This Christmas season, some people will spend a bit too much time planning the perfect DIY ugly Christmas sweater, binging their favorite holiday movies, and getting too—shall we say: merry?—during office Christmas party games over video chat, and not enough time planning out their Christmas shopping to ensure that every present will arrive on time (how naughty). If this sounds like something you might be guilty of, then you better get used to making the switch from saying “merry Christmas” to “merry belated Christmas.”
However, you won’t be the only one.
Unless you’ve been living under a boulder these last few months, you’re probably well aware of the many difficulties currently faced by our postal systems. Once regular, organized, and timely postal services are now subject to all the chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, there are major shipping delays that likely won’t speed up any time soon.
Therefore, some belated Christmas greetings may be in order—stat.
Can You Say Merry Belated Christmas?
Not everyone agrees on when the Christmas season begins and ends.
According to Hallmark, the Christmas season begins on October 24th—which is when they begin a nonstop loop of gloriously low-budget movies that somehow all follow the same plotlines.
Shortly thereafter, every store ever starts blasting a loop of Christmas tunes from their overhead speakers. Paired with the Halloween-and-Thanksgiving-decor-stuffed aisles, it just doesn’t feel right.
Then there are Advent calendars, which begin on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and end on Christmas Day itself.
Of course, we can’t forget about the 12 Days of Christmas. It may come as a surprise, but the partridge isn’t even in the pear tree until Christmas Day itself, and the 12 drummers finally drum away on January 5th.
So, according to everyone’s favorite Christmas carol, as long as your present arrives by the 5th day of the New Year, you’re golden. After that, you should switch your greetings from merry Christmas to merry belated Christmas.
However, it’s probably in your best interest to offer a belated greeting any time after Christmas Day itself. By then, the presents are all unwrapped, the bottle of rum is empty, and the Christmas songs are suddenly grating on everyone’s ears.
It’s better late than never, though.
25 Last-Minute Holiday Wishes
You might be asking: “What do you write in a belated Christmas card?” You’ll need a sincere greeting in order to cover your tracks.
First of all, you’ll need the perfect Christmas greeting card to write your wishes in.
Secondly, you should probably include an apology. You really dropped the ball on this one—and we don’t mean the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Time’s Square, because the odds are you missed that too. Starting your greeting off with “I’m sorry” is probably your best bet.
You might also want to add an element of humor to lighten the mood. Choose a couple of funny things to write in a Christmas card, because a chuckle or two might lessen the blow of your forgetfulness.
The rest is up to you. But if you’re experiencing writer’s block because you’re distracted by the guilt of not having your stuff together—or by the headache caused by too many refills of spiked eggnog last night—we’ve got you covered.
Here are 25 belated merry Christmas greetings to use at your disposal:
- Sorry for the belated merry Christmas wishes—I didn’t want them to get lost amid all the others.
- I hope your Christmas was filled with peace, joy, and love.
- Let’s keep the good times rolling: merry belated Christmas.
- I hope Santa and his elves weren’t as late as I am.
- I needed some extra time to pick out the perfect Christmas gift—not just any old thing would do.
- Have you heard? There are major shipping delays at the North Pole. On behalf of Santa’s workshop, I’m sorry this gift was sent this to you so late.
- I didn’t want the magic of Christmas to end, so here’s a bit more. Merry belated Christmas!
- I hope Santa brought you everything on your wish list.
- You are a gift to me today and everyday—not just on Christmas.
- I hope you had a not-so-silent night filled with laughter and joy.
- I apologize for wishing you a late merry Christmas, but there wasn’t a minute of Christmas Day that I wasn’t thinking of you.
- I’m sorry I’m late, but I wanted to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year at the same time.
- Did you end up getting a lump of coal? Merry belated Christmas to my fellow naughty-list friend.
- I spent my Christmas thinking of how lucky I am to have you in my life. Merry belated Christmas.
- Technically, we’re still in the 12 days of Christmas. The drummers don’t even start drumming until January 5th.
- I’m hoping the New Year brought you peace, joy, and happiness.
- Here’s wishing you a belated merry Christmas—sorry I’m late!
- As the Christmas season draws to a close, I hope it’s filled with good times and happy memories.
- This Christmas, I sent my love from afar. Did you feel it?
- I hope this past Christmas was one to remember.
- With the New Year on the horizon, I hope you embrace it with open eyes, hands, and heart.
- ‘Tis the season to put off Christmas cards until the last minute…sorry!
- Because it’s time to have to pay off your post-Christmas credit card statement, you need my wishes now more than ever.
- It’s never too late to wish someone you love a merry Christmas.
- I hope your Christmas was a sleigh full of fun.
Hopefully, your loved ones won’t hold your poor planning against you. With one of these merry belated Christmas wishes, they’ll at least know they didn’t completely slip your mind.
If you want to earn some serious bonus points, pick out a special gift from Redbubble to send along with your Christmas wishes and the recipient will surely forgive your bad case of scatterbrain.
Some of you might also want to stock up on last minute greeting cards just in case you run into a similar situation in the future. You know who you are.