Xmas in MMXX
“Dot.calm” by Jane Silverman
X marks the spot. As an abecedarian (Ay-Bee-See- Darian or one who studies the alphabet), X is a remarkable letter with more meaning than most any other in the alphabet. In algebra, it is an “unknown” or “variable” (x + y) or as a symbol of multiplication (a x b). In Roman numerals, we all know it’s the number 10 and it is also used outside of the math world as in X-rays, X-files, rated-X, and Generation X.
During the Middle Ages, the use of X as a symbol of a kiss was common during a time when few people could write; documents were sealed with an embossed Christian cross in lead or wax and kissed as an oath of fealty.
But why the X in Xmas? The X comes from the Greek letter X (pronounced khh) in Χριστός (Xristos) which became Christ in English. The shorthanded X according to www.Dictionary.com, dates back to the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine the Great. Constantine used the first two letters to create a Christogram for a military banner using the X and P (pronounced as an “Cr” in the Greek alphabet). He would go on to create an annual celebration of His birth first noted on December 25, 336AD. According to www.Vox.com, about a thousand years later Christmas was abbreviated to XPmas in a document dated 1021CE.
Xmas in 2020:
Connecting with children and grandchildren this Holiday Season is going to be tricky but the magic of the holidays is only an app and email away with these very cool downloads from the Apple Store or Google Play. A movie night, bingo and some Santa cheer is all you need to end the year:
Xceptional Idea: Movie Night!
Zoom is the go-to app for weaving together our life stories. It’s free to use for up to 40 minutes or buy the Pro version at $12.50 per month which offers unlimited call lengths (think movie time!).
1. Before starting a Zoom call with the app or on the website, open up a movie on your desktop or laptop and put it on pause (use any one of your favorite movie viewing sites from Netflix, Hulu, HBO to YouTube) and be sure your computer’s volume is raised. Don’t forget to make some popcorn!
2. Start the Zoom call.
When everyone is logged on and ready, share your screen by clicking on the “Share Screen” icon at the bottom of Zoom. A small pop-up rectangle will ask you which screen you want to share; just click on the square with the window that’s playing the movie. Be sure and click “Share computer sound” or go to the …More tab and click Share Sound so other participants can hear the movie audio. It’s more fun to see each other by exiting full-screen mode.
3. Sounds complicated? Visit https://explore.zoom.us/resources for an easy tutorial (or ask a teenager to do it!).
Xtra Special Santa:
The Catch Santa AR app places a video of Santa sneaking into your living room, leaving gifts under your tree, enjoying cookies and milk, and more. It’s proof positive that there really is a Santa Claus. Aim your phone at your Christmas tree, a little one sleeping, the dogs sitting pretty, or your boat, and choose from one of the Santa videos to insert. It’s easy to resize and position him just right by pinching the image; share the magic with friends, family, social media, or even business associates just for the fun of it.
The PNP (Portable North Pole) app www.portablenorthpole.com creates beautifully crafted personalized videos with real actors, reindeers, and elves. Upload up to 5 photos, the child’s name (Jane), age (40 plus-plus), location (Ocean Reef Club), and if they have been naughty or nice (no comment) which Santa will include in his message. There is one for teens, corporates, and the one for groups or adults is deliciously snarky. PNP offers a free video as well as a range of premium videos worth every penny. For a more personal touch, Santa can also make an engaging bespoke call or video call to anyone’s phone. The best part? PNP donates 5% of each call or video to participating US children’s hospitals.
For more family fun, visit www.myfreebingocards.com. It’s easy to use (free for up to 30 people or $10 for up to 100 people and comes with a virtual Bingo caller). Design your own bespoke Bingo games with the Bingo card generator (or it will create one for you) with the names or nicknames of family members, holiday lingo, pet names, or whatever you choose. Just email to family and friends to share some new memories.
From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other. – Emily Matthews