Is "Merry Christmas" replacing "Happy Christmas" in Britain?

Over the past month I’ve watched two British produced shows (one was the Christmas special for the Great British Baking Show, unfortunately I can’t remember the other) in which one person casually wished another “Merry Christmas.”

Which struck me as funny, because I remember being really struck in the past by them using “Happy Christmas” in similar setups in other British shows.

Is this just a sampling weirdness, or are the British being corrupted by exposure to American shows?

“Merry Christmas” and “Happy Christmas” have both been common here for as long as I can remember, which is now over half a century.

Concur. In my own experience, ‘Merry Christmas’ was a fair bit more common just because it was often coupled with “…and a happy New Year” - and that wording seems awkward if used the other way around

The phrase “merry Christmas” occurs 21 times in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. “Happy Christmas” not at all.

I blame Slade.

I’m not a Brit but as a consumer of British culture for years I can say it’s not unusual to see the expression.

… and also to blame might be the slightly earlier popular English carol We Wish You a Merry Christmas. The linked Wikipedia article points out that “the greeting “a merry Christmas and a happy New Year” is recorded from the early eighteenth century.”

As another single data point… as a Brit, my default greeting has always been “Merry Christmas”

Okay, everyone seems to agree. :slight_smile:

Sampling error, the other way I guess. “Happy Christmas” sounds so weird to my American ears that every time I heard/read it I noticed, while the ‘normal’ Merry Christmases went unobserved. To the eventual point that a “Merry Christmas” in a British accent struck me as weird.

I still blame Slade. Noddy Holder is more fun than some anonymous 19th century author.

Slade still make at least £500,000 a year in royalties from that song. Not a bad pension plan, really.

Nice work if you can get it.

True. But then, Noddy is more fun than practically everyone.

Here is the most recent tweet from the Archbishop of Canterbury where he says, ‘Happy Christmas.’

My mother is English and has always told me Happy Christmas was common when she was growing up, but that may have been the area she grew up in.

I think it’s to some extent a class marker in the UK; “Merry Christmas” predominates among the proletariat, but “Happy Christmas” is more common among the Quality.

“Happy Christmas” is the dominant expression in Ireland; SFAIK the only Anglophone country where this is so.

And you can find the Queen saying Merry Christmas.

Both seem to be used across the pond, while us “Yanks” hardly ever use Happy unless we want to sound British but actually sound like wankers.

The Queen *might *be considered Quality.

Follow-up (semi-serious) question: does anyone say Happy Krimble and/or Merry Goo Year in Britain?

(several long-time friends and I, all big Beatles fans, use those salutations in our holiday correspondence every year)

Can anyone confirm or deny that in Australia they say, “Bonzer Christmas!”

She’s just trying to show she’s down with the kids.

SNL had a skit last night spoofing Theresa May and other British politicians. It was in the form of a TV show, and at the end on the screen appeared the words “Happy Christmas.” I thought that looked a little odd, and now I see this thread. I have known many Brits in Thailand, and not once do I recall any of them saying “Happy Christmas.” Always “Merry Christmas.”