I found on a Christmas card sold in the U.S., and I know it's natural:

May all that is beautiful, meaningful, and brings you joy be yours this Holiday Season.

But this re-configured version may be more appropriate in terms of parallelism:

May all that is beautiful and meaningful, and brings you joy be yours this Holiday Season.

What do you think? I see the sentence parsed like this:

May all that [is [beautiful and meaningful], and brings you joy] be yours this Holiday Season.


Parallelism is about good English style, and not grammar. Both of your examples exhibit good grammar.

When considering good style there are various considerations. For example, the rhythm of the sentence -- does it flow with a natural cadence, "trippingly on the tongue"? Imagine you are saying this in a speech before a group. Does it sound like something you would want to hear? Does it sound like something someone else would want to repeat to others?

Forcing a more parallel construction can be like pounding a square peg into a round hole, where you make the sentence worse simply to make it fit Often the parallel construction is also the most pleasant-sounding, but sometimes you want to introduce a contrasting note to emphasize the odd element.

Those are questions for the writer and each reader to decide, individually. But if you're going for maximum parallelism, as well as a pleasant rhythm, I would write:

May all that is beautiful, and meaningful, and joyful, be yours this Holiday Season.

"Joyful" doesn't mean quite the same thing as "brings you joy", but I think it's close enough to convey the intention.

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    I like your advice, but I think your revised version has too many ands and commas. I'd prefer: May all that is beautiful, meaningful, and joyful be yours this holiday season. (I'd also keep "holiday season" in all lower-case, but what do I know? I was never hired to write greeting cards!) – J.R. Dec 29 '16 at 2:50
  • @J.R. I just imagine my father-in-law, whose oratory is the epitome of gravitas, saying this with the appropriate pregnant pause at each comma. Then it sounds pretty good. – Andrew Dec 29 '16 at 5:43
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    I'd still strike that comma after joyful. It seems ungrammatical to me. – J.R. Dec 29 '16 at 10:10

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