Knowing how to say “Merry Christmas” in French is something that comes in handy around the month of December. Fortunately for us French learners this easy phrase (and similar ones) can be learned almost instantly. After reading through this quick guide you should have a good idea of what to say during this end-of-year season.
Using joyeux Noël to say merry christmas in French
Joyeux Noël is definitely the most common way to say “Merry Christmas” in French. You’ll hear it used more than anything else. It’s overall a very easy phrase to understand as it translates pretty well into English with joyeux meaning “joyful/merry” and Noël meaning “Christmas”.
Using Bon Noël to Say merry christmas in french
Bon Noël is less common than Joyeux Noël, but not entirely unheard of. It’s sort of like how in English “Happy Christmas” is sometimes used. Although Joyeux Noël is still used more often, you should at least know about Bon Noël and that you may hear it from time to time.
Using Meilleurs Vœux to say best wishes or happy holidays
Literally translated as “best wishes” meilleurs vœux can be used in all sorts of different situations. However when used around the end-of-year holidays it typically means “happy holidays” or “seasons greetings”.
When used in this context you’ll usually see it in a complete sentence such as..
Je vous souhaite mes meilleurs vœux pour la Noël – I wish you my best wishes for Christmas (a little hard to wrap your mind around, but overall not too hard to understand)
Nous vous souhaitons nos meilleurs vœux pour la saison des fêtes – We wish you our best wishes for the holiday season (also requires a little bit of thinking, but still shouldn’t be too difficult to understand)
using Bonnes fêtes to say happy holidays in french
Bonnes Fêtes doesn’t necessarily mean “Merry Christmas” in French, but rather “Happy Holidays”. It’s used pretty much in the same way as you would use “Happy Holidays” in English meaning it’s just a broad term to wish people the best no matter which holidays they celebrate.
It can be used by itself by just saying bonnes fêtes or in more complete sentences such as those below.
Passez de bonnes fêtes – Have yourself happy holidays
Je vous souhaite de bonnes fêtes – Have yourself happy holidays
Je vous souhaite de bonnes fêtes – I wish you happy holidays
Bonnes fêtes de fin d’année – Happy (end-of-year) holidays
Using joyeuses fêtes to say happy holidays in french
Joyeuses Fêtes is simply a variation of Bonnes Fêtes and more or less means the same thing. It’s probably a little less common than its counterpart, but it’s still good to know about it just in case someone uses it with you.
Other expressions to use around the holidays
We’ve already gone over the most common expressions you can use in French around Christmas and the holidays. However, there are still some other things you can say around this time of year. Some of them don’t really have exact translations in English, but nevertheless you should have no problem getting a good idea of how to use them.
Passez d’excellentes fêtes de fin d’année – Have excellent year-end holidays
Passez de bonnes fêtes de fin d’année – Have good year-end holidays
Je te/vous souhaite d’excellentes fêtes de fin d’année – I wish you excellent year-end holidays
Je te/vous souhaite de joyeuses fêtes de fin d’année – I wish you joyous year-end holidays
Passez un temps des fêtes festif – Have a festive holiday season
It’s great to be able to wish someone “Merry Christmas” in French each holiday season as it’s a holiday that most of the French celebrate. For other guides on French vocabulary feel free to check out our other articles. Happy French learning!