13 Ways to Say Merry Christmas in French (+ Happy New Year)

How do you say Merry Christmas in French?

The three most common ways to say Merry Christmas in French as well as happy holidays are: Joyeux Noël (Translation “Merry Christmas”, pronounced ʒwajø nɔɛl), Meilleurs Voeux (Translation “Best Wishes”, pronounced mɛjœʀ vø) and bonnes fêtes (Translation “Happy Holidays”, pronounced bɔn fɛt).

If you’ve ever considered going to France for the Christmas season, there are a few things you can do to prepare. Besides packing some warm clothes, looking up the best Christmas markets, and getting excited about drinking a little too much chocolat chaud, learning how to say Merry Christmas in French should definitely be on your to-do list.

Knowing some other Christmas vocabulary might be helpful too. 

Before I moved to France, I was prepared for window shopping, mulled wine, and ice skating in front of the Eiffel tower. But, I did not prepare for all of the different ways French people can wish you Merry Christmas.

So I thought today, I would share 11 ways to say Merry Christmas in French. This list will include some popular Christmas wishes, as well as more advanced ways to say Merry Christmas in French. Plus, as a bonus, I’ll also share how to say “Happy New Year” in French.

Most Common Ways to Say Merry Christmas in French

Joyeux Noël

The phrase you’ll see everywhere during the Christmas season is Joyeux Noël, which literally means “joyful Christmas.” No matter where you are in France, you’re sure to see Joyeux Noël written on Christmas cards, sung in French Christmas songs, and spoken among co-workers and family members alike.

Tous mes meilleurs vœux de Noël !

If you’re writing a letter or are in a more professional setting, “Tous mes meilleurs vœux de Noël !” is a nice option when wishing someone Merry Christmas in French. It means “all my best wishes for Christmas.”

How to Say Happy Holidays in French

Bonnes fêtes (de fin d’année) ! 

After Joyeux Noël, “Bonnes fêtes” is the second most popular phrase you’ll hear during the Christmas season. Bonnes fêtes means “Happy Holidays.”

It’s become more and more popular over the years because it is a non-denominational way to wish someone a happy holiday season. 

Although most people in France celebrate Christmas, you can never be sure when speaking with a stranger. So, if you aren’t sure if someone celebrates Christmas, it might be better to say Bonnes fêtes instead. 

If you’d like another inclusive way to say Happy Holidays in French, you can also say Bonnes fêtes de fin d’année !, which means “Happy end of the year holidays.” This can include Christmas, but also other holidays like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve. 

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P.S. If you’re looking for some interesting Christmas-related French homework, you can try your hand at this French news article, which talks more about whether to use Bonnes fêtes or Joyeux Noël

Je vous souhaite de très joyeuses fêtes.

If you’re looking for a way to wish “happy holidays” in a more formal setting, this is a good option. Je vous souhaite de très joyeuses fêtes is a more elevated way of simply saying Bonnes fêtes. But, you could technically use this phrase with anyone.

Though, this is probably a mouthful if you’re just saying it to the cashier at the supermarket, for example.

Meilleurs vœux

Literally meaning, “best wishes,” meilleurs vœux is a nice phrase to have in your French handbook. THis is another phrase you can to pretty much anyone. But, it’s mostly used with people you know like coworkers or acquaintances.

Its use is similar to how we might use “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” in English. 

Advanced Ways to Say Merry Christmas in French

If you’re looking for a more advanced way to say Merry Christmas in French this is a good place to start. You might need a more formal way to wish someone Merry Christmas in French in a variety of settings. For example, you might be writing a Christmas card, a business email, or a formal letter.

Either way, these unique and poetic ways to say Merry Christmas will work for many different situations. 

Joyeuses fêtes de Noël à vous et vos proches !

Joyeuses fêtes de Noël à vous et vos proches ! means “Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.” This phrase literally means “Joyful Christmas holidays to you and your close relations (like family members and friends).” So this is a touching way to wish someone Merry Christmas in French.

Je te souhaite de passer un merveilleux Noël plein de joie et de magie.

This is one of the most poetic ways to say Merry Christmas in French. Meaning, “I hope you have a marvelous Christmas filled with joy and magic,” this Christmas phrase would look great in most formal, written contexts. 

Pour ce Noël, je te souhaite paix, amour et plein de bonheur.

Another rather poetic and unique way to say Merry Christmas in French, this means “For this Christmas, I wish you peace, love, and lots of happiness.” 

How to Say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in French

Joyeux Noël et bonne année !

No list of Christmas wishes is complete without Joyeux Noël et bonne année. This is another phrase you’ll commonly hear during the Christmas season. This French Christmas phrase hits two birds with one stone because it means “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”  Happy New Year is simply, “Bonne année !

More lessons:

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