Happy Christmas vs. Merry Christmas

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Dec 25 19:22:11 UTC 2010

At 6:01 PM +0000 12/25/10, Charles C Doyle wrote:
>I am reasonably certain the the copy of "The Night  before
>Christmas" that I read (and, earlier, was read) as a child (c1950)
>had Santa saying, as he drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all,
>and to all a good night."

Indeed, the original version--on both the pro-Moore and
pro-Livingston sites--had "Happy Christmas". A facsimile reproduction
from the 1923 Troy Sentinel is at:


>From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of
>David A. Daniel [dad at POKERWIZ.COM]
>Sent: Saturday, December 25, 2010 4:44 AM
>>My direct contact with Brits and Britspeak goes back to 1967. I have, from
>>that time till now, observed that Brits say Happy while Americans say
>>The British song does not go "God rest ye *happy* Gentlemen".  (I
>>omit the moveable comma.)
>Well, not sure what "merry gentlemen" has to do with merry Christmas, but
>then... But, if anyone on the ground in the UK wants to go out and take a
>poll I'll be willing to bet money that Happy Christmases will outnumber
>Merry Christmases by a lot. I won a thousand pounds once making a similar
>bet about soccer, so beware...  If interested, here is John Lennon singing
>Happy Christmas, and writing it on his sign, while all the little American
>kids sing "Merry Christmas" when it is their turn.
>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb2YSAVHmIE Worth a listen in any case.
>Brought genuine tears to my eyes.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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