X is for XOXO

"Love is a present" copyright Debra Myers Woodward
“Love is a present”
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

I often sign off my emails with XOXO. It is my way of offering a virtual hug and kiss on the cheek to someone.  There is an emoticon that looks like someone blowing a kiss which I have often used too.

I have regularly used the emoticon with my son, but when I signed off on a text once with xoxo, he yelled (in all caps) GROSS!! haha. I thought that was funny that he made a distinction between the two.

Since this is the only word that really came to me to write about with the letter X, I decided to go for it and looked up the XOXO to see where it came from. (The following info is from wikipedia.)

In the middle ages, the X was signed at the bottom of a letter or on an envelope to signify a cross and was intended to mean sincerity, faith and honesty.  The signer would then place a kiss on it to indicate their sworn oath.  There was also the fact that many people did not know how to write and so would place an X in place of a signature and again would place a kiss on it as a show of their sincerity.

Apparently according to internet lore, the O comes from North American heritage when Jewish immigrants came to this country and did not wish to use the Christian symbol to sign their name, so they used the O instead and placed a kiss on it.

I rather like the idea that XOXO is an indication of sincerity, faith and honesty.  It is so much more than hug and a kiss and I look forward to thinking about this meaning when I use it in the future.  Am I being honest and sincere? Where is my faith placed as I sign off my text or email?

And it will be fun to explain it to my son and see what he thinks if I use it with him. Will he then prefer that to the emoticon?

What do you know about xoxo?