What Are Other Ways To Wish Someone A Merry Christmas?

In December, it’s hard to go a single day without hearing the phrase Merry Christmas. Whether it’s from the clerk at the grocery store or during your favorite cheesy holiday romance movie, the greeting is among the oldest and most common ways to wish people a happy holiday season. But when you’re working on those holiday cards and party invitations, you might find yourself searching for another way to say this classic phrase. That’s where Thesaurus.com comes in. Here are some alternative ways to say Merry Christmas that will add a little extra magic to your holiday season.

Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas?

What’s the difference between having a happy Christmas and having a merry one? Location, mostly. Merry Christmas is more common in American English, while Happy Christmas enjoys greater popularity in British English. The phrase Merry Christmas has been recorded since at least 1534, when it was used in a letter by bishop John Fisher. In this usage, merry means “causing happiness; pleasant; delightful.” Happy Christmas can be traced back to at least the mid-1600s.

Both phrases are accepted on either side of the pond, but it’s thought that Brits favor Happy Christmas in part because it’s been frequently used by the royal family in the annual Christmas broadcasts. Meanwhile, popular songs and stories—such as the carol “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol—helped elevate Merry Christmas in popularity. Despite Americans’ preference for merry, the word happy is more commonly used in well wishes. Think: happy birthday, happy anniversary, happy Thanksgiving. Perhaps the British are onto something.

You’ve made your holiday wishes and sent your gifts. Now, how do you respond to receiving a gift you were less-than-thrilled about? Find out here.

What to say instead of Merry Christmas

Season's greetings

There are many different holidays that take place from the end of November through the beginning of January. One nice way to sum it all up? Season's greetings. The word season here covers the full range of holidays that takes place during late fall and early winter, while greetings are "an expression of friendly regard." The exact origins of this phrase are unknown, but its meaning is similar to that of happy holidays. It's an inclusive, nondenominational way to wish people well all season long.

Mele Kalikimaka

If you're a fan of classic holiday music, you likely already know that Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas day. What you may not know is that the phrase is borrowed directly from English. The Hawaiian language does not have the same R and S sounds present in English, so Mele Kalikimaka is the closest possible phonetic translation of Merry Christmas in Hawaiian.

The phrase was first recorded in a Hawaiian language newspaper in 1904, and later gained popularity as the title of the popular Bing Crosby song in 1950. It's the perfect choice for a beachy Christmas card or Zoom holiday.

Feliz Navidad

We couldn't mention phrases from classic Christmas songs without giving a nod to Feliz Navidad. In English and Spanish, this phrase is recognized as meaning Merry Christmas. Navidad is a Spanish word that derives from the Latin nativitas, meaning "birth." Feliz is Spanish for "happy." In 1970, Puerto Rican musician José Feliciano penned the popular Christmas song. Both the song and the phrase itself have been a Christmastime staple in American households ever since.

Yuletide greetings

By now, you're familiar with greetings, but you might be asking yourself what the heck yuletide even is. It is actually a compound word. Yule derives from the Old English geōl, meaning “Christmas day, Christmastide." Geōl comes from the same root word as the Old Norse jōl, the name of the Pagan winter festival. The suffix tide means "a season or period in the course of the year, day, etc." Yuletide has been recorded in English since at least 1425, and while the phrase yuletide greetings is not currently popular, this just might be the right time for a comeback.

Happy holidays

Some folks might say happy holidays is the opposite of merry Christmas, but hear us out. The phrase happy holidays has been used in the United States since at least the mid-1800s. Holiday, which dates back before the year 950, stems from the Old English word hāligdæg, meaning “holy day.” Happy holidays is often seen as the more inclusive alternative to saying merry Christmas. No matter which phrase you choose, you're still acknowledging someone's holy day and wishing them well. The two greetings aren't as far apart as you might think.

Did you know Santa goes by different names around the world? See how many you know here!

Previous 10 Better Synonyms For "Nice" Next Out With The Old, And In With The Perfect End-Of-Year Quotes