Happy holidays, Season's greetings

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by gothicpartner, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. gothicpartner

    gothicpartner Senior Member


    As far as I know, happy holydays se puede usar como saludo o despedida deseando "felices fiestas" pero "season's greetings" solo como saludo.

    My questions are:

    Ambas frases se usan exclusivamente para las fiestas navideñas y de año nuevo???

    cuándo realmente debo usar happy holydays en lugar de season's greetings?

    Me confude un poco porque he visto tarjetas postales navideñas con ambos títulos.

    Any help will be very appreciated

    with regards
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2008
  2. Madonna´s fan Junior Member

    Mexican & latin spanish
    season´s greetings es para todas las fiestas y happy holidays es para navidad y año nuevo
  3. Alma Shofner Senior Member

    California (wine country)
    Mexican Spanish from Sonora
    Me parece correcto. Cuando se trata de un día festivo, por ejemplo Thanksgiving, por lo general dicen happy holiday o Happy Thanksgiving.

    Entonces como en esta fecha son dos Navidad/Hanuka/Kuanza y Año Nuevo, se usa en plural.

  4. gothicpartner

    gothicpartner Senior Member


    I hope English nativer speaker confirms this statement

  5. xqby

    xqby Senior Member

    Santa Maria, CA
    English (U.S.)
    No creo que haya oído "Happy Holiday," me parece que siempre se usa en plural, para que se refiera a todas las fiestas del invierno como Ramadán y Jánuca.

    La única diferencia que puedo imaginarme entre los dos saludos es que "Seasons Greetings" también saluda a la gente que no celebra ninguna fiesta en el invierno. Es un poquito más general.

  6. gothicpartner

    gothicpartner Senior Member


    Leí en otro post que Season Greetings se usa sólo para saludar o para dar la bienvenida a las fiestas, en cambio Happy Holydays se usa tanto para dar saludos como para despedirse de las fiestas.

    What do you think?
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2008
  7. Alma Shofner Senior Member

    California (wine country)
    Mexican Spanish from Sonora
    I just asked my husband and he said it depends on how many holidays you are talking about.
    He said that right now is holidays.
    I asked "What about four of July?" He said it would be holiday.

    We can wait for more English native speakers to confirm.

    Regards and Merry Christmas/ Happy Holidays!
    Saludos y feliz Navidad/felices días festivos!
  8. xqby

    xqby Senior Member

    Santa Maria, CA
    English (U.S.)
    Uf, sí, eso se me pasó. :eek:
    Como bienvenido la única diferencia es como dije. Lo que leíste tiene razón, no se puede usar "Season's Greetings" como despedida, mientras que "Happy Holidays" sí funciona como adios.

    Los días de Navidad y Jánuca y étcetera sí son sagrados pero no se escribe con "holy."
  9. Alma Shofner Senior Member

    California (wine country)
    Mexican Spanish from Sonora
    Holiday=día festivo
    Holidays= días festivos
  10. pozzo

    pozzo Senior Member

    inglés canadiense
    Season's Greetings is more along the lines of something that you'll find in a shop window. It's not something that I often hear people actually say, although it is very common, and I can't imagine there's anything wrong with saying it.

    Happy Holidays is something that is used particularly at this time around Christmas when there are a number of holidays in succession, as well as different types of holidays that different people celebrate. If you're talking to someone that celebrates a given holiday in particular, then they might find a more specific greeting to be preferable (see what I explain below).

    It seems to me that both Happy Holidays and Season's Greetings mean essentially the same thing. They're both very generic. I've usually associated them with the period around Christmas and New Year's. I can't comment on Thanksgiving since where I'm from Thanksgiving is earlier so not associated as much with the holiday season and furthermore it isn't as much of a holiday as it is in the U.S.

    Happy Holiday you don't hear all that much. I agree with xqby, although in the context of what I'm about to explain there should be nothing wrong with it as a nonstandard greeting.

    It should be possible to put happy in front of any day that you want and it will work as a greeting. For example: Happy Birthday, Happy Fourth of July, Happy Canada Day, Happy Independence Day, Happy Commemoration of the Great Revolution when the tyrant was toppled, Happy May Long Weekend, Happy Saba Saba, Happy Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Easter, Happy New Year, Happy Eid ul-Fitr, ... One exception is that when it comes to Christmas, it's slightly more common where I'm from to say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Christmas.

    If you're saying goodbye to someone and they're about to start a holiday, then you could say something like Have a happy holiday! or Have a fun holiday!

    Also note that it's holiday not holyday although, come to think of it, holyday would probably make sense if it were correct.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2008
  11. pozzo

    pozzo Senior Member

    inglés canadiense
    There is a specific greeting that we say very rarely which is Greetings! It's uncommon so I wouldn't recommend to a beginner to use it, but it's used in place of hello, so that's probably why Seasons Greetings sounds like hello when you hear it.

    Happy X could be something you say when you say hello, or it could be used as have a happy X which would be used when saying goodbye.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2008
  12. Adge Senior Member

    Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
    USA- English (Southern)
    I agree that "Season's Greetings" is something you see written, but don't actually hear said very often. "Happy Holidays," always plural, you hear often instead of "Merry Christmas" in order to include all of the other celebrations that take place in December.

    Alma, I have to disagree with your husband. Technically I guess he's right, but it sounds awfully funny and quaint to me to say "Happy holiday" at any time of year. If you're only talking about one holiday, why not just say its name? But to each his own, I guess.
  13. Alma Shofner Senior Member

    California (wine country)
    Mexican Spanish from Sonora
    He might be wrong. I also hear that from my colleagues. They are teachers, they have told me: "have a happy holiday" Even for cinco de mayo. (which it's not a holiday for me :D)

    It might be a matter of personal preferences.

    Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to all of you!
  14. pozzo

    pozzo Senior Member

    inglés canadiense
    I agree with Adge about Happy Holiday. Have a happy holiday at the start of a holiday is very common, and it could conceivably be shortened to Happy holiday, but that's different from replacing Merry Christmas or Happy Easter or Happy whatever with Happy Holiday.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2008
  15. pozzo

    pozzo Senior Member

    inglés canadiense
    I can imagine a situation though where there is a big snow storm and no one (excluding street-cleaners and others) has to go to work and people might then say to each other half-jokingly "Hey, happy holiday!"
  16. Adge Senior Member

    Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
    USA- English (Southern)
    Ok, I will concede that saying "Have a happy holiday" is fairly normal, but I still think that's different than just saying "Happy holiday!" the way one would say "Merry Christmas!" And cinco de mayo is my favorite non-holiday of all. It's a holiday for college kids in Monterrey (or an excuse to throw a party...) but no one else. ;)
  17. Aserolf

    Aserolf Senior Member

    Colorado, USA
    Yo he escuchado ¡Felices Fiestas Decembrinas!
    Es lo que uso para Happy Holidays! y Season's Greetings!

    Saludos ;o)
  18. zumac Senior Member

    Mexico City
    USA: English & Spanish
    I agree with Pozzo's nice summary of the issue.

    Regarding the greetings during the Christmas season, I feel that most people, especially businesses, have deliberately avoided using "Merry Christmas" because Jewish people might be offended since their Hanukkah celebration falls within the Christmas season. Using a nondescript "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" apparently solved the problem. But like Pozzo says, you may find these phrases in writing, especially on greeting cards, but seldom voiced.

    With my Jewish friends and acquaintances, I prefer to wish them a Merry Christmas and receive a Happy Hanukkah in return.

    At Easter time, you will very rarely hear a general greeting like "Happy Holidays." For those who use greetings during this time, you will either hear "Happy Easter", "Christ has risen" or its equivalent in an Orthodox language, or Happy Passover.

  19. treborlauri New Member

    English (American)
    Hi, all! First, I wanted to agree that:

    1) Season's Greetings is very formal & generally only used in greeting cards, store advertisements, etc.;
    2) Happy Holidays is only used to include the various December religious holidays and New Year's;
    3) Happy (name the holiday) can be used for anything;
    4) I've never heard Happy Holiday; &
    5) It is holiday, not holyday (although, yes, at some point, it probably was holy+day).

    However, I want to add a cultural note for people in the U.S. (hopefully this has not spread beyond the U.S.) who may be getting strange responses to either Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. (sigh...) Among some (most?) very politically conservative people (especially those who watch Fox "news"), it is believed that there is a "War on Christmas" & that non-Christians are deliberately using "Happy Holidays" as a way to "take Christ out of Christmas," rather than people just wanting to include non-Christians and Happy New Year wishes in their holiday wishes. Therefore, if you say Happy Holidays to someone & they very pointedly say Merry Christmas back & seem upset, this is probably what happened.

    If it's very important to you not to get involved in this whole mess & want to make sure you don't offend a stranger, you might want to stick to Merry Christmas, unless the person is wearing an obvious symbol of another religion. Even if they are another religion, they've probably gotten used to their religion being treated as second-class, so they probably won't be offended. Non-Christians and politically liberal people might make a point of saying Happy Holidays back to you, but they're unlikely to be offended. An intermediate measure might be to look to see if the person is wearing a crucifix, since most people who would be offended by Happy Holidays tend to wear Christian insignia, & then wish them Happy Holidays if they're not wearing a cross. (On the other hand, I think this is all completely ridiculous, I believe we are supposed to have Freedom of/from Religion in the U.S., so I tend to wish everyone Happy Holidays, whether I think they'll be offended or not - but I do get some very emphatic responses of Merry Christmas!!!) ;)

    Again, hopefully this is just a U.S. phenomenon, and even in the U.S., it's much more common for it to be a problem in the "red" (Republican) areas (Deep South, Midwest, small towns, etc.), but it's getting more emphatic every year, so I wanted to explain this in case y'all are getting strange responses to Happy Holidays.

    Disclaimer: I am very politically liberal/progressive & pride myself on being inclusive. While I have done my best to be non-judgmental about this topic, I do think it's silly to be offended at anyone wishing you happy anything - to me it's obvious their heart is in the right place & that ought to be good enough! - & I'm sure that has seeped through this post, despite my efforts at neutrality, & a conservative person who truly does believe there's a "War on Christmas" and that the U.S. is supposed to be a "Christian Nation" probably would have described this cultural trend very differently than I have. Hopefully I haven't offended anyone! :)

    Happy Holidays, all! :)
  20. Txiri

    Txiri Senior Member

    USA English
    I think you've done a very nice job, Treborlauri, in laying out the cultural territory of Yuletide greetings. No reason for anyone to be offended in any event, this time of year, it's not what the holiday is all about, is it?

    I don't presume to decide what religion anyone should follow, and I don't think anyone else should dictate that for others, either. This is the little problem, the hypocrisy of it all.

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