} Close. It started in this guy's barn behind an inn. Pee-yew.
} Mr. Chris Chris began marketing his own brand of winter holiday,
} first locally in Judea, then rapidly expanding through the Roman
} Empire and beyond. It was a nice healthy business, but nothing
} like what you see today.
} Along about that time, there were various competing holidays,
} including 1) Christmas, 2) Xmas, 3) Hanukkah, 4) St. Satan's Day,
} 5) Fourth of July, 6) Cinco de Mayo, 7) Baseball Opening Day,
} 8) Santa's Merrie Olde Day, 9) Macy's Year End Sale, 10) Jesus's
} Birthday Blowout, 11) St. Nicholas's Day, and 12) Easter. It was
} an exciting time to be alive, mainly because the B.C. years were
} finally over and people could start counting the years forward
} instead of backward, allowing them to apply their brains to more
} worthwhile areas of interest. The healthy spirit of competition that
} bloomed caused many changes in the holiday business shortly thereafter.
} As in any competition, there were some early casualties. Xmas was
} bought out by Christmas, in a deal that was ominous of future
} leveraged buyouts. Mr. X sold out his interest, and retired to
} Bermuda. There was some talk of his starting a spring holiday
} named XXX, but the dirty movie industry muddied the waters too
} greatly, and he gave up.
} Hanukkah at one time was a major contender, but suffered from a
} serious marketing problem, namely that none of the proprietors
} could agree on how to spell the damn thing. Hannuka, Honakah,
} Hanuka, and even Chanukkah openly competed for the consumer'e
} eye, hopelessly fragmenting its impact in the marketplace.
} In retrospect, it may have been fortunate to have been so badly
} splintered, because it thereby managed to avoid the attention
} (and financial resources) of the bigger holidays. It has even
} managed to make a modest resurgence in recent times.
} Some of the holidays simply disappeared without a trace. St.
} Satan's Day, for instance, suddenly stopped being celebrated
} due to the bad press surrounding a few of the wilder parties
} it encouraged. The demise of others, like Baal Day, is shrouded
} in mystery.
} A number of mildly successful holidays acheived true acceptance
} only when they were moved to different days, owing to the stiff
} competition. Fourth of July, Cinco de Mayo and Baseball Opening
} Day were moved earlier in the year, and have become resounding
} successes. It was a particularly felicitous move for Baseball,
} which was already under pressure to reduce the number of "Game
} Postponed - Snow" items in the daily newspaper.
} Christmas would never have become the institution it now is, if
} not for the acquisition of Santa's Merrie Olde Day a few years
} later. This required Chris Chris's flash of insight to take the
} basic concept of Santa (which was originally a cross between
} Old King Cole and Humpty Dumpty), and replace the idea of giving
} presents TO Santa with that of receiving presents FROM him. We
} now take this for granted, but it was a big risk at the time.
} Naysayers warned that parents would never allow their children
} to sit on a strange old man's lap, and be given candy and toys.
} But with careful attention to image (Santa's fangs were the first
} to go), Chris proved the so-called experts wrong.
} Christmas/Merrie Olde Day became such a success, in fact, that the
} other holidays, such as the ones named at the end of the above
} list, were bought outright for cash. It was decided to keep
} Easter separate and move it, as a form of vertical integration.
} Nowadays, in the Big Money societies that are all too prevalent,
} you don't get a choice of holiday. You like Christmas, or you
} lump it. (It is refreshing to see the resurgence in Hanukkah
} celebrations, fostered by people who are sick and tired of the
} monopolistic situation.) Enforcement of the antitrust laws
} is needed to break up the powerful Christmas interests.
} Anyway, the guy who invented Christmas wasn't too sharp about
} patents and trademarks, and failed to protect the name of his
} holiday before it came into universal acceptance as THE winter
} holiday. So although it had private beginnings, you are free
} to use the name without payment of royalty or fear of prosecution.
} You owe the Oracle some Isotoner gloves.