Emotions may run high during the holiday season, especially if you’re newly single or experiencing your first holiday alone after a long relationship. Your ex might also be feeling nostalgic, leading them to send you a customary “Happy holidays!” message. Whether you’re looking forward to or dreading this contact, knowing how to handle it can be tricky. Here are some suggestions for responding to your ex’s holiday greetings while keeping the peace.

Before using any of these responses, consider how you truly feel about reconnecting with your ex. Would you respond if it weren’t the holidays? If not, you can wait until after the new year to reply or choose not to respond at all. But if you’re happy to hear from your ex this holiday season, go for it!

Here are 28 response ideas for when your ex reaches out during the holidays—or a reminder that it’s okay not to engage this Christmas.

If they send a generic “Happy holidays…” message

  • Surprised to hear from the past!
  • Happy holidays! I’ve been thinking of you too. Thanks for reaching out.
  • Wishing you happy holidays! I hope you and your family are doing well.
  • Happy holidays, and thanks for remembering me!
  • Brave of you to reach out!
  • Happy holidays! Any fun plans ahead?
  • Thanks, [insert name]! Wishing you a great holiday season too.
  • Wishing you not-so-happy holidays too! 😉

If they ask about your holiday plans…

  • Living my Hallmark fantasy, but texting you isn’t part of the script.
  • Enjoying time with loved ones. Hope you’re doing well!
  • Back in town briefly for family time before heading back.
  • Giving myself peace this season by blocking your number!
  • Thanks for checking in! Not much going on here, how about you?
  • No, thanks!
  • Planning to [insert festive activity] this week, interested in joining?

If you’re up for some playful holiday banter…

  • Happy holidays! Did you know I was hoping for your text this Christmas?
  • Happy holidays! Remembering [insert activity you did together] from last year. Shall we catch up?
  • Respond with the lyrics of “Tis the Damn Season” by Taylor Swift.
  • Happy holidays! Free to meet up soon? Thinking of a small holiday gathering.
  • All I want for Christmas is you 😉
  • Happy holidays! Need a New Year’s kiss? Here I am…

If you’re not interested in conversation…

  • Thanks for calling the backsliding hotline! Text STOP to stop receiving messages.
  • Hello, appreciate the message, but it’s too soon for me. Enjoy the holidays!
  • Happy holidays! Not a good time for me to reconnect, but wishing you well.
  • Happy holidays—not sure why you reached out, but I wish you a great 2024.
  • Hi, wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year.
  • Happy holidays! Best wishes for the coming year.
  • Checked off you reaching out from my 2023 BINGO card! Have a great new year.

If you opt not to respond…

Sometimes, silence speaks volumes, even if it’s Grinch-like. You’re not obligated to engage, especially if your ex mistreated you in the past. If this is their first contact in a while, feel no pressure to continue the conversation if you’re not inclined. If the breakup was amicable and you want to remain friendly, use the responses to keep it positive. But it’s absolutely fine not to initiate contact. Ignore, delete, or block as needed for a happy, healthy holiday season.


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