What is the X in X-mas?
"healthy," Old English hal "healthy, entire, uninjured" (see health). The Scottish and northern English form of whole; it was given a literary sense of "free from infirmity" (1734). Related: Haleness.
c.1200, "drag; summon," in Middle English used of arrows, bowstrings, reins, anchors, from Old French haler "to pull, haul" (12c.), from a Germanic source, perhaps Frankish *halon or Old Dutch halen; probably also from Old English geholian "obtain" (see haul). Figurative sense of "to draw (someone) from one condition to another" is late 14c. Related: Haled; haling.
An asterisk ("*", see also splat, ASCII). Notionally, from "I regret that I have only one asterisk for my country!" ("life to give" -> "ass to risk" -> "asterisk"), a misquote of the famous remark uttered by Nathan Hale just before he was hanged. Hale was a (failed) spy for the rebels in the American War of Independence.