Most people take a break around the Christmas period and spend time with their families. In English-speaking countries, we wish people we know a happy Christmas. Here are some useful phrases for this.
Before the holidays
If I don’t see you before, have a lovely Christmas!
Have a great Christmas, won’t you!
Have a good one!
Happy Christmas to you!
Asking people about their plans
What are you up to over Christmas?
Got any plans for Christmas and New Year?
Are you at home over Christmas, or are you going away?
Extra speaking practice!
Practise some of these phrases in context. Listen to the conversation in Holiday wishes, record the phrase, then play back to hear your recording and the original.
After the holidays
When people see each other after the New Year holidays, they often use a greeting such as “Happy New Year!” Some people also ask about New Year resolutions (the promises that you make to yourself to get fitter, lose weight, change job etc) or refer more generally to the whole of the Christmas / New Year holiday period.
Asking about the holidays
What did you do over Christmas?
What did you get up to?
Do anything exciting / special over the holidays?
Have you made any resolutions?
You could also ask about Christmas gifts (especially to children).
What did you get for Christmas?
Did Father Christmas bring you what you wanted for Christmas?
Giving a vague reply
Oh, the usual…
Same old (= nothing new)
Giving more information
(Did you have a good Christmas?)
It was great / fantastic / wonderful / lovely / thanks.
Really relaxing / Just what I needed.
We saw the in-laws / some of the family.
We got away for a couple of days.
We had a quiet one at home.
Asking the other person
To keep the conversation going, try returning the question.
What about you? (Did you have a) good Christmas?
And you? Did you see the New Year in? (to see the New Year in means to celebrate the New Year at midnight.)
Practise your speaking!
You can practise some of these conversations over on our sister site, englishspeakingonline. Listen to the conversation in Talking about your New Year holidays, record your part of the conversation, then compare the recording with your voice to help you with pronunciation and fluency.