Is It Season’s Greetings or Seasons Greetings? Bah Humbug!

  • “Season’s Greetings” is the proper form of the expression, capitalizing each word while adding the apostrophe between the “n” and “s” in seasons. 
  • “Happy Holidays” does not require an apostrophe at all, and you will capitalize each word.

December is full of holidays, celebrating a wide variety of ideals and beliefs. When you want an inclusive expression to greet someone during this time, it’s hard to go wrong with “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays!”

In either situation, proper apostrophe usage can cause problems for well-wishers who want to share their holiday spirit in writing. 

If whether or not you should add an apostrophe is a cause for pause, read on, and you will find the definite answer about whether or not one is required, and if so, where it needs to go!

Proper Capitalization

Before we get into where the apostrophe goes, the first decision you need to make is whether or not one, both, or neither words in “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” get the capitalization treatment. 

While neither phrasing is a proper noun, they stand as a catch-all for specific holidays. Because of this particular usage, it is appropriate to capitalize both words in both “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings.” 

Now that we have settled this convention let’s move on to that pesky apostrophe.  

Se’ason’s Gree’ting’s’? 

There are a lot of places where you could apply an apostrophe within “Seasons Greetings,” but it only requires one, and that lone critter belongs between the “n” and “s” in “season’s.”  

First, here’s what not to do: 

  • When Paul arrived at the party, he wished everyone Seasons’ Greetings

While it may seem like using an apostrophe to form a plural possessive, there’s only one season considered the holiday season, so having the apostrophe there doesn’t work.

  • Monica’s card stated simply, “Season’s Greetings!” 

Poor Monica is confused. While the apostrophe designates possession, and whether or not a season can possess greetings is a gray area, it still follows that rule. 

Whether or not a season can show possession is arguable, but greetings definitely cannot. Let’s narrow our focus to “Season,” which is more appropriate. 

  • S’e’a’s’o’n’s’ G’r’e’e’t’i’n’g’s’!” shouted the elves on the float to the onlooking crowd. 

As amusing as this is, throwing commas everywhere to ensure that you’ve got one in the right place is not going to cut it. Nice try, though. 

Seriously, though – a properly composed greeting will look like this: season’s greetings. 

Here’s how it looks when you use it properly in a sentence (my bold print is only there to draw attention to the phrase in question): 

  • When Paul arrived at the party, he wished everyone Season’s Greetings
  • Monica’s card stated simply, “Season’s Greetings!” 
  • “Season’s Greetings!” shouted the elves on the float to the onlooking crowd.

Happy Holidays!

While less common, some people take a cue from “Season’s Greetings” and try to use an apostrophe to form “Happy Holiday’s.”

Unfortunately, this phrase does not need an apostrophe since there’s no disputed ownership happening here. 

“Holidays” replaces the names for specific holidays, but the way it is structured, the correct form is “Happy Holidays.” 

  • On my way outside, I told those gathered there, “Happy Holidays.” 
  •  Happy Holidays to everyone! 

Final Thoughts – Bah Humbug

Now that you’re holiday greeting savvy, a little bonus knowledge in closing. You’ve probably heard “Bah Humbug” before as a way someone expresses discontent with the holiday season, but do you know from whence it came?

Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843 (although you’ve probably seen the wide variety of movies and remakes since), and his main character is Ebenezer Scrooge. This grumpy individual expressed his distaste for Christmas by harrumphing, “Bah Humbug!” 

In modern times, people adapt this fun phrase (often playfully) to refer to someone who doesn’t seem particularly full of holiday cheer.  

Knowledge: the gift that keeps on giving. You’re welcome.

 

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