How to Wish Someone “Merry Christmas” in French
Learn to say Merry Christmas in French. Photo: APKPure

Do you have French friends and family whom you want to greet this holiday season? Or do you simply want to know how to say Merry Christmas and a happy new year in French? Here in this article, KnowInsider will introduce you to different ways you can wish someone a happy Christmas in French.

1. Merry Christmas!

In French, “Merry Christmas” is Joyeux Noël. Noël is “Christmas.”

You can see two little dots on the “ë” — they’re called le tréma. It’s used to separate the sound of vowels when they’re next to each other in a French word. The letter “ë” is called “e tréma” and it’s pronounced like è (= [ay])

Joyeux is “Merry / Joyful / Happy.” It’s a singular, masculine adjective with a silent “x”.

The “y” (called “i grec” = Greek “i”) is used as a “double i” : the word sounds like “Joi” [jwah] + “ieu” [yuh]

All in all, it makes : [Jwah yuh Naw ayl] = Joyeux Noël ! Be sure to watch the video above to get the pronunciation and practice it for yourself.

2. I Wish You a Merry Christmas

To wish a Merry Christmas” in French is “Souhaiter un joyeux Noël

Now you only need to choose the subject and the complement to build a sentence:

Subject + Complement + “Souhaiter” in the present + “un joyeux Noël

For the subject, you can pick “Je” (= I) if you’re giving the greeting yourself, or “Nous” if you’re wishing it as a group (as a family, for instance).

The verb “Souhaiter” then becomes:

Je souhaite (= “I wish…”)

Nous souhaitons (= “We wish…”)

For the complement, you can pick “te” (= “you”, 2nd person singular), for someone in particular, or “vous” (= “you”, 2nd person plural) for a group.

The te / vous choice is a strange French grammar trick, so in this case also ties to the choice between Tu (for friends, family, people you’re close to) or Vous (for strangers and people you respect).

So in the end, it can be:

Je te souhaite un joyeux Noël. = I wish you a merry Christmas

→ from yourself to one person you’re close to (your mom, your grandchild, your friend, me!)

Je vous souhaite un joyeux Noël. = I wish you a merry Christmas

→ from yourself to several people, or to one person you say “vous” to so you can be more formal (like your cheese seller, perhaps…)


Nous (te / vous) souhaitons un joyeux Noël. = We wish you a merry Christmas

→ To wish Merry Christmas as a family, like in a Christmas card.

Of course, you can always simply say “Joyeux Noël !” instead.

3. Beyond Christmas

Les fêtes de fin d’année (= “Holidays of the end of the year” = “the holiday season”) are often talked about together.

This is a great way to talk about both Noël (= Christmas) and le Nouvel An (= New Year) at the same time… but also to wish “Happy Holidays” to people in France who don’t celebrate Christmas, or celebrate another end of year traditions.

You can also wish happy holidays with:

Bonnes fêtes de fin d’année !

Joyeuses fêtes de fin d’année !

(= Happy Holidays!)

There’s a special kind of magic in the air when the end of the year approaches. To make the season even more special, you need the perfect greetings to say to your loved ones. I hope the greetings listed in this article will help you.

Why Learn French Christmas Greetings?

Of course, some traditions are different than others, but what’s the same everywhere is that people enjoy spending time together during the holidays. Knowing French greetings is an added benefit during the holiday season for many reasons, according to Fluentu.

If you’re living in France, it’ll be a perfect conversation starter and introduction at parties or gatherings during the Christmas season. As you run errands, go out or go walking around town, major Christmas phrases will be used in many interactions, especially in place of “Hello” and “Goodbye.”

Even if you’re not living in France, knowing these greetings will help you engage the Christmas season with your fellow French speakers in your home country or in messages online. A nice “Merry Christmas” is a great touch to an otherwise normal message.

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