Ready to celebrate Christmas in Korea?
Or maybe bring Korea to your Christmas?
You’ve come to the right place!
Christmas is a national holiday in Korea and you will see Christmas decorations and Christmas trees around Seoul during the festive period. Learning how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Korean is pretty straightforward so be sure to wish all of your Korean friends a Merry Christmas!
Formal ‘Merry Christmas’ in Korean
1. 행복한 크리스마스 되십시오 (haengbokan keuriseumaseu doesipsio)
This is the formal way of saying ‘Merry Christmas’ since it has the –십시오 ending. You might see this on signs, posters, or cards. You can safely use it with all groups of people and nobody will get offended.
행복하다 = happy, blissful
크리스마스 = Christmas
2. 즐거운 성탄절 보내십시오 (jeulgeoun seongtanjeol bonaesipsio)
If you’re at a formal event, add this version of ‘Merry Christmas’ into the mix. 성탄절 is the Korean word for ‘Christmas’, but it’s not used as often as 크리스마스.
즐겁다 = pleasant
성탄 = the sacred birth
성탄절 = Christmas
Standard ‘Merry Christmas’ in Korean
1. 크리스마스 잘 보내세요 (keuriseumaseu jal bonaeseyo)
This is a standard, friendly, and polite way to say ‘Merry Christmas’. You can use it with anyone, no matter where they are in rank compared to you.
It is a very useful phrase to learn as you can use it to wish somebody a good weekend (주말 잘 보내세요) or good vacation (휴가 잘 보내세요).
You can also use the past tense version of the word ‘잘 보내셨어요?’ in order to ask somebody how their weekend or vacation went.
2. 크리스마스 잘 보내요 (keuriseumaseu jal bonaeyo)
This is the version of 잘 보내세요 without the extra politeness of the ‘세’ added in. We would recommend that you show good manners and use #1 instead of this one.
3. 즐거운 성탄절 보내세요 (jeulgeoun seongtanjeol bonaeseyo)
If you want to throw in some original Korean words (성탄절) but also take the formality down a notch, then this is the ‘Merry Christmas’ phrase for you! It’s still polite, but not as serious as즐거운 성탄절 보내십시오.
Informal ‘Merry Christmas’ in Korean
1. 메리 크리스마스 (meri keuriseumaseu)
This is the most common phrase used to wish somebody a merry Christmas in Korean. As you can see, it is basically just the English phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ written using the Korean alphabet.
When saying this phrase, make sure to use the Korean pronunciation rather than the English pronunciation. Koreans will understand you better, and it will be more fun!
This isn’t necessarily ‘informal’, but since it’s an English word with Korean pronunciation, there are no polite grammar indicators in the phrase. Therefore, you might want to stick to the standard and formal versions of ‘Merry Christmas’ in Korean if you aren’t sure of how much respect you should be showing.
2. 크리스마스 잘 보내 (keuriseumaseu jal bonae)
This is the informal version of the same expression and can only be used with close friends.
Other Christmas Words
Present: 선물 (seonmul)
Decoration: 장식 (jangsik)
Santa: 산타 (santa)
Pine tree: 소나무 (sonamu)
Snowman: 눈사람 (nunsaram)
If you’re looking for more Christmas vocabulary, check out this post!
You can use these words to help you talk about Christmas in Korea. Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!