I've got a question as follows,
It's general to say, 'Merry Christmas' and 'Happy New Year'. But contrarily, is it right to say 'Happy Christmas' or 'Merry New Year'?
Who can help me resolve this problem? Thanks.
Hi, and welcome to English Forums.
In the US, you rarely hear "Happy Christmas" and I would say I never "Merry New Year," unless it was done as a joke.
I believe I've heard friends from across the Atlantic say "Happy Christmas."
In the States, "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" is a fixed phrase, rarely changed.
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Happy Christmas and Merry Christmas are used about equally in the UK.

Merry New Year isn't used at all.
I'm not sure whether this is true or not but I remember hearing that if one uses 'merry' it carries the idea of consuming some alcohol during Christmas. 'Happy' on the other hand, does not carry this insinuation. But as I said, I'm not sure if this really is the case.
Zerox, that's nothing I've ever heard. We wish children "Merry Christmas" all the time and certainly don't expect them to go behind the reindeer barn to sneak some peppermint schnapps.
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In BrE, the slang usage 'He's a bit merry' means 'He's a bit intoxicated'. At least it used to, although it may be old-fashioned now.

But the 'merry' in 'Merry Christmas' does not really convey this idea.

I browsed through my last year's notes and found the info I said and there a side note there saying 'obsolete' with three exclamation marks. So, I went to check from the OED the history of 'merry' and, as Clive already mentioned, 'merry' has had a meaning of boisterous joyfulness normally due to alcohol. I'm also inclined to say that my professor, who told this last Christmas, is from the UK and, moreover, he sometimes uses somewhat antiquated English expressions for the sake of both amusing us and showing how the meanings of words change.
It does still get used in that sense but in a sort of tongue-in-cheek way. To describe someone who is a bit intoxicated but you couldn't describe as drunk without being a bit disrespectful or critical...eg my mum sometimes gets a bit 'merry' or 'tiddly' but never drunk! lol.

I think 'merry' does slightly contain that image when applied to Christmas or events. Its a sort of warm, jolly, red-nosed, well-fed word to me. Happy - well, I can be happy on a lot of occasions but not merry.
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