How do you say gentle in Italian

As the countdown to Christmas is now well under way it got me thinking (again!) – how do we wish someone a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year in Italian?

Have you decorated your Christmas tree yet?

If you ask the Google Translate boffins they give you –

Google boffins do their translation stuff!

Pronounced “Bwon Nah-TAH-ley” (with the emphasis on the middle syllable), it literally means good Christmas.

If you want to be a bit fancy you could go for Merry Christmas and Happy New Year which would be Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo, pronounced “Bwon Nah-TAH-ley ay feh-LEE-chay AHN-noh NWOH-voh” with the emphasis on the syllables in capitals.

Or if you or the recipient are strong believers in the Christian faith, you may want to use Santo Natale 
e un prospero Anno Nuovowhich means A holy Christmas and a prosperous New Year and is pronounced “San-toh Nah-TAH-ley e oon proh-speh-roh AHN-noh NWOH-voh”.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree

And although the tradition of giving cards isn’t a big thing Italy as people tend to ring eachother or greet eachother in person, you may still want to write some cards or send a festive email so here are some ideas, first for a friend –

Caro Giuseppe,
Ti auguro un Buon Natale e un Felice Anno Nuovo.
Con tanto affetto,

Note : if you are writing a card to a girl, you would start it Cara instead of Caro as the word “Dear” takes on the gender of the recipient.

Second, if you are writing to a couple or family you might write –

Cari Michele e Maria,
Vi auguro un Buon Natale e un Felice Anno Nuovo.
Con tanto affetto,

Christmas lights in the colonnade of St Mark’s outside the Florian Cafe

Third, if you and your partner or you and your family and kids are writing to one person, you might use –

Cara Zia Francesca,
Ti auguriamo un Buon Natale e un Felice Anno Nuovo.
Con tanto affetto,
Paola, Toni, Giacomo e Laura

Or finally, from you and your family to another family or couple you’d say –

Cari Nonna e Nonno,
Vi auguriamo un Buon Natale e un Felice Anno Nuovo.
Con tanto affetto,
Paola, Toni, Giacomo e Laura

We wish you a Buon Natale

If you’re writing a card to a colleague who you don’t know very well, however, you wouldn’t address them with Caro as this is too informal. You could use the more formal version below –

Gentile Dottore Verdi,
Auguri di Buon Natale.
Signora Rossi

And of course, if you want to sing the equivalent of “We wish you a merry Christmas”, it’s a nice easy song to learn in Italian –

Auguri di Buon Natale
Auguri di Buon Natale
Auguri di Buon Natale
E di un anno seren.

Auguri festosi
Portiam calorosi
A voi per Natale
E per l’anno che vien.

A tutti un Buon Natale
A tutti un Buon Natale
A tutti un Buon Natale
E un anno seren.

Happy holidays

All this, of course, is assuming that you and or your friends are religious or observe Christmas but you may want to just wish people happy holidays which would be Buone Feste pronounced “bwon-ay feh-stey.” Another alternative would be to say Tanti auguri di Buone Feste, meaning best wishes for happy holidays and pronounced “Tan-tee ow-goo-ree dee bwon-ay feh-stey”.

Have you finished your holiday shopping yet?

And as with birthday greetings and gifts, there is an etiquette with many people putting great importance on buying the right present or even the right gift wrap. Italian friends may also want to wait whilst you unwrap their gift in front of them so they can see your reaction. It’s all part of the joy of giving, and obviously lets you say thank you in person.

Alternatively, you may just want to keep it simple and say Happy New Year, maybe in the hope of a kiss at midnight(!), in which case you could go for the straight forward Buon Anno pronounced “bwon ANN-no”. Or Felice 2016, pronounced “feh-LEE-chey doo-eh mill-ay say-dee-chee” or Buon 2016 pronounced “bwon doo-eh mill-ay say-dee-chee” The last two would be nice and simple in a card or email if you don’t want to try to get your tongue round saying the year just yet!!

Oh Christmas tree, tiny tiny Christmas tree!

So I hope that helps with your festive greetings and card writing! But remember, learning Italian is for life, not just for Christmas so if you’ve found this useful you might want to check out more of our DreamDiscoverItalia Italian 101 ideas such as How to say hello or How to say please, thank you and you’re welcome, and How to say Happy Birthday, all of which are easy to learn! I can’t promise that to make you fluent in Italian overnight, but with the help of our Italian 101 posts you can learn a little and often and hopefully have a bit of fun doing it!

Huney “helping” to decorate the tree! Photo credit and copyright : Abigail Herron

And in the meantime here’s hoping that your festive preparations are well underway – your tree is decorated (rather than your dog, poor Huney!), your gifts are wrapped and you’ve got a family box of chocolates ready for the Christmas day movie marathon!! I wish every one of our DreamDiscoverItalia readers Buon Natale e tanti auguri di buon anno!! Have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

One last thing – I am super, super-excited to confirm that DreamDiscoverItalia has been shortlisted for Italy Magazine’s 2015 Blogger Awards in the “Best Art & Culture Blog” category! Thank you for all the nominations! So if you’ve ever enjoyed reading this blog now is the time to vote for DreamDiscoverItalia to win by clicking below and then clicking on the vote bar under DreamDiscoverItalia


Voting runs until Christmas 2015 and you can vote from any mobile device – each one counts as a separate vote, from what I understand, so you can vote once from your laptop, plus once from your phone, plus once from your iPad, once from your work PC etc etc, you get the picture! Grazie mille!! 


The post Italian 101 – How to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year first appeared on DreamDiscoverItalia.

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