Merry Christmas in Spanish, and Other Heartfelt Holiday Greetings You Should Know
It’s hard to choose a unique, heartfelt Christmas greeting for cards, letters, emails and other holiday messages.
Well, why not try out some new Christmas greetings in Spanish?
Once you’ve got some festive phrases and vocabulary under your belt, you can add to the cheer by spreading some Christmas love in español.
- Merry Christmas in Spanish: Feliz Navidad
- Other Heartfelt Christmas Greetings in Spanish
- How to Lead Toasts in Spanish
- Spanish Christmas Vocabulary
- Christmas Traditions in the Spanish-speaking World
Merry Christmas in Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Perhaps you know this famous holiday season song:
If you do, then I have good news… You already know how to say “Merry Christmas” in Spanish.
That’s right: it’s ¡Feliz Navidad!
Of course, feliz means “happy,” so the literal translation of Feliz Navidad is “Happy Christmas.” Navidad comes from the Latin nativus, meaning “born”—the same root word for the English word “nativity.” That means Feliz Navidad is only used around Christmastime.
You might write it in a card or social media post. You can say it as a greeting or goodbye to a cashier at the store. Or you can simply wish your friends and family “¡Feliz Navidad!”
¡Hola Laura, Feliz Navidad! ¿Cómo están tus papás?
Hey Laura, Merry Christmas! How are your parents?
¡Hasta luego, Don Vicente! Feliz Navidad, que lo pase muy bien.
Goodbye, Mr Vicente! Merry Christmas, I hope you have a good one.
Other Heartfelt Christmas Greetings in Spanish
Traditional Spanish Holiday Greetings
Keep in mind that Spanish-speaking countries usually celebrate Christmas on December 24, not the 25. They call this night Nochebuena (literally “good night,” but meaning Christmas Eve).
And of course, after Christmas celebrations wrap up, the New Year is right around the corner—but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered for December 31st as well! So besides “¡Feliz Navidad!” (Merry Christmas!), here are some other common phrases you’ll hear around this time of the year.
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year! (Literally: “happy year”)
Que tengas un próspero año.
I hope you have a prosperous new year.
Con mucho cariño, te deseo una Feliz Navidad.
With all my love, I wish you a Happy Christmas.
Que tengas un próspero año is a good one to write in a Christmas card, message or email, or even as a Happy New Year tweet—though be sure to change tengas to tengan for your numerous followers. Note that this phrase uses the subjunctive form of the verb tener, which you can read about here if you need information or a refresher.
And along with our affectionate “Con mucho cariño, te deseo una Feliz Navidad,” if you want to go all out on your Christmas messages, tack on “y un próspero Año Nuevo“ (and a prosperous New Year) at the end.
You can learn more about Spanish holiday culture and how to use Christmas greetings and vocab with the Learn Spanish and Go podcast. They have episodes that discuss a variety of holidays, including Xmas.
You can also hear the greetings in this post in the language learning program FluentU: the authentic Spanish videos, made by and for native speakers, let can see conversations in action and hear vocabulary as it’s really used.
Turn on FluentU’s interactive subtitles to see pronunciation, definitions and example sentences of any term in real time. You can also create custom multimedia flashcard decks to review vocabulary, and practice what you’ve learned in personalized quizzes.
FluentU can be used in a desktop browser or as an app, available for iOS and Android.
Spanish Greetings for Wishing Happiness to Others
To go even further with the Xmas love, you can wish joy and happiness to those around you with the following phrases:
Mis mejores deseos para Navidad y Año Nuevo.
My best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
Te deseo mucha alegría y felicidad estas fiestas.
I wish you lots of joy and happiness this holiday season.
Que se cumplan tus deseos/sueños.
May your dreams come true.
Este año te deseo amor, dinero y salud.
This year I wish you love, money and health.
Mucho cariño para ti y tu familia esta Navidad.
Lots of love to you and your family this Christmas.
Que lo pasen lindo.
I hope you have a nice time. (This refers to the Christmas celebrations themselves.)
Que lo pasen en familia.
I hope you spend time with your family.
Que en esta Navidad el mejor regalo que recibas sea estar junto a tus seres queridos compartiendo paz, esperanza y alegría.
I hope that this Christmas the best present you get is to be near your loved ones sharing peace, hope and joy.
You can switch these around or be more specific about spreading joy over las fiestas (the holidays).
For example, you might wish others’ dreams come true by saying “Que se cumplan tus deseos estas fiestas/esta Navidad/en el Año Nuevo.” Or, you could be more specific and add “en 2022” (in 2022).
You can also combine well wishes! Simply write one of the above messages, such as “Que lo pasen lindo,” and then put “¡Feliz Navidad!” at the end.
Religious Spanish Christmas Greetings
If you’d like to spread joy of a more religious nature, try these phrases:
Que Dios te bendiga este Año Nuevo.
God bless you this new year.
Que Jesús te proteja a ti y a tu familia este Año Nuevo.
May Jesus protect you and your family this New Year.
Que la estrella de Belén ilumine tu vida esta Navidad.
I hope that Bethlehem’s star lights up your life this Christmas.
Que los Reyes (Magos) te protejan.
May the three Kings (Wise Men) protect you.
The first two phrases can be used at any time of year, provided you just say the first part of the phrase (ex: Que Dios te bendiga) and leave out the New Year’s or Christmas part.
The last two phrases have more of an Xmas feel to them. Note that in many Spanish countries, the Reyes Magos are said to visit on January 6, so you may hear references to them around this time.
And as before, you can tack on different endings as you like to make your holiday greetings more personal.
Playful Spanish Christmas Greetings
If you like to spread the Xmas love by making your loved ones laugh, giggle or smile, try these more playful Christmas greetings:
Todo lo que quiero para Navidad eres tú.
All I want for Xmas is you.
Nos vemos debajo del muérdago.
See you under the mistletoe.*
Espero que no te hayas portado mal este año.
I hope you haven’t been too naughty this year.
No le des demasiado al turrón.
Go easy on the turrón (a Spanish nougat candy).
* Be careful with this one! There’s no mistletoe in Latin America, though some people who have watched Christmas movies may understand the reference.
How to Lead Toasts in Spanish
As you know now, many Spanish families celebrate on Nochebuena (Christmas Eve). Often, they make a toast at midnight. The Spanish verb “to toast” is brindar, so you say:
I toast to…
And then add whatever you want toast to. For example:
Brindo por un próspero año nuevo para todos.
I toast to a prosperous new year for all of us.
Brindo por nuestra amistad.
A toast to our friendship.
Brindo por la paz, la alegría y la felicidad.
A toast to peace, joy and happiness.
It’s worth noting that toasts are often made without the verb brindar, for example:
¡Por un año lleno de éxito!
To a year full of success!
And lastly, you could just simply say:
Spanish Christmas Vocabulary
It’s definitely a great idea to get those greetings ready for Xmas! There’s plenty of Christmas-related vocabulary to have in your arsenal for the holiday season.
Check out some helpful terms here:
- Feliz — Happy
- Navidad — Christmas
- Fiestas — Holidays
- Año Nuevo — New Year
- Nochebuena — Christmas Eve (literally “good night”)
- Nochevieja — New Year’s Eve (literally “old night”)
- Deseo — I wish
- Navideño — Christmas (as an adjective)
For example: el espíritu navideño — the Christmas spirit
- Muérdago — Mistletoe
- Los regalos — Gifts
- Árbol de Navidad — Christmas tree
- Papá Noel — Santa Claus
- Bastón de caramelo — Candy cane
Christmas Traditions in the Spanish-speaking World
The Spanish Christmas Lottery
Spain’s Christmas lottery isn’t just a big tradition—it’s the biggest lottery in the world! With prize money totaling over 2 billion euros, the first place nickname is fitting: El Gordo (The Fat One).
Almost the whole country enters the Spanish Christmas Lottery, but usually not with individual tickets—typically, people buy shares of a single ticket, often alongside family members or colleagues.
In fact, the system is designed to function this way so that more people can win. Even a €20 stake of the winning ticket can return thousands of euros—just take a look at this story from 2016!
Nochebuena (Christmas Eve)
As mentioned earlier in this post, most Spanish-speaking regions hold Christmas celebrations on December 24, referred to as Nochebuena.
Nochebuena celebrations look different around the world—and can even differ greatly among families in the same community—but no matter where you are or who you’re with, the main part of the Nochebuena celebrations is food.
Families gather for feasts that last hours, eating meats, seafood, soups, tacos and desserts ranging from flan to the seasonal nougat turrón. Then at midnight, many attend La Misa Del Gallo (Mass of the Rooster) to kick off Christmas Day.
Nochevieja (New Year’s Eve)
During the Christmas period we also have Nochevieja—meaning New Year’s Eve, though it literally translates to “old night!” Nochevieja is celebrated in both Spain and Latin America with a few unique traditions.
For example, some people intentionally wear red underwear during the celebrations, as the color red, associated with passion, love and prosperity, is supposed to bring the wearer good luck. Spain also has the tradition of eating twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight—again, in an effort to bring twelve months of prosperity and good luck.
Other Spanish-speaking countries have their own traditions, such as water fights in Puerto Rico and burning huge dummies in Ecuador!
Los Reyes Magos (The Three Wise Men)
Traditionally, Papá Noel (Santa Claus) is not the Christmas gift-bearing figure in Spanish-speaking countries: that task belongs to los Reyes Magos (the Three Wise Men). They bring presents to Spanish children on January 6, at the end of the 12 Days of Christmas.
You’re probably still familiar with many of the traditions, though!
Children write letters to the Three Wise Men detailing the gifts they’d like. On the night of January 5, plates of food and sweets are left out for los Reyes Magos as thanks. In the morning, there’s gifts to be opened (unless you get coal!) and delicious food to be eaten.
Now you can celebrate the holidays in Spain, or simply wish your family and friends “Merry Christmas!” in Spanish.
¡Que tengas un próspero año nuevo! (I hope you have a prosperous new year!)