13 Christmas Greetings in English

In the English-speaking world, one of our favorite reasons to celebrate is Christmas. Toward the end of the year, Christmas music plays everywhere and Christmas decorations appear on the streets.

This is a cheerful (happy) time, but you might find yourself a little confused by the unfamiliar language of the holidays. We’ve put together some key English Christmas greetings to help you spread love and joy this season.


Common English Christmas Greetings

Sending a thoughtful Christmas card is a great way to practice English and participate in English-speaking holiday customs.

If you’re not one for sending cards, most of the greetings below can also be used in spoken English. We’ll let you know which ones are typically reserved for writing.

1. Season’s greetings

This is a very general greeting that means you’re wishing a person good health over Christmas. It’s quite impersonal, so it’s perfect for someone you don’t know too well.

Although it’s very common, you’re more likely to see this one written down than hear it spoken.

2. Happy holidays

This is also an ideal phrase for someone you’re not very familiar with. If you don’t know whether they celebrate Christmas (or if you know they don’t) the word “holidays” makes your greeting less specific.

This is a very common one to hear out loud in all types of social situations toward the end of the year.

3. Merry Christmas

This is another very common greeting that’s specific to Christmas. You’ll see it written down and hear it spoken aloud many times during the Christmas season.

4. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

This is a very common variation on the above greeting. It’s a standard phrase to see on Christmas cards.

A longer, more formal version would be: “Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

(For whatever reason, you’re not likely to hear someone say, “Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.”)

5. Wishing you good tidings

“Tidings” is an  archaic (very old) English word that we wouldn’t normally use today. It means “news” or “information.” If you go to church, you may hear it in Christmas hymns, which is why some people continue to write it in cards. This sort of greeting would be appreciated by a religious friend.

Due to its formal tone, this one is better for cards than conversation.

6. Wishing you peace and blessings this Christmas

The words “peace” and “blessings” often have a religious tone in English. This is a nice greeting to send somebody who you know is a Christian.

Again, this phrase is a little more formal, so you’re more likely to write it than to say it.

7. Wishing you warmth and good cheer

“Good cheer” is another way of saying “fun,” but we only tend to use it in Christmas greetings. In everyday speech, it would sound a bit old-fashioned.

This phrase is a way of reminding someone that they’re always in your thoughts, so you could send it to someone you don’t see too often.

Christmas Greetings for Specific Situations

You may want to personalize your holiday card with some more specific greetings. Below are some suggestions that you can use depending on who you’re writing to.

You can also mix these with the common English Christmas greetings above.

8. Thinking warmly of you and your family at this time

The holidays aren’t easy for everyone. If someone you know has lost a loved one, or has had to deal with a difficult event, a cheerful card might not be appropriate. A phrase like this subtly reminds someone that you have their  circumstances (situation) in mind.

9. Wishing you a well-deserved rest and a relaxing new year

If you’re writing to your colleague or boss, make sure to let them know you value their input in the workplace. Your card is urging them to enjoy the time off, so avoid mentioning work itself.

10. Missing you and hope to see you in the new year

If you haven’t seen someone in a long time, it’s nice to use your message as a way of reconnecting with them. Suggesting a meetup in the New Year gives someone time to get in touch over the holidays.

11. Thanks for all your help this semester! I hope you get the break you deserve.

If you’re studying in an English-speaking country, you may want to give a holiday card to your professor. This is a simple way of expressing gratitude and is sure to brighten their day.

12. The holidays begin when you arrive!

Remind your friends how much you enjoy their company. If someone is staying with you over the holidays, there’s nothing to stop you surprising them with a card, too.

13. There’s no greater gift than spending time with you

If you’re writing to someone you see regularly, it’s nice to personalize your message. A phrase like this reminds a close friend that the best Christmas present is them.

Ideas for More Formal Christmas Letters

Christmas cards tend to be quite short, so some people like to write letters instead. These tend to be more formal than cards, and have more of a personal tone. You should only send them to people you’re really familiar with.

Letters aren’t very common these days, so that makes them even more special and valuable to the recipient. You might like to write a letter or email to English-speaking friends overseas to let them know how you’re doing. Writing a letter can be a bit challenging in a second language, but it’s a fun and creative test of your English writing skills.

Christmas letters tend to have a cheerful, lighthearted tone. Don’t worry too much about using impressive vocabulary or sentence structures. You don’t have to write an entire essay.

Begin your letter with a seasonal greeting. For example:

“I hope this letter finds you well and you’re having a restful holiday.”

Follow this up by telling your friend a little about your own Christmas plans.

“I’ll be spending this Christmas with my brother and his fiancée.”

Now it’s time for an update. Reflect on the key events of your year. Where have you traveled? Have you started a new job or school? You could include some photos.

Remember to frame your stories in a way that doesn’t come across as boastful or egotistical. You want your friend to know that you’re grateful for your experiences, and aren’t just showing off.

“Everyone in my new office has been so welcoming.”

“I was lucky enough to visit Paris in March.”

Finish your letter by sending your wishes for the upcoming year. Don’t forget to remind your friend to write back.

“Wishing you an exciting New Year with plenty of good surprises ahead. I look forward to hearing from you.”


Sharing Christmas greetings is a clear way of letting someone know you’re thinking of them. Christmas can be very important to some English speakers, but may be less important to others. Either way, people will always appreciate you taking an active interest in their traditions.

English Christmas greetings will be easy to learn if you live in an English-speaking country because you’ll hear them all the time. And if you don’t, you can always use a program like FluentU, which uses native English videos to teach the language naturally.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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Once you’ve impressed your friends with these greetings, you can teach them some in your own language, too.

And One More Thing...

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If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it.

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