Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, if you’re struggling with the lingo, we’ve got a cure for that.

Consider this your Spanish Christmas 101, the basic vocabulary, idioms, expressions and greetings that will help you get through the holiday season like a local. Plus a few more adventurous greetings for those wanting to move past the standard ‘Feliz Navidad’ – go on, you know you are ready.


El Gordo: Christmas lottery which takes place on 22nd December.

Nochebuena: Christmas Eve

Día de navidad: Christmas Day

Día de los Santos Inocentes: 28th December (similar to April Fool’s Day)

Nochevieja: New Year’s Eve

Año Nuevo: New Year

Día de año nuevo: New Year’s Day

Noche de Reyes: Twelfth Night (5th January)

Día de Reyes: 6th January

Christmas Gifts & Decorations

Papá Noel: Father Christmas, Santa Claus

Espíritu navideño: Christmas spirit

Trineo: Sleigh

Cascabeles: Bells, often used to refer to sleigh bells.

Renos: Reindeer

Calendario de adviento: Advent calendar

Regalo de navidad: Christmas present

Tarjeta de Navidad: Christmas card

Árbol de navidad: Christmas tree

Adornos de Navidad: Christmas decorations

Espumillón: tinsel

Adorno (del árbol de navidad): bauble

Calcetín: Stocking

Luces navideñas: Christmas lights

Hombre de nieve: Snowman

Corona de Navidad: Christmas wreath

Muérdago: Mistletoe

Acebo: Holly

Flor de Pascua, Pascuelo: Poinsettia

Religious Christmas Vocabulary

Niño Jesús: Baby Jesus

Virgen María y José:  Virgin Mary and Joseph.

Reyes Magos: Magi Kings. It refers to the “Three Magi,” “Three Kings” or, as they’re known in English, the “Three Wise Men.”

Villancico: Christmas carol

El belén: Nativity scene

Oro, incienso y mirra: gold, frankincense and myrrh

La cabalgata: A Christmas parade during the Twelfth Night, where the Three Wise Men give sweets and presents to children.

Misa del Gallo: Midnight Mass, or literally “Rooster’s Mass.”

Christmas Expressions & Greetings

Feliz Navidad: Merry Christmas!

Próspero Año Nuevo: Happy New Year!

¡Felices Fiestas/Pascuas!: Season’s Greetings

For those wishing to go beyond the basics …

… website have kindly provided some more ambitious but heartfelt alternatives.

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.

Mucho cariño para ti y tu familia esta Navidad: Lots of love to you and your family this Christmas.

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.

Que se cumplan tus deseos estas fiestas/esta Navidad/en el Año Nuevo: I hope your dreams come true for the holidays/Christmas/the new year.

And for those wanting to add some spiritual meaning to their greetings …

Que Dios te bendiga este Año Nuevo: God bless you 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.

And if you want to go for a less formal greeting, these might fit the bill.

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.