Italian Phrase of the Week: Buon Natale! (Merry Christmas!)

Today’s phrase is part of our Italian Christmas Word Advent Calendar series. Each day throughout December, we’ll post a word or phrase that is related to the holiday season. Enjoy!

Americans greet one another with Merry Christmas! whereas the British tend to prefer Happy Christmas! but what about the Italians?

The Italian Christmas greeting you will hear most often is Buon Natale! which literally translates as Good Christmas!

IPA: /ˌbwɔn naˈta.le/

To specify who you are speaking to, you can add on the following indirect object pronouns:

  • a te (to you, informal)
  • a Lei (to you, formal)
  • a voi (to you plural)

Buon Natale a te e alla tua famiglia!

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

A longer alternative is Auguri di Buon Natale! which literally translates as Good Christmas Wishes! However in speech people usually shorten this to just Auguri!

Auguri, Gianni! – Grazie, auguri anche a te!

Merry Christmas, Gianni! – Thanks, the same to you!

This phrase can be heard in the chorus of the eponymous Christmas song Auguri di Buon Natale (We Wish You a Merry Christmas). You can listen to it by watching the video below!

The verb augurare means to wish and it is used in the phrase I wish you a Merry Christmas! Whether you use ti / Le / vi depends on who you are talking to.

  • Ti auguro un Buon Natale! (singular you, informal)
  • Le auguro un Buon Natale! (singular you, formal)
  • Vi auguro un Buon Natale! (plural you)

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