Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I needed to write a business e-mail to my US partner just after Christmas day. Are there any established forms of such a greeting?

Something like

I hope you had a nice Christmas

share|improve this question
2  
To my native ear, that sounds like a nice enough way to say it. To answer your question, I'm not familiar with any well-established counterpart to the "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Christmas" you often hear in the days leading up to Dec 25th. –  J.R. Dec 27 '12 at 10:46
3  
I'd suggest that, unless you know the recipient celebrates Christmas, you say something neutral like I hope you had a happy holiday. Some people out there are easily offended and will take umbrage at anything. –  user21497 Dec 27 '12 at 10:55
    
Thanks, Bill. Your comment is quite useful. –  Vlad Minaev Dec 27 '12 at 11:00
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

"I hope you had a nice Christmas" or "I trust you had a nice Christmas" would both suffice. The latter might sound a bit overly-formal to some ears, but if it's a business contact you don't know outside of business that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Much is made in some quarters about whether it is better to refer to Christmas or the holidays generally, with differing opinions on both sides.

Personally as a non-Christian who does celebrate a different holiday near the same time of the year, I find nothing objectionable about people wishing me a happy Christmas - being happy at Christmas is definitely preferable to the alternative, after all.

Still, if you know that they celebrate Christmas or if they have mentioned Christmas previously as the reason they will be un-contactable for a while, then go with Christmas. If you know they celebrate another holiday (solstice and Chanukkah were both celebrated recently) then do mention the holiday they celebrated. If you're unsure then something like "I trust you enjoyed the break and are keen to start on the new year's projects" can avoid mentioning a particular holiday without sounding like you're avoiding it (there is a minority who consider anybody enjoying a holiday near Christmas that isn't Christmas to be a "war on Christmas" and get upset about avoiding being overly specific).

All that said though, "I hope you had a nice Christmas" can't go far wrong.

Also, if English is your second language and they know where you are from, a native greeting in your own language can be a nice touch, especially if context or similarity in etymology makes it easy to guess the meaning of.

share|improve this answer
    
Thank you for the detailed answer –  Vlad Minaev Dec 27 '12 at 11:01
add comment

I am not sure if there is any formally accepted greeting which you can use.

You can start with:

  • "Hope you are enjoying the Holiday season."
  • Something related to New Year as it is just ahead.
share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.