Why do people in the USA always say "MERRY Christmas"?
We say "Happy New Year", and people in the UK often say "Happy Christmas"... Why the difference?
Well, first is simply history. In 1843 Charles Dickens used it in his very famous novel, A Christmas Carol. And in that same year, the very first printed Christmas card said, "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you". So, it became very popular and started being used in Christmas songs and greetings all over the English speaking world.
But later, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain preferred to say "Happy Christmas" instead. She used it all the time in her Christmas greetings, so it eventually became the most popular in the UK.
So why did the Queen prefer "Happy Christmas"? I'm not exactly sure, but it is probably because 'happy' and 'merry' have slightly different meanings. 'Happy' is a good feeling in your heart. But 'merry' has more of a light, fun, party feeling. I think people in the difficult Victorian Era hoped to enjoy a little lightness and fun during these cold, dark winter holidays, so they wished each other a "Merry Christmas". On the other hand, maybe the word 'happy' is a better fit for the important role of the Queen, and her people of the UK followed her example--
Finally, I do think it is a little dull to say "HAPPY Christmas and HAPPY New Year" as a set phrase. So following the example of that very first Christmas card, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Jeffrey じぇふりい An experienced trainer and teacher using techniques from Special Education and psychology to make learning effective and enjoyable for everyone.
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