This week while most college students are preparing for finals families are gathering shopping lists, and photos for Christmas cards. As you sit pondering what to pen, you might find yourself composing epistles to those dear to you, and you may begin to ponder some important holiday grammar concerns. These are the things that run through my mind – and in case you were wondering, too, I offer you these tips on avoiding a few Christmas card faux pas of the season. Even if you are just Tweeting out your Christmas greetings, there are English teachers and grammarians out there who really care about these nuances.
1. "Season's Greetings" or "Seasons Greetings"?
The apostrophe befuddles many, but in this case use it because the meaning of the phrase is "greetings of the holiday season."
2. "Hanukkah," "Chanukah," "Hanukah," and "Hannukah"?
Hanukkah is correct in either of the four ways - plus it's fun to say. Depending on what generation you hail from, it's hard to not break into Adam Sandler's rendition of the song.
3. "The Halls" or "The Hall's" in signing your last name?
Ah, that troublesome apostrophe. "Tidings of joy from the Halls" is correct because a possessive statement is not needed, but a plural one is- unless, of course, there is only one Hall. Also, just sign the card, it adds a personal touch – otherwise, just send an eCard.
4. "French hens" or "french hens"?
To capitalize or not to capitalize, that is the pressing question for many. It goes back to the distinction between a proper noun and a common noun. French is capitalized in "French hens" because it is derived from the proper noun "France," but don't ask why french fries is not capitalized in the A.P. Stylebook – that is my go-to guide for work, so I just go with it and enjoy eating french fries.
5. Newsletters – before sending out a time consuming Christmas newsletter, which really only chronicles your entire year of Facebook posts, it’s probably time you had a review of your contacts in your address book. People should know what’s going on in your life as you talk to them throughout the year, and not find out some big news, good or bad, in the Christmas mail.
(Looking to get a quick turnaround time on Christmas cards and holiday photo gifts? Don't forget about Betty Kelly's gift shop, or festive gifts at Holmes Electric, So Chic Bebe or if you must order online, I recommend MPIX.com for photo gifts/cards.)