It happens every year. Your mailbox is flooded with adorable holiday greetings from Thanksgiving to New Year's. You delight in tearing open envelopes to reveal sparkling photos of your friends and family. You remark at their cute coordinated ensembles or how much their youngest has grown. You laugh at their sometimes silly photos and smile at the highlights they've shared in a rhyming recap of the past 12 months.
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
But inevitably, each year, there are a handful of cards which, despite how perfectly everyone is posed, arrive with one glaring error that halts the Christmas music in your head and makes you want to tear wrapping paper into a million tiny pieces:
Misplaced apostrophes as glaring as mall Santas with fake beards on the front of envelopes or permanently letter-pressed on the face of thick cardstock have become so common that maybe you don't even notice them anymore, or if you do, you brush it off for the sake of holiday cheer.
I'm not a grammar nerd, but I know enough to know this has to stop! We must do something to save all these accidentally possessive families. The Turner family absolutely do wish you a Merry Christmas, but there's nothing possessive about their message.
Of course, you just wanted to be inclusive of the whole family when you addressed the card to The Turner's, but again, there's nothing possessive about their name on the front of an envelope.
In attempting to refer to a family in the plural tense, you're actually referring to them in the possessive. Instead, your salutations and addresses should read like this:
And yes, those pesky last names that end in "s" are extra confusing this time of year. But the no-apostrophe rule remains! Don't add punctuation; instead, add an "es" to the end of the name like this:
If rules about apostrophes and "es" endings are too confusing to keep track of while you're also trying to remember what's left on "Santa's shopping list," you can always make life easier (and still be grammatically correct) by adding "family" to the last name like this:
So please, before hitting order on your carefully crafted cards or sitting down to hand-address 100 blank envelopes, read this. And spread warm greetings and holiday cheer, not poor grammar, this season.