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 Italians?
The Italian Christmas greeting you will hear most often is Buon Natale! which literally translates as Good Christmas!
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)
Heather Broster is a graduate with honours in linguistics from the University of Western Ontario. She is an aspiring polyglot, proficient in English and Italian, as well as Japanese, Welsh, and French to varying degrees of fluency. Originally from Toronto, Heather has resided in various countries, notably Italy for a period of six years. Her primary focus lies in the fields of language acquisition, education, and bilingual instruction.