When Should You Capitalize Holiday Greetings?

Syllabus Montreal TranslationAre your holiday cards ready to be sent out? You may want to double-check your use of capitalization before sealing the envelopes. As my little pre-Christmas gift to you—and to save you unnecessary embarrassment—I wrote out a few simple rules. You can thank me in a grammatically correct card later!


Words that should always start with a capital letter

Christmas (also Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmastime). Why? Because it’s the official name of a religious holiday.

Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah). Also a holy day.

Words that should never start with a capital letter

Holidays. This term doesn’t refer to any officially designated day or season, but rather the season at large. So unless it’s a title or a style preference, be sure to use lowercase when you write “happy holidays,” “holiday season,” and “over the holidays.”

Season (also seasons): Never cap the word “season,” even in a phrase like “season’s greetings.” Likewise, you should never cap the four seasons, as in “winter wonderland.”  

Words that should sometimes start with a capital letter and sometimes not

New Year (also New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, or even New Year’s): Be sure to cap all of these terms as they refer to specific holidays, such as January 1 and December 31.

Be careful, though. Only capitalize “new year” when referring to the first day (or days) of the year. Don’t cap it when you’re talking about the year at large, as in, “We wish you all the best this new year.”

If you’re still unsure as to whether your holiday greetings should be capitalized or not, ask us!



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