Happy Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Holiday greetings are a selection of greetings that are often spoken with good intentions to strangers, family, or friends, in nations around the world, during the months of December and January. Holidays with greetings include Christmas, Eid ul-Fitr, New Year's Day, Chinese New Year, Thanksgiving (United States), and Hanukkah. Some greetings are more prevalent than others, depending on the cultural and religious status of any given area.Typically, a greeting consists of the word "Happy" followed by the holiday, such as "Happy Hanukkah" or "Happy New Year", although the phrase "Merry Christmas" or "Seasons Greetings" can be a notable exception.

In the United States, the collective phrase "Happy Holidays" is often used as a generic cover-all greeting for all of the winter holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

The greetings and farewells "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Christmas" are traditionally used in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland andAustralia, commencing a few weeks prior to Christmas (December 25) of every year.

The phrase is often preferred when it is known that the receiver is a Christian or celebrates Christmas. The nonreligious often use the greeting as well, however in this case its meaning focuses more on the secular aspects of Christmas, rather than the Nativity of Jesus.

Its meanings and variations are:

    As "Merry Christmas," the traditionally used greeting for those from America and the UK, composed of merry (jolly, happy) and Christmas (Old English: Cristes mæsse, for Christ's Mass).
    As "Merry Xmas," usually used to avoid the length of "Merry Christmas," with the "X" (sometimes controversially) replacing "Christ." (see Xmas) However, the letter "X" looks similar to the Greek letter, "χ", which is the Greek abbreviation for Christ, although this is not well known.
    As "Happy Christmas," an equivalent that is commonly used in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as "Merry Christmas."

As of 2005, "Merry Christmas" remains popular among countries with large Christian populations, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, Philippines, and parts of Western Europe not affiliated with the Eastern Orthodox rites.

It also remains popular in the largely non-Christian nations of China and Japan, where Christmas is celebrated primarily due to Western cultural influences. Though it has somewhat decreased in popularity in the United States and Canada over the past decades, polls from 2005 indicate that it remains more popular than "Happy Holidays" or other alternatives.

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