If a holiday greeting is part of a larger sentence, capitalize names of holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving. Don’t capitalize adjectives like happy and merry or common nouns like the word holidays, except at the start of a sentence.
- Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone.
- We wish you a very happy Christmas.
- Happy holidays to all our readers.
- Have a happy Thanksgiving!
- Happy Halloween to you and your shadows!
- Have a happy Hanukkah!
- We wish all our viewers a happy Diwali.
- We wish you and your family a happy Eid.
- Here’s wishing you a happy Rosh Hashanah!
- Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
Thus, in the Christmas greeting, you always capitalize the word Christmas, since it is the name of a holiday and a proper noun, but capitalize the adjectives merry or happy only if they appear at the start of a greeting or a sentence.
- Merry Christmas to everyone!
- Happy Christmas!
- We wish you a merry Christmas.
- Have a happy Christmas.
But in happy holidays, neither word requires capitalization, unless at the start of a sentence or a greeting.
- Happy holidays to everyone!
- We wish you happy holidays.
Describing wishing someone
When you describe wishing someone well for the holidays, capitalize only proper nouns (i.e., names of holidays).
- I wished her a merry Christmas.
- Did you wish them happy holidays?
- I forgot to wish her a happy Hanukkah!
- I hope they forget all about this and have a happy Christmas.
Style personal, standalone greetings as you like. In a greeting card or a personal message, feel free to capitalize adjectives like happy and merry to sound cheery and festive.
- Happy Holidays!
- Here’s wishing you Happy Holidays! 🎄✨🎉
- Hi Maya, Merry Christmas!
- Happy, Scary Halloween!
In a formal context (e.g., in a formal email to a client), follow the general rule of capitalizing only proper nouns or words at the start of a sentence or a greeting.
- Thank you, and happy holidays.
- Happy holidays, Dr. Dash.
- Best wishes for the holidays.
- We wish you a happy Hanukkah, a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.
Happy New Year
In the New Year greeting—happy new year—you can either capitalize or lowercase the words new and year. Both styles are acceptable since the phrase new year can be treated as the name of a holiday or as a common noun (see Merriam-Webster and Oxford). Either way, don’t capitalize the adjective happy when you describe the act of wishing someone a happy new year.
- We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
- Happy New Year to you both!
- Happy New Year!
- We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.
- Hi Maya, happy new year!
- Happy new year!
- Dear Ms. Tuck. Nusquam Bank wishes you and your family a happy new year.