It's the most magical time of the year and the Irish take the Christmas holidays very seriously! Make someone's day and wish them Happy Christmas in Irish.

In case you didn't know, Christmas is a major deal in Ireland. Perhaps as an island country with a history of emigration, it's because Christmas is all about families reuniting and seeing familiar faces again. Or perhaps it's because a great number of Ireland's Christmas traditions date back to ancient times but Ireland's love for the Christmas season runs deep and our well wishes are cheered loudly. 

What better way to greet an Irish person at Christmas than with this native language, Gaeilge (Irish)? Writing Christmas cards to Irish friends and family? Surprise them this Christmas.

Here's how to say Happy Christmas in Irish:

Nollaig Shona!

That's Happy Christmas

Pronunciation:  Null-eg Hunna 

So let's break that down... 

That's Nollaig, meaning Christmas in Irish and shona meaning happy.

This gets slightly more complicated when you're addressing someone, as in saying happy Christmas to someone. 

Here's the breakdown:

Merry Christmas to you (one person) = Nollaig Shona Dhuit (pronounced a little like Null-eg hunna ditch)

Merry Christmas to you (multiple people) = Nollaig Shona Daoibh (pronounced a little like Null-eg Hunna Deev)

Now! How should you respond to someone when they wish you "Nollaig Shona Dhuit"?

You can respond with: 

Nollaig mhaith chugat (pron. Null-eg mah hu-gut). This means a good Christmas to you. This is the most common way to respond

Go mba hé duit (pronounced gom ah hey ditch) = the same to you

Nollaig Shona Dhuit! Like in English, you can simply say ‘Merry Christmas to you’ back.

Go raibh maith agat (pronounced gur ev mah agat). This means thank you.

And if you really want to impress... here's a beautiful Irish blessing for Christmas:

Irish Christmas blessing

God grant you lightness in your step,

A smile on every face you meet,

Loved ones gathered at your hearth,

And at your door, good friends to greet

A holy hymn upon your lips,

A window candle burning bright

And may the Good Lord bless your heart

And come to dwell here Christmas night.