"Merry Christmas"

Wendalyn Nichols wendalyn at NYC.RR.COM
Mon Dec 27 13:20:43 UTC 2004

A pastor whom our family knew, who was from Wales, refused to use "Merry,"
saying it meant "drunk," and that in the UK one used "Happy." This was in
the late 1970s, and he'd emigrated in the late 1960s, so it's got to be
older than 20 years.

At 02:54 AM 12/26/04, you wrote:
>>On Dec 25, 2004, at 3:08 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>>>Subject:      Re: "Merry Christmas"
>>>On Dec 25, 2004, at 11:47 AM, Barbara Need wrote:
>>>>... I was recently rereading an Agatha Christie in which someone
>>>>another person "Merry Christmas", so the question may be, when the
>>>>British start saying "Happy Christmas"?
>>>americans said it too: recall the final line of the famous poem of
>>>Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
>I won't swear to it, but I'm pretty sure I have heard the poem
>receited with "Merry".
>>Sigh! It's to my own great annoyance that I'm forced to point out that
>>Americans *still* say "Happy Christmas." I always reply, "You mean,
>>'*Merry* Christmas.'" One can only try.
>I asked a Brit today about this and he reports that Happy Christmas
>is a recent phenomenon in England, within the last 20 years. He said
>that it was a reaction to the association between _merry_ and
>drinking and people didn't want Christmas connected to drinking.
>I realize it is probably far more complicated than that (ain't it always!).

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