merry / happy Christmas

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by lupita_riofrio, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. lupita_riofrio New Member

    Spain, Spanish
    Hi!! I used to think the only correct way was to wish "Merry Christmas", but lately I've came across to the "Happy Christmas" expression. Is it correct? it sounds a bit funny... is there any difference?
    Thanks a lot and Feliz Navidad!! ;-)
     
  2. ampurdan

    ampurdan Modstachioed modnster

    jiā tàiluó ní yà
    Català & español (Spain)
    Creo que usar happy es más moderno y que a veces merry puede sonar demasiado formal. No estoy muy seguro.
     
  3. swift_precision Senior Member

    US/English
    I've never heard "i wish you a happy Christmas" it is always Merry Christmas. Now, someone could say "have a happy holiday" in that context it wouldn't sound strange but "I wish you a happy Christmas" sounds a bit strange to me eventhough "merry" and "happy" mean basically the same thing.
     
  4. buddingtranslator

    buddingtranslator Senior Member

    Northamptonshire
    English, England
    Hola!

    Creo que se puede usar los dos pero "Merry Christmas" es más típico. "Happy Christmas" suena un poco raro pero lo decimos de vez en cuando.

    Feliz navidad!
     
  5. lupita_riofrio New Member

    Spain, Spanish
    Thanks! That was my idea, but lately I've seen some window shops that wish "happy Christmas", and even some Xtsmas cards... but it's too strange!
    So, thanks again! and MERRY Xtsmas!
     
  6. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo Mod Chicken

    Arizona
    American English
    I agree...
    Merry Christmas :tick:
    Happy Holidays :tick:
    Happy New Year :tick:

    "Xmas" is the common abbreviation of this holiday. I've never seen it "Xtsmas". Some conservative Christians I've known are mildly offended by it.
     
  7. srsh Senior Member

    Monterrey, México
    Mexico, Español
    Just like Mr. John Lennon would say:

    And so happy Christmas
    I hope you have fun
    The near and the dear one
    The old and the young.


    Lets just we all sing it along!! hehe
     
  8. DaleC Senior Member

    That famous song is the only place I have heard "Happy Christmas". It made me wonder if it was BE. It turns out, no, even the British say "Merry". Ever since I first heard the song three decades ago, I've wondered why he used "Happy".
     
  9. monol New Member

    Inglés
    Hola, sólo quería añadir que "Happy Christmas" suena normal para mí (soy del Reino Unido).
    ¿Vosotros no creéis que "Merry Christmas" suena un poco cursi?
    Personalmente yo sólo lo usaría en una tarjeta de Navidad ("Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year") para evitar la repetición de "Happy".
     
  10. la_mas_deseada Senior Member

    United Statesian born and raised
    Creo que Merry Christmas es el dicho más usado, pero no nadie se va a burlar si alguien dice happy christmas. Merry Christmas happy holidays and happy new year to all at WR!
     
  11. JimmySeal Junior Member

    Japan
    English/USA
    Se usa la expresion "happy christmas" mucho en el Reino Unido. No es comun en otras paises. Tambien se usa "merry christmas" mucho en el Reino Unido.

    Perdonenme mi falta de acentos.
     
  12. ampurdan

    ampurdan Modstachioed modnster

    jiā tàiluó ní yà
    Català & español (Spain)
    Una pequeña corrección LMD: no es "no nadie", es simplemente "nadie".
     
  13. malaka_malaka Junior Member

    United States
    Ingles de Nueva Jersey
    All the people here that say "happy christmas" is okay i see are british.
    im american and i dont think ever in my life i've seen "happy christmas." its just wrong.

    merry christmas - si
    happy christmas - no
    happy holidays - si
     
  14. gothicpartner

    gothicpartner Senior Member

    Bruges
    Spanish
    Hello,

    Is it true that only in United Kingdom and Irland you can say both "Happy Xmas" and "Merry Xmas" to say the same thing?



    Thanks
    Kind Regards!
     
  15. Alma Shofner Senior Member

    California (wine country)
    Mexican Spanish from Sonora
    No idea.
    According to my husband: "They said things differently in Irland. They can easily say Happy Christmas".
    Very interesting question.

    Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!

    Regards
    Saludos
     
  16. paquijote Senior Member

    English/America
    También he oído los dos acá en los EE.UU, aunque la "Happy" con menos frecuencia. De cualquier modo no te preocupes mucho de cuál deberías usar: Se entiende el sentimiento igual se lo agradece.

    Por favor corrijanme my Spanish!!
     
  17. Adge Senior Member

    Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
    USA- English (Southern)
    Quisiera aportar que aunque a veces llegues a escuchar "Happy Christmas" por aquí, se escucha antiguo y un poco raro. Creo que sería mejor decir "Merry Christmas" si no quieres que te corrijan.
    Saludos y por cierto, Merry Christmas!
     
  18. Sprache Senior Member

    United States
    English/inglés
    I can honestly say that I had never heard "Happy Christmas" until I watched a British movie several years ago. It's very uncommon here in the States. We almost always say "Merry Christmas". I'm not sure whether or not they're interchangeable in Britain, however.

    Merry Christmas! / ¡Feliz Navidad!
     
  19. LnGwStX Junior Member

    Arizona
    English, USA
    Tengo parientes del Reino Unido, y ellos dicen los dos. Pero aquí en los EEUU solo se usa "merry", pero solamento en la frase "Merry Christmas". La palabra "merry" casi nunca se oye aparte del contexto de la navidad.
     
  20. wandererfrombirth Junior Member

    U.K./U.S. English
    Aunque parece que ya se resolvo (perdonen la falta de tildes), solo queria anadir algo... Soy britanico y estadounidense (a proposito, seria "mitad" en este caso--es decir "soy una mitad britanico", etc.?), y les puedo asegurar que en EEUU solo se dice "Merry", pero que en el Reino Unido, aunque se usan ambos, lo que mucho mas he oido es "Happy".

    Por favor, si cometo un error corrijanme! Gracias :)
     
  21. gothicpartner

    gothicpartner Senior Member

    Bruges
    Spanish
    You'd say: Soy mitad británico y mitad estaunidense.

    and thank you for confirming it. :)
     
  22. wandererfrombirth Junior Member

    U.K./U.S. English
    Thanks :) Gracias!
     
  23. YoHeVistoCosas Junior Member

    Madrid, España
    Español - España
    Hola, unos cuantos años después.

    Soy español, pero lo que he oído al respecto es que "Merry Christmas" es la fórmula de felicitación tradicional.

    En estos tiempos de corrección política, no parece adecuado felicitarle las Navidades (Christmas, que es una fiesta cristiana) a alguien que en principio no sabes si es cristiano o no. Por eso, lo que se suele desear hoy día es "Happy holidays", que no tiene relación con la religión, sino solamente con el hecho de que estamos en una época de vacaciones.

    Como "Merry" es efectivamente una palabra arcaica, que sólo solía emplearse en la construcción "Merry Christmas", al sustituir "Christmas" por "Holidays" sustituimos también el arcaico calificativo "Merry" por el más actual "Happy".
     
  24. Everybody Needs Somebody New Member

    Lima, Perú
    Español (Perú)
    Un amigo inglés me dice que en su país es ligeramente más usado "Happy Christmas".
     
  25. last time Junior Member

    UK, English
    Hola, en el Reino Unido nadie dice "Happy Holidays", que para nosotros suena muy americano. Aquí lo normal es decir "Happy Christmas".
    Estoy de acuerdo con la persona que dijo que "Merry Christmas" puede sonar un poco cursi, y creo que esto se debe a que (como has dicho) "merry" es una palabra arcaíca que ya no se usa mucho fuera de esa felicitación, pero también porque la fórmula normal para felicitar a alguien es "Happy [lo que sea]"... "Happy Birthday", "Happy Anniversary", "Happy Easter", "Happy Mother's Day"... Y diría que por esto siente normal decir también "Happy Christmas". Si se cambia por "Merry", a mí personalmente me suena un poco falso, o no se qué...

    Así que en mi opinión: En las islas británicas: "Happy Christmas" = lo normal, "Merry Christmas" = también se dice y se escribe, y no suena raro, pero pueder sonar un poco hmmmm, bueno, como he dicho arriba :p.
     
  26. Everybody Needs Somebody New Member

    Lima, Perú
    Español (Perú)
    Clarísima explicación. ¡Gracias! Es muy útil para todos los que teníamos esa duda.
     
  27. The Prof

    The Prof Senior Member

    I have just looked at our Christmas cards. On the outside, several say "Merry Christmas" and none say "Happy Christmas". Printed inside, some do have "Happy Christmas", but not one single person has used either of these expressions in their handwritten greeting - Best Wishes seems to be the favourite in writing!

    This thread has really made me think about what I say myself. Definitely not "Happy Holidays" - as Last Time said, it's not used here in the UK. Personally I don't feel quite right saying "Happy Christmas", because it wasn't used when I was growing up, but I no longer feel totally comfortable with "Merry Christmas", either. I think, on reflection, that nowadays I usually say to people "have a good/great Christmas"!
     
  28. wandererfrombirth Junior Member

    U.K./U.S. English
    Tampoco decimos "Happy Holidays" acá en EEUU a menos que tratemos de ser politicamente correcto. Se encuentra en las comerciales y en las publicidades, pero se suele decir "Merry Christmas". Para nosotros también la palabra 'merry' es arcáica; la usamos en tres expresiones solamente:

    1. Robin Hood and his Merry Men
    2. "Eat, drink and make merry...(for tomorrow we die)"
    3. Merry Christmas.

    Con la última, es una expresión ficha nomás. Por eso no la cambiamos ni la modernizamos.

    En cuanto a la corrección política, realmente la tomás en serio? Para mí es algo esteríl y repulsivo, en general. Uno puede ser moderado y normal/bueno (es decir no-racista, no-machista, etc.) sin tener que decir tales tonterias.
     
  29. TheEnzo8 Junior Member

    Castellón, España
    Español Argentino / Español, España
    I've got a doubt since a lot of years... What's the origin of the word "merry"? Why you say "Merry Christmas" instead using "Happy" or "Good"?
     
  30. zippiezen

    zippiezen Junior Member

    Chinese
    It may because Christmas and New Year are celebrated at around the same time, for example
    people give out cards saying "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year," thus avoiding the
    repetition of the word "happy." my opinion. XD
     
  31. TheEnzo8 Junior Member

    Castellón, España
    Español Argentino / Español, España
    Yes, maybe. It makes sense...

    In Spain, we say, or write: "Feliz Navidad y próspero año nuevo".
     
  32. donbill

    donbill Senior Member / Moderator

    South Carolina / USA
    English - American
    Happy Christmas would sound quite strange to me. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year is the standard way to say it--at least in my part of the English-speaking world.


    So... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!
     
  33. MHCKA

    MHCKA Senior Member

    CIUDAD DE MÉXICO
    MÉXICO. ESPAÑOL
    The point isn't the use but the origin.
     
  34. blasita

    blasita Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain (Madrid)
    "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, second edition, 1977)

    "Merrie England. England of the Anglo-Saxon period and the Middle Ages was not a very happy place to be, let alone 'merrie.' So why this phrase indicating revelry and joyous spirits, as if England were one perpetual Christmastime? The answer is that the word 'merrie' originally meant merely 'pleasing and delightful,' not bubbling over with festive spirits, as it does today. The same earlier meaning is found in the famous expression, 'the merry month of May.'"

    Anyway, Merry Christmas everyone! :)
     
  35. expatriotlaguy Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English/USA
    Basically it's tradition. "Merry Christmas" is a set phrase. Merry has connotations of cheerfulness and laughter associated with celebration; happy is much more generic and can mean anything from content to joyful.
     
  36. Lis48

    Lis48 Senior Member

    York, England
    English - British
    In BE we usually say Happy Christmas not Merry Christmas.
    Strange that the word merry originated in medieval England but tends to be used more by the Americans than by the British.
    I suspect it´s because Americans say "Happy Holidays" which we never would in the UK, so they have used up their happy!
     
  37. TheEnzo8 Junior Member

    Castellón, España
    Español Argentino / Español, España
    Thanks!! I guess this is exactly what I was searching. But, can you please translate it to me? I'm no really good in English-- I'm only 14.
     
  38. Moritzchen Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    Spanish, USA
    FYU it seems the hip way of saying it this season in sunny California is "Have a good Christmas!"
     
  39. asm Senior Member

    New England, USA
    Mexico, Spanish
    I don't think this is wrong, it's just uncommon; tradition is the only argument to say Merry is the only option, but now we see other people using it and finding it natural to their ears.
     
  40. nangueyra Senior Member

    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Castellano-Argentina
    Para aquellos que están aprendiendo inglés señalo un pequeño error.

    Debe decirse "... I've come across ..." To come - came - come
     
  41. andy town Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    English Ireland
    Hello. I would use "happy" if I was greeting someone in person, like "Good morning. Happy Christmas."
    Andy
     
  42. Istriano

    Istriano Senior Member

    -
    http://dialectblog.com/2011/12/15/christmas-dialect-divide/
     
  43. andy town Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    English Ireland
    So Merry Poppins and a Happy New York!
    Andy
     
  44. Istriano

    Istriano Senior Member

    -
    It seems that ''Happy Christmas'' is almost exclusive in Irish English.
     
  45. Teacher Paty New Member

    Veracruz
    Spanish-mexico
    Hola paquijote :)
    En respuesta a tu solicitud para corregir tu español, te comento que en vez de decir corrijanme yo diría " Por favor corrijan mi español" ya que conrrijanme mi español suena repetitivo.

    Saludos
     
  46. James2000 Senior Member

    English - South Africa
    Another vote for 'happy' over 'merry' (from outside the UK and US). To me, 'merry' is used (and over-used) in printed Christmas cards and shop windows and horribly over-played Christmas songs that you hear played incessantly in public places. Also, 'merry' sounds to me a bit too much like you expect the person to drink too much.

    The only time I'd consider using 'merry' is, as somebody else said, to avoid repetition with the 'happy' in 'happy new year', although I'd probably rephrase the sentence to avoid 'happy new year' before resorting to 'merry'.
     
  47. Mimsi Junior Member

    English - Canada & US
    The well known Christmas poem by an American, Clement Clarke Moore, in 1822, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" ('Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house...), ends with the phrase "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"
     

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