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"The X in Xmas is a substitute cross for the Crucifix of Christ"
- Mark E. Smith

From the song 'No Christmas For John Quays' on The Fall's first LP, 1979's Live at the Witch Trials, It also appears in a far longer form as the final track on the live LP Totale's Turns (It's Now Or Never)

The 'John Quays' of the song is a phoenetic substitute for heroin junkies (pronounced juhn-keys - The two actually sound quite interchangeable when Mark sings it), to which the song actually refers to.

However, sid seems to make a more convincing point than Smith...

When I was younger (So much younger than today) I always thought that the 'X' stood for 'cross', which was the logical progression from 'criss', (i.e. criss-cross, which is not too dissimilar from Christopher Cross) thereby making the word sort of 'criss-mas' by proxy, which is phonetically correct.