Why do we say MERRY Christmas?

We say "Happy New Year!" but.. "Happy Christmas"?

I always wondered why Christmas is traditionally described as “merry”.
We say “Happy New Year!”, “Happy Birthday!” and “Happy Easter!”, right? But no, not for Christmas. And there’s damn good reason too.

I found out that it all comes down to the history of the word. In a YouTube video the digital publication breaks it down, explaining that ‘happy’ explains an emotional state, whereas ‘merry’ implies specific sorts of merry-making behaviours (think giving presents and eating all the food).

The clip goes on to explain how originally both terms were used in the context of Christmas – ‘happy’ being a little more high end and ‘merry’ more commonly used amongst the working class. When ‘merry’ became the more commonly used phrase, Christmas songs and books were changed everywhere.

Confused? So was I, but check out the full explanation below.

And with that I hope you have a very merry Christmas! And don’t eat too much.


On-Air weekdays 4-7pm CET. Hi, my name is Patrick, I'm 25, living in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). I love wine, sushi, great music and reading great books. Make sure to follow me on Social Media and don't forget to vote for the #6AT6, weekdays 6pm CET.