How many times have you seen “Happy Holidays from the Jones’s” or “Mary Christmas” in a Christmas card?
When you’re working through a stack of Christmas cards, it can be difficult to cross your t’s and dot your i’s, let alone remember a series of seemingly random holiday-related grammar rules. So, in the spirit of holiday giving, we’re giving you eight Christmas grammar tips for LitMas. Let us know how we did in the comments below!
1 Correctly Pluralize Your Family Name
Source: Country Living
Let’s start with the obvious misstep we see every year on at least one holiday card or Christmas letter: the dreaded surname plural. It can be difficult to keep your plurals and possessives apart, especially if your surname ends in an s! So check out this handy guide from our handbook to keep your possessives in check.
2 Double-Check Your Holiday Homonyms
If you’re writing quickly, you might be more likely to misspell things you would normally catch. Here’s a list of common holiday homonyms to avoid:
1. Mary Christmas → Merry Christmas 2. Happy Holiday → Happy Holidays 3. Mold wine → Mulled wine 4. Satan Claus → Santa Claus 5. Old Lang Zyne → Auld Lang Syne
3 Remember Your I vs. Me Manners
BOOM! Merry Christmas from President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and I…. http://t.co/dbv5CJSh
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 14, 2012
We understand. When typing quickly, it can be difficult to remember when to use I and me when including yourself in a list. Luckily, it’s not that hard once you know the rule for these two pronouns, which you can read about in this guide.
4 Don’t Welcome Wordiness Into Your Greetings
Writing the perfect holiday card or letter updating your family and friends on the events of the last year is an art, not a science. But if you err on the side of brevity, your loved ones will thank you! Try to cut unnecessary descriptors and introductory text in favor of an action-packed account of only the most important parts of the last year. And if you need more help, check out our guide to holiday greetings.
5 Don’t Turn Into the Comma Grinch
In case you don’t know the plot of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, it involves the theft of an entire town’s Christmas presents. When you’re writing things around the holidays (or at any time of the year), don’t steal extra commas! Try to cut commas from your writing where possible, instead of hoarding all the commas to yourself.
6 Use Apostrophes in Your Greetings
— Sarah Marl (@SarahMarl) December 21, 2015
Yes, this is a duplicate of our first entry on this list. But apostrophe use is as important as it is difficult! Remember, even if it’s not a name you’re trying to make into a plural, you should never, ever use an apostrophe.
7 Don’t Follow Santa’s Bad Example
Usually, Santa is a source of joy for children and grammar nerds alike. But the “you better” lyrics in “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” are enough to land him on the naughty grammar list for life. To set the record straight, this phrase should be “you’d better,” as in “you had better.” You had better avoid this construction in your next important email, unless you would like to delight the office grammar pedant!
8 Tame Your Inner Pedant During the Holidays
If you are your office’s, family’s, or friend group’s resident grammar pedant, here’s a plea from fellow grammar nerds: give it a rest over the holidays. Even if Aunt Maple wishes you a “Happy New Years” or Great Uncle Merle thinks “Happy Holiday from the Smith’s” is a great way to sign a card, we should cut each other a little slack during the most wonderful time of the year. Practice restraint with your grammar criticism now, and you might be able to make a lasting impact if you restart your “helpful suggestions” during New Year’s resolution season.