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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We say this all the time but where did it come from? Where all great things come from … England, of course.

The use of “Merry Christmas” as a seasonal salutation dates back to at least 1565, when it appeared in the Hereford Municipal Manuscript: “And thus I comytt you to God, who send you a Mery Christmas & many” in an informal letter written by an English admiral, according to The Phrase Finder.

That got us thinking, what other British Christmas greetings are there?

A popular Welsh greeting is “Iechyd da i chwi yn awr ac yn oesoedd” which translates into English as “Good health to you now and forever.” If you’d like to stick to the traditional Merry Christmas, in Welsh it is: Nadolig Llawen.

The Scots have their own Gaelic greeting for Merry Christmas and Happy new Year which is: Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!

“Happy Christmas” became popular in the 19th century and is still very common in England and Northern Ireland. Actually, “happy day” is a greeting heard all year ‘round. It’s a nice salutation especially if you aren’t necessarily having a good day – possibly a little positive thinking will change your mood.

Do you have a unique holiday greeting?

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By Brigid Brown