Though Christmas has been celebrated Cat Merry Kissmyass Christmas Light shirt since the 4th century AD, the first known usage of any Christmas greeting dates was in 1565, when it appeared in The Hereford Municipal Manuscript: “And thus I comytt you to God, who send you a mery Christmas.” “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” (thus incorporating two greetings) was in an informal letter written by an English admiral in 1699. The same phrase is contained in the 16th century secular English carol “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and the first commercial Christmas card, produced in England in 1843.
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Also in 1843, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Cat Merry Kissmyass Christmas Light shirt Carol was published, during the mid Victorian revival of the holiday. The word Merry was then beginning to take on its current meaning of “jovial, cheerful, jolly and outgoing”. “Merry Christmas” in this new context figured prominently in A Christmas Carol. The cynical Ebenezer Scrooge rudely deflects the friendly greeting: “If I could work my will.. every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding.” After the visit from the Ghosts of Christmas effects his transformation, Scrooge exclaims; “I am as merry as a school-boy. A merry Christmas to everybody!” and heartily exchanges the wish to all he meets. The instant popularity of A Christmas Carol, the Victorian era Christmas traditions it typifies, and the term’s new meaning appearing in the book popularized the phrase “Merry Christmas”.