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Perhaps you've noticed that the abbreviation "Xmas" has gradually been giving way to the full word "Christmas." Almost the only places where "Xmas" still occasionally prevails are in classified ads, where space is at a premium, and on homemade signs advertising Christmas trees, according to Fred E. Magel of River Forest, Ill.

Magel should know. He has waged an intensive 10-year campaign to persuade the nation's businesses to keep the name "Christ" in Christmas. He monitors the progress of that campaign closely.

Conceding that "X" is not without religious symbolism -- it represents the first letter of the Greek spelling of Christ -- Magel nonetheless says he has run into virtually no opposition. "Most [businesses] realize that the longer word is more respectful and will improve their public image," he says.m

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