“Happy Christmas” from Sydney

Happy Christmas at Circular Quay, Sydney

Happy Christmas at Circular Quay, Sydney

Sydney, Thursday

Since moving to Australia over thirteen years ago, I’ve come to really like the expression “Happy Christmas.”  It’s common in the UK as well, as opposed to the more-frequently used “Merry Christmas” in the U.S.

In discussing this with Clive (who is English by birth, as I wrote about in Living with a Brit), we’ve determined that “merry” connotes more in the way of being jolly or in high spirits, even noisy and a bit tipsy, in Australia and the UK.  “Merry” also seems to imply some form of participation, or being actively involved in an event.


Happy Christmas

“Happy” seems a broader, more inclusive word to me.  Someone could have a happy Christmas without necessarily being jolly, but simply by being content, or thankful, or satisfied with the day, the season, or life in general.  Happiness comes in a million different ways, and we may not be “merry” but we may feel at peace and blessed with moments of happiness.

“Happy holidays” is used often in the U.S. and Canada, and I used it with business colleagues of multiple religions.  I don’t consider myself religious, but I have a spiritual side and a strong personal faith, and I don’t think any individual or belief system can claim exclusivity and ownership of the path to love, grace, and enlightenment.

That said, I was born and raised in the Christian faith, and its principles work for me.  It’s been a new experience in Australia, to see the word “Christmas” publicly displayed, and to more openly use and say “Happy Christmas” at this time of year.      

A Banner Holiday

Sydney often has colourful banners lining its main streets and pedestrian thoroughfares, acknowledging holidays and special events.  Last evening was grey and drizzly, but we still enjoyed the lights and Aussie decorations. 

Christmas Tree at Martin Place, Sydney

Christmas Tree at Martin Place, Sydney

Happy Christmas to all who celebrate this holiday. 


Australian Possum at Martin Place, Sydney

Australian Possum at Martin Place, Sydney

2 Responses

  1. Carolyn – I hopped back on your website to re-read Clive’s money saving travel tips, in preparation to our upcoming week in St Maarten from 26 Dec. And of course, couldn’t get my fingers off the keyboard, and read everything you’ve written since I was last on! You have captured so well so many of the sentiments I feel as an Aussie living in Canada – especially at this time of year as the snow falls and another cold winter looms! Have fun making new traditions over Christmas – and I love all your writings about “stuff” – I am constantly “decluttering”!
    Have a “Happy Christmas”…..Heather

  2. Thank you so much, Heather. Your trip to St. Maarten sounds wonderful and I really appreciate your comments.

    Cheers and enjoy your Canadian winter!

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