spanish christmas vocabulary

The Merriest Spanish Vocabulary: 45 Spanish Words for Indulging in Christmas

Oh yeah, it’s that time of year again.

Sure, the calendar is full of holidays, and each one is unique.

The Day of the Dead brings you ghoulish fun. Valentine’s Day brings love and romance.

But in the dead of winter, nothing will brighten up your mood on cold winter evenings quite like thoughts of Christmas and New Year’s. As you sing Christmas songs and work on your New Year’s resolutions, you might notice a gaping hole in your Spanish vocabulary.

There’s only one thing that can fill that gap: A stocking full of great Christmas vocabulary!

Learn a foreign language with videos

Why Learn Christmas Vocabulary?

You might be thinking “but there’s snow reason to learn Christmas vocabulary.” However, there are tree good reasons. (Don’t Christmas puns just sleigh you?)

But seriously…learning Spanish Christmas vocabulary is great.

For one thing, learning Christmas vocabulary will help you understand culture. After all, holiday celebrations are an important part of any culture. You might think you know Christmas, but Spanish and Latin American holidays feature some events and foods you might not be so familiar with. Since culture and language go hand and hand, you must learn both to really communicate.

On that note, communicating is very important. Since these words will help you communicate during a fun and festive season, you’ll be able to engage in all the joys the holidays bring.

Finally, when you’re learning a language, you need to take any opportunity you can get to learn language in a fun way. There are a lot of words to learn, but when you enjoy them by connecting them to good times, it becomes so much easier.

Christmas Vocabulary Learning Tools

Luckily, everyone loves fun, festive things, so there are plenty of tools out there to help you on your walk through this winter wonderland.

  • Spanish Town offers a cute, illustrated vocabulary list. Click the images to hear the words.
  • Quizlet offers tons of vocabulary lists to help you practice your favorite holiday words.
  • Dramas Cristianos (Christian Dramas) offers Spanish-language Christmas plays. What better way to learn Christmas vocabulary than getting together with friends and putting on a festive play? Or you can just read them yourself for fun. But be sure to do voices. Voices are essential.
  • About offers a great list of familiar Christmas carols. Choose your favorite Christmas carol, and you can learn the lyrics in Spanish. Once you learn carols in Spanish, you’ll never forget the vocabulary—those things are unbelievably catchy. When you spend the next three years with “Cascabeles” (Jingle Bells) constantly ringing in your head, just don’t blame us.

FluentU takes real-world videos, like music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks, and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.

Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.

FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:

FluentU App Browse Screen

FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.

FluentU Videos with Interactive Captions

Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.

Interactive Transcripts on FluentU

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

FluentU Has Quizzes for Every Video

The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.

Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store for iOS and Android devices.

The Merriest Spanish Vocabulary: 45 Spanish Words for Indulging in Christmas

Spanish Christmas Greetings

1. Feliz Navidad — Merry/Happy Christmas

2. Felices Fiestas — Happy Holidays

3. Próspero Año Nuevo — It’s used to mean “Happy New Year,” but it literally means “prosperous New Year.”

Key Days/Events

4. Nochebuena — This term for “Christmas Eve” literally means “Good Night.” It usually consists of a large meal.

5. Misa del Gallo — This means “Midnight Mass” or literally “Rooster’s Mass.” Many Catholic families attend this mass at midnight on Christmas Eve as part of their annual celebrations.

6. Navidad Christmas

7. Día de Navidad — Christmas Day

8. Día de los Santos Inocentes — This “Day of the Holy Innocents” is celebrated on December 28th. Though it has Biblical origins, it is now much like the American April Fool’s Day where people play small pranks on each other.

9. Nochevieja — This term for “New Year’s Eve” literally means “old night.”

10. Año Nuevo — New Year

11. Día de Año Nuevo — New Year’s Day

12. Noche de Reyes — This means “Night of Kings,” referencing the Three Kings most Americans are familiar with. Noche de Reyes occurs on the night of January 5th into the morning of the 6th. In many Spanish-speaking countries (and indeed, many other countries around the world), most gifts are traditionally delivered by the Three Kings during this night. On Christmas, the children just receive small gifts.

13. Día de Reyes — This “Day of Kings,” is also known as “Epiphany” or “Three Kings’ Day.” It’s on January 6th. This is the proverbial “12th day of Christmas” and is celebrated with food and gifts. Though in the US this day is largely ignored, many people around the world (including in Spanish-speaking countries) consider this the pinnacle of the Christmas season.

14. Vacaciones de Navidad — “Christmas holidays” or “Christmas break.”

Important Figures

15. Niño Jesús — Baby Jesus

16. Virgen María y José — Virgin Mary and Joseph.

17. Reyes Magos — This literally means “Magi Kings.” It refers to the “Three Magi,” “Three Kings” or, as they’re most commonly known in English, the “Three Wise Men.”

18. Papá Noel — Rather than Santa Claus, most Spanish-speaking countries have “Father Christmas.” He isn’t as popular as Santa, though, and he often leaves only a small gift on Christmas. The Reyes Magos usually bring more gifts on the Día de Reyes.

Decorations

19. Árbol de Navidad — Christmas tree

20. Calcetín — Stocking

21. Luces navideñas — Christmas lights

22. Hombre de nieve — Snowman

23. Corona de Navidad — Christmas wreath

24. Flor de Navidad/Flor de Nochebuena — These terms for “poinsettia” literally mean “Christmas flower” or “Christmas Eve flower” respectively.

25. Adornos — Decorations/ornaments

26. Espumillón — Tinsel

27. Muérdago — Mistletoe

28. Acebo — Holly

Holiday Foods

29. Comida del día de Navidad — This refers to “Christmas dinner,” though it literally means “food of Christmas Day.” In Spain, this often consists of pavo trufado de Navidad (truffled Christmas turkey) which is turkey rolled with truffles and various meats like pork and veal.

30. Tronco de Navidad — This literally means “Christmas trunk.” This term refers to a Yule log, also known as a bûche de Noël. It’s a rolled cake decorated to look like a log. Because, you know, nothing is more festive than eating a log. Mmm…woody.

31. Pastel de Navidad — This term means “Christmas cake.” Traditionally, these feature various dried fruits. Unlike American-style fruitcakes, though, they often feature almond paste and icing.

32. Polvorones — The word polvorones comes from the Spanish word polvo (dust/powder). These cookies are also known as “Mexican wedding cookies.” They’re buttery, crumbly cookies chock full of chopped walnuts and joy. Plus, they’re usually dusted in powdered sugar, making them look like tasty little snowballs.

33. Mazapán — This means “marzipan,” which is a sweetened almond paste. It’s a particularly common holiday treat in Spain.

34. Turrón — This is a type of nougat. It can be flavored with any number of things including nuts, seeds, chocolate or spices. Seasonings vary regionally.

35. Mantecados — This is a type of shortbread with nuts. But vegetarians be warned: It traditionally contains lard.

36. Rosca/Roscón de Reyes — This term means “Ring of Kings.” It’s an oval pastry traditionally consumed on the Día de Reyes. It’s often decorated with dried fruits. But bite carefully: A baby Jesus figurine, toy, coin or dried bean is usually hidden in one of the pastries in any given box. Whoever finds the hidden object is traditionally expected to pay for a party.

Festive Things

37. Tarjeta de Navidad — Christmas card

38. Regalo — Present

39. Nacimiento — Nativity scene

40. Villancico — Christmas carol

41. Espíritu navideño — Christmas spirit

42. Trineo — Sleigh

43. Cascabeles — This word means “bells,” though it’s often used to refer to “sleigh bells” in songs like “Jingle Bells.”

44. Renos — Reindeer

45. Calendario de adviento — Advent calendar

With the holidays fast approaching, give yourself the gift that keeps on giving—festive Christmas vocabulary to enjoy year after year.

Have a great holiday!

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