47 Spanish Christmas Vocabulary Words and Phrases

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 watch holiday-themed movies, 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

Feliz Navidad — Merry Christmas (literally: “Happy Christmas”)

Felices Fiestas — Happy Holidays

Próspero Año Nuevo — Happy New Year (literally: “Prosperous New Year”)

For more holiday greetings in Spanish, check out this post:

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

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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.

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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.”

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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

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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. 

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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!

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