Holidays in English

“Have nice holidays” or “Have a nice holiday”? (Happy Holidays?)

“Have a nice holiday” is the most common way to wish someone a nice trip away. It is also possible to say “I hope you have nice holidays” but it is less common. “Have nice holidays” is not a common way to wish someone a nice trip away.

Holiday(s) is a confusing word in English and it has a different meaning depending on where you live. 

Holiday or vacation?


A holiday is a special day for religious or cultural reasons. Christmas, Easter, New Year’s Eve, and culturally significant days like Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico or Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland are good examples.

There are often extra days that people are allowed not to work which are called public holidays in the U.S and bank holidays in the U.K 

A vacation(American English) is when you take multiple days off from work/school to relax and/or travel. In British English, this is called ”taking holidays”. “To go on a holiday” or “to go on holidays” is specifically for when you travel.

Every employee is also entitled to take other days off which are called “ “vacation days” or “personal days” in the U.S.  Vacation days is time that you can rest or go on a trip. You can use personal days to go to the dentist or doctor. In the U.K and Ireland, it is more common to just say “take a holiday day” or take “holidays” 

Have a nice Holiday/Vacation

Ok, so now we know the differences between holiday and vacation. 

Let’s look at some examples

(American English)

I hope you have a nice vacation!

Have a nice trip!

Enjoy your vacation!

(British English)

Have a great holiday!

Have a nice holiday!

Enjoy your holiday/holidays!

In the final example, holiday and holidays have the same meaning.

But…You can’t say:

Have a nice holidays

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Holidays in American English means a period of time around a cultural event like Christmas or Thanksgiving. 

So when an American says “Happy Holidays” it means enjoy the Christmas period. This can sound strange to a person from another part of the English speaking world. “Happy Holidays” is not common outside of North America and people would probably understand it as “Enjoy your holiday” which means go on a trip.

So Remember…. 

Happy Holidays” is American English and means enjoy your time off work with your family(you might or might not go on a trip)

Enjoy your Holidays” is British/Irish/Australian English and usually means enjoy your trip to another place.  

Holiday or Holidays

Let’s focus on British English now

We use “to go on holiday”


To go on + possessive adjective + holidays


I was on holiday in Spain last week

He went on holiday to Tenerife.

They go on holiday every summer. 


I was on my holidays last week

He went on his holidays to Tenerife

They go on their holidays every summer.

You also use Holidays with “the”

What did you do for the summer holidays?

If you want to talk about holidays in the plural(ie holidays over the years) you can use the verb “to have”

We have had so many great holidays over the years.