the 1500s.
In the mid 19th century Happy Holidays became a popular phrase in Britain referring to the time during summer vacations from school when people would go on holidays in the British sense of the word.
I was interested in when the first time it was used to refer to the Christmas season so I did a little digging.
I was able to find some clippings of ad copy from news papers as early as 1865. This one here expressly references Christmas presents. But the term didn’t become popular till around 1937 when a similar phrase was used in a Camel Cigarette ad.