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

Do you wish to wish a happy holiday season to your French friends and family? Or are you just interested in learning how to wish someone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in French? KnowInsider will walk you through the various ways to wish someone a happy Christmas in French in this article.

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, different cultures have different customs, but during the holidays, people everywhere appreciate spending time with one another. According to Fluentu, there are several reasons why knowing how to greet people in French is a plus during the holidays.

It will be a great topic of discussion and introduction at Christmas parties or get-togethers if you live in France. Major Christmas expressions will be used in many interactions as you go about your daily business, go out, or take walks around town, particularly in place of "Hello" and "Goodbye."

Knowing these greetings will help you celebrate the Christmas season with French-speaking people in your home country or through online messaging, even if you don't live in France. A heartfelt "Merry Christmas" adds so much value to an otherwise ordinary message.

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