With the holidays around the corner, it’s important for all of you Italophiles to know how to say Merry Christmas in Italian: perhaps you’re planning to send a few Christmas cards to your family and friends in Italy, or perhaps you want to impress your Christmas dinner guests with a few Italian phrases…whatever the reason, Italian is a beautiful language (to hear and to speak) and that reason alone should suffice 🙂
So take pen and paper and write down the following holiday-related phrases in Italian to practice before Natale. Happy learning!
How to Say Merry Christmas in Italian
The most common and direct way to say Merry Christmas in Italian is Buon Natale.
Ti auguro Buon Natale, I wish you a Merry Christmas.
However, there are other expressions that are used as well.
Buone Feste corresponds to the English Happy Holidays and implies best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. You could also say, tanti auguri di buone feste, best wishes for a happy holiday season.
Slightly more formal, used in writing rather than in person: Auguri di un Natale sereno (best wishes for a peaceful Christmas). For example, if you’re sending a card to someone in Italy, you could write: “Auguro a te (or ‘lei’ if you don’t know the person well) e alla tua (‘sua’ if using lei) famiglia un sereno Natale e un felice anno nuovo (I wish you and your family a peaceful Christmas and a happy New Year).
If you want to be fancy and try a slightly longer phrase (why not?!), you could say: Ti auguro un Natale pieno di amore, pace e gioia sincera, My best wishes for a Christmas filled with love, peace and sincere joy.
So now you have a few options for how to say Merry Christmas in Italian, but what about the ‘Happy New Year’ part?
Let’s take a look.
How to Say Happy New Year in Italian
Happy New Year is Felice Anno Nuovo, as in Ti auguro un felice anno nuovo (I wish you a Happy New Year). You use ‘ti’ if you’re talking/writing to one person you know well, ‘le’ if you’re writing to one person you don’t know very well or have a formal relationship with, and ‘vi’ if you’re writing to a group of people, say a family. Le auguro un felice anno nuovo, vi auguro un felice anno nuovo.
You could also use related expressions, such as, Auguri per un felice 2021 – Best wishes for a happy 2021, or Auguri di buon anno, best wishes for a good new year.
How to Write a Christmas Card in Italian
Now let’s put together what we’ve seen so far to write a sample Christmas card so you can wish your loved ones Merry Christmas in Italian.
Caro/a/i/e (Dear – o for male singular, a for female singular, i for plural, e for female plural) – name -,
Ti/Vi (ti for singular, vi for plural) auguro Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo!
Con affetto (with love),
The version above is the simplest. If you want something fancier, here’s another example.
I miei migliori auguri per un Natale pieno di amore e pace, e per tanta gioia, serenità e salute nell’anno nuovo (My very best wishes for a Christmas filled with love and peace and for a New Year filled with joy, serenity and health).
Useful Italian Vocabulary for the Holidays
Now that you’ve learned how to say Merry Christmas in Italian, see below a list of useful words related to the holidays – le feste:
Vigilia di Natale – December 24, Christmas Eve
Santo Stefano – December 26, a national holiday in Italy
San Silvestro – New Year’s Eve
Capodanno o primo dell’anno – New Year’s Day; in Italian, we also use Capodanno to refer to the New Year’s Eve festivities, as in the most common asked question this time of the year: cosa farai a Capodanno? What are you doing on New Year’s Eve?
Epifania – Epiphany, January 6. And of course, Befana, the good witch who arrives on January 6 with sweet treats for children who behaved well, and coal for those who misbehaved. It’s a common joke for female friends in Italy to send each other messages on the day of Epifania to wish to one another, Buona Befana!
Now, without looking at your notes, how do you say Merry Christmas in Italian?
Buon Natale, cari lettori!