“Happy Holiday” or “Happy Holidays?” What’s the difference?

The difference between saying “Happy Holiday” or “Happy Holidays” is very small and it depends on if you’re speaking British or American English. Even with that, both phrases are common to both the UK and the USA depending on the season and context.

“Happy Holidays” is usually used in American English around the time of Thanksgiving or Christmas. “Happy Holidays” is not a common expression in British English but may form part of a sentence such as “I had many happy holidays as a child. 

While it isn’t difficult, there are some finite distinctions to understand. This is because you can exchange one for the other under special circumstances. So, it will all come down to context.

“Happy Holidays!”

When you live in the United States, you will hear people say “Happy Holidays!” beginning around mid-November. This refers to all of the winter season celebrations that tend to occur in the West. Both countries celebrate Christmas and New Year’s but people only say “Happy Holidays” in the United States. People in the U.K and Ireland would usually refer to the celebration itself and say “Happy Christmas” or Happy New Year”.

We wish you Happy Holidays.

May all your dreams come true! Happy Holidays!

Mr. and Mrs. Harford wish everyone a Happy Holidays.

Other Uses for “Happy Holidays”

Also note, that while “Happy Holidays!” is a frequent conveyance for seasonal wishing, you can also use it in a sentence without capitalization.

Some people grow up without many memories of happy holidays from their childhood.

Our family always aims for happy holidays, but every year usually ends with someone fighting.

There are true misers in the world and they refuse happy holidays at all costs.

“Happy Holiday”

“Holiday” in the UK refers to a vacation. While some Americans will use “holiday” in this way, it’s not nearly as common as it is in places like England, Scotland, and Ireland. However, in both the US and UK, “holiday” refers to any day that has a sacred or special meaning.

Therefore, it doesn’t have to be winter or refer to a vacation. It can denote any holiday throughout the year. In fact, “holiday” is a contracted word for “holy day.” So, it has a religious or spiritual meaning inherent within it.

  • UK Vacation: I do wish you and Maude a happy holiday this weekend.
  • US Celebration: Spending time with family always makes for a happy holiday.
  • Both Countries: Please, Louise, have a good and happy holiday.


To remember the difference, “Happy Holidays!” is a celebratory sentiment expressed during the winter season. However, it can be a part of a normal sentence. “Happy Holiday” is more individual and can indicate a vacation or a sacred celebration. However, this relies on whether you’re in the US or UK and context.