Holiday Greetings

by Gloria Petersen


When I say Merry Christmas and you respond with your preferred season’s greeting (e.g.,Happy Hanukkah), we are good! It is a wonderful way to share our holiday preference and at the same time honor the season with our coworkers, colleagues, and clients.

Trying to be politically correct can cause awkward moments. It is simply impossible to know the beliefs of everyone we greet during this special time of the year. It is also unfair to yourself to sidestep your convictions through your holiday greeting. Simply put, respect is honoring the position of another.

Your personal holiday cards (or verbal greeting) should also reflect your religious or cultural beliefs. Do not use Happy Holidays as an escape phrase; use it only if it is truly your preferred holiday greeting. The exception would be a “Happy Holidays” greeting that needs to reflect a wide range of beliefs.

As the old saying goes, “do not walk on ice” as a way to avoid offending another with your personal greeting. Instead, be understanding and flexible! ‘Tis the season for sharing and giving. Just knowing the preferred greeting of another is a gift within itself. Here are some holiday greetings from around the world:

Africa(Western Africa): “Happy Kwanzaa”

Arab: “Eid Mubarak” (representing 22 Arab countries)

Brazil:  “Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo” or “Feliz Natal”

Canada: “Merry Christmas” or “Joyeux Noel”

Chinese/ Cantonese: “Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun” or “Saint Dan Fai Lok”

Chinese/Mandarin: “Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan”

Denmark: “God jul”

France:“Joyeux Noel”

Germany: “Froehliche Weihnachten”

Greece: “Kala Christouyenna”

Hawaii:“Mele Kalikimaka” or “Hauoli Makahiki Hou”

Hungary: “Boldog karácsonyt” or “Kellemes karácsonyi ünnepeket””

India (Hindi):  “Krisamas kee badhaee”

Ireland: “Nollaig Shona Dhuit”

Israel/Hebrew:“Mo’adim Lesimkha Chena Tova”

Italy: “Buone Feste Natalizie” or “Buon Natale”

Japan:“Meri Kuri” or “Meri Kurisumasu”

Jewish Holiday:“Happy Hanukkah”

Latin America: “Feliz Navidad”

Native American/Cherokee:“Danistayohihv” or “Aliheli’sdi Itse Udetiyvasadisv”

Native American/Navajo:“Yáʼátʼééh Késhmish”

Poland:“Wesołych Świąt”

Portugal:“Feliz Natal” or “Boas Festas”

Russia: “Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom”

Sweden:  “God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt Ar”

United Kingdom:“Happy Christmas” or “Merry Christmas”

Wales: “Nadolig Llawen”

Your season’s greeting is a “warm-hearted” message in any language.

Gloria Petersen, CPP, is an author, trainer, and speaker on Professional Presence, Business Etiquette and Protocol. Gloria is a graduate of the Protocol School of Washington® and has received numerous certifications on her subject matter. Her four-book series, “The Art of Professional Connections,” and SME training modules represent her 30+ year legacy. Experience the learning at Gloria’s interactive seminars, workshops, and training. For details, visit or email direct

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