From Oxford

A very OED Christmas

OED Consultant Editor Henry Hitchings unwraps the lexical history of Christmas with a little help from the Oxford English Dictionary. Read the full article here.

The noun Christmas, deriving from the Old English Cristes mæsse (the mass or festival of Christ), took hold only in the early twelfth century. In his book The Seasons, Nick Groom cites as the earliest description of an English Christmas a section of the fourteenth-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which pictures the seasonal revelry at King Arthur’s court in Camelot. Before the word established itself, the festival was known as midwinter or yule. Both were names for not only Christmas Day itself, but also the period surrounding it.