How to address holiday cards

Are you writing holiday cards this season? It can be a confusing process with too many cousins to keep track of and not enough stationery to go around. However, here’s a spelling tip for last names ending in S and S sounds to hopefully make the whole thing go a little smoother.

The rule for addressing Christmas cards to families with last names ending with S or S sounds is to pluralize the last name like any other noun. This means adding -es for names ending in “s” or “z” or “x” and adding -s for everything else.

Here are some examples.

The Williams clan→ The Williamses

The Rodrigez family → The Rodrigezes

Tim and Harry Lewis → The Lewises

A note about possessives

The plural is different from possessive versions of these names. People often make the mistake of adding an apostrophe when making the names plural, such as making it the “Bush’s” when it should be the “Bushes.”

Here’s an easy chart to help you keep track of the different forms of the words.

Singular names: Fox, Kirk

Singular possessive names: Fox’s, Kirk’s

Plural but not possessive names: Foxes, Kirks

Plural possessive names: Foxes’, Kirks’s

You are now empowered to write “Merry Christmas to the Joneses!” on your Christmas cards!


Let’s do one one last self-test to see if you’ve got this down. Make each name plural.

  1. The Knox family
  2. The Hernandez family
  3. The Whitney family
  4. The Nixon family
  5. The Brooks family


  1. The Knoxes
  2. The Hernandezes
  3. The Whitneys
  4. The Nixons
  5. The Brookses

This post is by Jacquelynn Lyon. She is a story coach at Dot and Dash, LLC, an author-services company focusing on women writers and offering a range of editing, coaching, and social media packages.

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