How To Properly Make Last Names Plural For Holiday Cards

Calling all grammar nerds! I’ve got a question for you: should it be Season’s greetings from the Smiths … or Smith’s? 

As the holiday season quickly approaches, so do the mountains of cards you receive in the mail from friends, family, acquaintances and even your dentist. While the baby photos and Christmas sweaters are adorable, I can’t help but get stuck on the bad grammar mistakes I find in almost all the cards. One after another, I notice the same issues regarding the use of apostrophes in last names.

If you’re ever in a pickle about holiday card grammar, we can help. Here’s an official guide to walk you through putting your name on your upcoming card.

Here are a few quick rules:

  1. Never add an apostrophe.   Season Greetings from the Smiths
  2. If your last name ends with “s, x, z, ch, sh”, then add an “es” at the end of your name. Season Greetings from Joneses
  3. If your last name ends with any other letter, just add an s.  Season Greetings from Kranes

A few questions people have may have:

What about names ending in Y?  Just add an “s,” not “ies.”  Season Greetings from the Hensleys

Should I ever add an apostrophe?  Only if you want to make it possessive.

Want more holiday card etiquette information? Look no further:

If you’re unsure what to say, card printing giant Shutterfly has a great guide to salutations to use when signing your card here. Other sites have complete, comprehensive guides to holiday card etiquette — find lifestyle blog The Spruce’s guide here and printing company Minted’s guide here. Trying to be more environmentally friendly by going paperless this year? There’s a guide for that, too: Paperless Post’s holiday card etiquette guide can be found here.

Do you have any holiday card tips to share? Let me know on Facebook!