7 Perfect Korean Christmas Greetings To Learn

7 Perfect Korean Christmas Greetings To Learn

It’s the most beautiful time of the year ya’ll! So, build your Christmas tree, sing carols, and learn Korean Christmas Greetings 메리 크리스마스(meri keuriseumaseu!)

The Christmas season is definitely one of the most awaited holidays of the year for Christians. Christmas is an annual festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated by billions of people around the world predominantly on the 25th of December as a religious and cultural celebration.

The cold breeze, the beautiful lights, decorations, shopping sales, and most of all, the sense of giving are the Christmas vibes that we are used to. But aside from these beautiful things you can see around, the most important thing is to spend time with your loved ones.

During the holiday season, people spend Christmas Day with their family and close friends. Giving gifts, having fun, going to church and just being with each other is indeed the best ways to celebrate Christmas.

Every country has its own way of celebrating Christmas, but we will talk about the Korean way of celebrating Christmas in this lesson. So, prepare yourself to learn some Korean words and phrases related to Christmas and, most of all, Korean Christmas greetings.


Korean Culture During The Holiday Season

You know it’s already the Christmas season in South Korea when you see Santa Claus everywhere, Christmas lights shining throughout the whole streets, and you discount sales in different shopping malls. Of course, the Christmas season in South Korea is not complete without hearing Christmas songs sung by different K-pop idols like IU’s cover of Santa Tell Me, Twice’s Merry, Happy Exo’s What I Want For Christmas, and BTS’ version of Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town. But, In South Korea, Christmas is not solely about religion.

Koreans do not know Christianity until the 17th century. There is no majority religious group in South Korea. Its population comprises a plurality of people who do not identify with any religion (46%) as well as considerable numbers of Christians (29%) and Buddhists (23%). If you think about the number of Christians in Korea, it will not be a surprise that the spirit of Christmas is really alive during the holiday season. So, what’s Christmas in South Korea be like?

Christmas in South Korea is as a national holiday. In fact, it is the only country among East Asian countries that consider it as a holiday. Even in North Korea, where having a religion is prohibited, Christmas is just a simple day. South Koreans celebrate Christmas day but not to the extent that they will travel all the way from the city to their families who live in the province. Most Koreans will spend Christmas with their friends and partners. In fact, some considered Christmas in Korea as “Another Valentine’s Day with Santa.”

Christmas preparation in South Korea starts in November, unlike in the Philippines, which is another Asian country with a large Christian population. Did you know that the Philippines, which is the largest Christian country in Asia, have the longest Christmas season starting from September? In Korea, September is still the Autumn season, so it’s pretty much different. Since it is a national holiday in South Korea, there is no such thing as a “Christmas Vacation.” So, if you’re a student or a teacher, you’ll go back to school on the 26th of December, same with the employees.

Korean Christmas Food

The usual Christmas food is not found in Korean cuisine. Foreigners who really miss their traditional Christmas food can look for restaurants that sell Western-style Christmas food. Usually, there are lots of restaurants like that in Itaewon. But, since you’re in South Korea, why not try to celebrate Christmas in a Korean way? If you want, you can still enjoy the traditional Korean winter dishes like the following:

  1. 호떡 (Hotteok) – Korean Sweet Pancakes
  2. 붕어빵 (Bungeo-Bbang) – Goldfish Bread
  3. 떡볶이 (Tteokbokki) – Spicy Stir Fried Rice Cakes
  4. 오뎅 Odeng – Fish Cake
  5. 김치찌개 (Gimchijjigae) – Kimchi Stew
  6. 갈비찜 (Galbi Jjim) – Braised Beef Short Ribs

Christmas Songs

The Christmas season will never be complete without the traditional Christmas songs and carols. When we speak about songs, nobody can ever pull that off perfectly aside from their award-winning K-pop idols. Usually, Korean groups and solo artists release songs for Christmas with love, giving, and sharing as the main theme. This will be played all over South Korea, like in shopping malls, parks, and other public places. You can also hear some Western Christmas music that K-pop artists cover, like IU and BTS.

Christmas Decorations

One of the things that will make you feel the spirit of Christmas is the decorations. Usually, Korean families create their own trees in their homes. Outside, buildings and houses have Christmas lights that look really wonderful. The trees from big shopping centers are wonderfully decorated. Christmas decorations in South Korea is cheap. You can buy it at the local stores.

Christmas Cards And Gifts

Koreans will not go overboard on spending too much to buy Christmas gifts for everybody. But, if you have money, this is a perfect season to buy something because most of the shopping malls are on holiday sales. But if you don’t have, sending Christmas cards is enough to make their loved ones feel that they did not forget them during the holiday season. The themes of their Christmas cards are more inclined with nature which represents peace and warmth.


How To Have A Fun And Nice Christmas In South Korea?

Even if it is not that widely celebrated, unlike other countries, Koreans have their own ways of making their Christmas with their families, friends, and partners, extra special. Here are some fun ideas to consider:

  1. Going to theme parks and amusement parks.
  2. Ice Skating and sledding.
  3. Shopping.
  4. Go partying.
  5. Dive into fairs and markets.



How To Say Christmas In Korean?

Now that we know a little about the culture of South Korea during Christmas let us now learn some Korean vocabulary related to Christmas. Before we learn how to say Merry Christmas in Korean, let us learn first the following words:

크리스마스 (Keuriseumaseu)

The Korean word for Christmas is “크리스마스 (Keuriseumaseu).” It is easy to remember because it almost sounds like the English word for Christmas. But, take note that this form of Korean word is informal.

성탄절 (Seongtanjeol)

This is the formal way of saying Christmas in the Korean language. When learning Korean, learn their politeness level because it is a sign of respect. In Korean culture, they really value politeness determined by their hierarchy, so be careful with a word or phrase that you want to say.

성탄절 전야 (Seongtanjeol Jeonnya)

This is the Korean word for “Christmas eve.” During the night of the 24th of December, families gather around to welcome the 25th of December at 12:00 am. In other countries, this is where eating with the whole family, and gift-giving occurs. They also do it in Korea, but not everyone has the opportunity to do this since some have their families in the province.


How To Say Merry Christmas In Korean And Other Christmas Greetings?

Now that you have learned many things about South Korean Christmas let’s learn some Korean Christmas greetings. Remember, there are different ways to say Merry Christmas in Korean. Although the thought is the same, it differs from where you will use it and to whom you are talking. Koreans talk differently depending on whom they are talking to. That is why these Korean Christmas greetings will be divided into three categories.

Standard Korean Christmas Greetings

The first is the standard form. Standard form is the most used form of Korean spoken language because it is not too formal but not too informal either to sound rude. Notice the Hangul Character 요 (yo). It is added at the end to make it more polite than the informal one. Here are the standard Korean Christmas greetings.

Standard Korean Christmas Greetings

1. 크리스마스 잘 보내세요 (Keuriseumaseu Jal Bonaeseyo)

English Translation: Merry Christmas / Have A Good Weekend

The first Korean Christmas greeting that we will learn is 크리스마스 잘 보내세요 (Keuriseumaseu Jal Bonaeseyo). This is a friendly and polite form of greetings that you can use literally for everyone. Like what is stated above, they don’t have Christmas vacation, so Christmas is celebrated only a day because it is a national holiday.

You may also hear 크리스마스 잘 보내요 (keuriseumaseu jal bonaeyo), which has the same meaning but without extra politeness. The Korean character 세 (se) is removed, making it less polite than the first one. But, it is still nice to use the first one.

2. 휴일 잘 즐기세요! (Hyuil Jal Jeulgiseyo!)

English Translation: Enjoy the holidays!

The next Korean Christmas greeting that we will learn is 휴일 잘 즐기세요! (Hyuil Jal Jeulgiseyo!). If you are looking for an alternative that doesn’t mention “Christmas,” this is perfect for you.

3. 행복한 휴일 보내세요! (Haengbokan Hyuil Bonaeseyo!)

English Translation: Happy holidays!

Saying “Happy Holidays” (행복한 휴일 보내세요! | Haengbokan Hyuil Bonaeseyo!) is another Korean Christmas greetings that you can say without saying the word “Christmas.” It can also be helpful in greeting someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas in their own religion or faith.

Formal Korean Christmas Greetings

The formal form of Korean spoken language is used when talking with people in a higher social hierarchy than you. This includes the elderly, your boss, and people who are older than you. Here are two ways to Merry Christmas in Korean using the formal form

Formal Korean Christmas Greetings

1. 행복한 크리스마스 되십시오 (Haengbokan Keuriseumaseu Doesipsio)

English Translation: Merry Christmas

If you’re new to Korean culture and you still don’t have a strong grasp of their native language, it is safe to use the formal version. This is the most formal Korean Christmas greeting that you can use for all types of age groups.

The word 행복하다 (haengbokada) means happy and 크리스마스 (keuriseumaseu) is Christmas. Take a look at the Korean character –십시오 (sipsio) in the ending. This is what makes it so polite. You can also use and see this in cards and posters being sent by people.

2.  즐거운 성탄절 보내십시오 (Jeulgeoun Seongtanjeol Bonaesipsio)

English Translation: Merry Christmas

Another formal Korean Christmas greetings that you should learn is 즐거운 성탄절 보내십시오 (Jeulgeoun Seongtanjeol Bonaesipsio). Let’s take a look at what do the characters mean. 즐겁다(jeulgeopda) means pleasant, 성탄 (seongtan) means the sacred birth, and 성탄절 (seongtanjeol) means Christmas. This is the perfect phrase to use when you’re not in a formal situation.

Informal Korean Christmas Greetings

The informal form of spoken Korean is used for people who have the same age as you, close friends, or upon agreement. Here are the informal Korean Christmas greetings to learn for this lesson.

Informal Korean Christmas Greetings

1. 메리 크리스마스! (Meri Keuriseumaseu)

English Translation: Merry Christmas

This is the easiest version of the Korean Christmas greeting that you can learn when you are a foreigner. It is so close to the English translation. But, you have to know that this is also widely used in Korea. Since it is from the English language, it doesn’t have the politeness indicator, so this is not exactly informal.

2. 크리스마스 잘 보내 (Keuriseumaseu Jal Bonae)

English Translation: Merry Christmas

This is the informal version of the Korean Christmas greetings found in standard form #1. Notice the absence of the ending character, which indicates politeness.


Other Holiday Greetings In Korean Language

Aside from the Korean Christmas greetings, you have learned above, here are other holiday greetings in the Korean language that might be interesting for you.

1. 해피 하누카! (Haepi Hannukah!)

English Translation: Happy Hanukkah!

2. 해피 콴자! (Haepi Kwanja!)

English Translation: Happy Kwanzaa!

3. 행복한 새해 되세요! (Hengbokan Saehae Doeseyo!)

English Translation: Have a happy New Year!

4. 새해 복 많이 받으세요! (Saehae Bok Mani Badeuseyo!)

English Translation: Best wishes for the new year!

5. 행운을 빌어요 (Haenguneul Bilyeo!)

English Translation: Warm wishes!

6. 내년에 뵙겠습니다! (Naenyeone Boepkketsseumnida!)

English Translation: See you next year!

7. 겨울 휴가 잘 보내세요! (Gyeoul Hyuga Jal Bonaeseyo!)

English Translation: Have a great winter vacation!


Korean Christmas and Holiday Vocabulary

Of course, this lesson will not be complete without learning some Christmas and holiday vocabulary.

Hangul (Korean)RomanizationEnglish TranslationAudio
산타 클로스santa keulloseuSanta Claus
루돌프 사슴코rudolpeu saseumkoRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
꼬마 요정kkoma yojeongelf
크리스마스 종keuriseumaseu jongbell
북극bukgeukNorth Pole
루미네이션rumineisyeonChristmas lights, Christmas decorations
크리스마스 카드keuriseumaseu kadeuChristmas card
크리스마스 캐롤keuriseumaseu kaerolChristmas carol
크리스마스 트리keuriseumaseu teuriChristmas tree
화이트 크리스마스hwaiteu keuriseumaseuWhite Christmas
선물seonmulpresent / gift
칠면조 고기chilmyeonjo gogiturkey
크리스마스 양말keuriseumaseu yangmalChristmas stocking
사탕 지팡이satang jipangicandy cane
과자집gwajajipGingerbread house


Wanna Learn More Aside From Merry Christmas In Korean?

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With a variety of lessons to choose from joined by engaging activities, you can learn Korean on your own in just a short period of time. With Ling App, (IOS / Android) lessons are arranged in a flashcard-like form with the word or phrase you are learning, example sentence, image, and audio recording from a native speaker. It also has quizzes and challenges that will test your knowledge and skills. The good thing about this is that you can download it in your mobile app so you can bring it anywhere you want.

There is a lot to uncover in the Korean language. So, start learning Korean with Ling App now!

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