Spanish Christmas Vocabulary: 47 Merry Words and Phrases for the Holidays
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 Christmas vocabulary.
Lucky for you, this post is full of Spanish words about Christmas that will fill your stocking and your sentences!
- Spanish Christmas Greetings
- Festive Days and Events in Spanish
- Important Christmas Figures in Spanish
- Christmas Decorations in Spanish
- Holiday Foods in Spanish
- Festive Things in Spanish
- Spanish Christmas Vocabulary Resources
Spanish Christmas Greetings
Feliz Navidad — Merry/Happy Christmas
Felices Fiestas — Happy Holidays
Próspero Año Nuevo — Happy New Year
This literally means “prosperous New Year.”
Festive Days and Events in Spanish
La Nochebuena — Christmas Eve
This literally means “good night” and usually consists of a large meal.
La Misa del Gallo — Midnight Mass
This literally means “Rooster’s Mass.” Many Catholic families attend this mass at midnight on Christmas Eve as part of their annual celebrations.
La Navidad — Christmas
El Día de Navidad — Christmas Day
El Día de los Santos Inocentes — Day of the Holy Innocents
This holiday 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.
La Nochevieja — New Year’s Eve
This literally means “old night.”
Un Año Nuevo — New Year
El Día de Año Nuevo — New Year’s Day
La Noche de Reyes — Night of Kings
The name of this holiday refers to the Three Kings most Americans are familiar with.
It occurs on the night of January 5th into the morning of the 6th.
Most gifts are traditionally delivered by the Three Kings during this night. On Christmas, the children just receive small gifts.
El Día de Reyes — Day of Kings
You might also hear this day be called “Epiphany” or “Three Kings’ Day.” This is the proverbial “12th day of Christmas” on January 6th and is celebrated with food and gifts.
Las Vacaciones de Navidad — Christmas break
Important Christmas Figures in Spanish
El Niño Jesús — Baby Jesus
La Virgen María y José — Virgin Mary and Joseph
Los Reyes Magos — Three Wise Men
Papá Noel — Father Christmas
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.
Christmas Decorations in Spanish
El árbol de Navidad — Christmas tree
El calcetín — Stocking
Las luces Navideñas — Christmas lights
El hombre de nieve — Snowman
La corona de Navidad — Christmas wreath
La flor de Navidad / La flor de Nochebuena — Poinsettia
This one literally means “Christmas flower” or “Christmas Eve flower” respectively.
Los adornos — Decorations, ornaments
El espumillón — Tinsel
El muérdago — Mistletoe
El acebo — Holly
Holiday Foods in Spanish
La comida del día de Navidad — Christmas dinner
Even though it literally means “food of Christmas Day,” this phrase refers to Christmas dinner.
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.
El tronco de Navidad — Yule log
This is a rolled cake decorated to look like a log. Because, you know, nothing is more festive than eating a log.
El pastel de Navidad — Christmas cake
Traditionally, these feature various dried fruits. Unlike American-style fruitcakes, though, they often feature almond paste and icing.
Los polvorones — Mexican wedding cookies
These buttery, crumbly cookies are chock full of chopped walnuts and joy. Plus, they’re usually dusted in powdered sugar, making them look like tasty little snowballs.
El mazapán — Marzipan
This treat is a sweetened almond paste. It’s a particularly common holiday treat in Spain.
El turrón — Nougat
This treat can be flavored with any number of things including nuts, seeds, chocolate or spices. Seasonings vary regionally.
Las mantecados — Shortbread with nuts
Vegetarians, be warned: This traditionally contains lard.
La rosca de Reyes — Ring of Kings
This oval pastry is 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.
Whoever finds the hidden object is traditionally expected to pay for a party.
Festive Things in Spanish
La tarjeta de Navidad — Christmas card
El regalo — Present
El nacimiento — Nativity scene
El villancico — Christmas carol
El espíritu navideño — Christmas spirit
El trineo — Sleigh
Las cascabeles — Bells
Los renos — Reindeer
El calendario de adviento — Advent calendar
Spanish Christmas Vocabulary Resources
Luckily, everyone loves fun, festive things, so there are plenty of tools out there to help you on your walk through this winter wonderland.
- Bilingual Beginnings offers a cute, illustrated Christmas Bingo card in Spanish that can be played with the family or with fellow learners.
- Quizlet offers tons of vocabulary lists to help you practice your favorite holiday words.
- FluentU offers fun Spanish videos with native speakers and interactive subtitles to help you see how Spanish Christmas vocabulary is used in context.
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!