A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (2023)

Celebrate Christmas and learn Spanish at the same time?
No problem!
Get ready for your Christmas party with this quick guide to Christmas in Spanish-speaking countries and our list of the top 10+ words you can't live without.

A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (1)

How do you say "Christmas" in Spanish?

The word for Christmas in Spanish is "Christmas". The word for Christmas Eve would be "christmas eve', which literally means 'good night'.

To wish someone a Merry Christmas, use "¡Merry Christmas!". If you want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year at the same time, use "¡Nice holidays!". It literally means "happy parties"! These phrases apply to every Spanish-speaking country, so they'll be understood in both Spain and Latin America.

Keep in mind that in some cases local languages ​​can also be used to wish someone a Merry Christmas. For example, in certain regions of Spain, the Catalan "Merry Christmas", the Galician"Because still"or the Basque"Merry Christmas". In Mexico you could hear the Nahuatl"Cualli netlācatilizpan"or the Maya"Ki'imak Navidad". Paraguay would also use its very own language alongside Spanish, Guarani, to wish youFröhliches Arareñoire"!

A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (2)

How is Christmas celebrated in Spanish-speaking countries?

Christianity is deeply rooted in both Spanish and Latin American cultures. Even families or individuals who do not practice the religion tend to get together and enjoy the occasion. It is therefore not surprising that Christmas is also celebratedPassion, dedication and lots of funActivities for children and adults!

Spanish-speaking countries typically celebrate in ways that might be expected at Christmas: by putting up a decorated tree, exchanging cards and gifts, attending mass in the church, and eating a variety of delicious foods, from hearty meals to decadent desserts. Generally families get together on December 24th for a family dinner and then again on December 25th for an epic lunch!

But what changes from country to country?


Are you a real Christmas freak? Don't like to wait until the end of the month to celebrate? You might want to spend itVenezuela...where local festivals and gatherings take place in the first days of December! Or what aboutMexico, where Christmas is celebrated from December 12th to January 6th?

You might even be surprised that not every Spanish speaking country exchanges gifts on the same day. In Venezuela, Mexico or Guatemala, the main gifts are opened at midnight on Christmas Eve. InSpainAndBolivia, but most children will hang their stocking under the tree on January 5th and open their presents on January 6th!

Additionally, in some autonomous regions of Spain, such as Catalonia, Christmas celebrations could extend into December 26, when Saint Stephen's Day is celebrated and families gather again to eat together. In Spain, Mexico andColombia, December 28 (Day of the Innocents, "Day of the Innocent") is an extension of the Christmas festivities as people celebrate jokes, fun and pranks - think of it as an April Fool's joke!

The weather.

The vast majority of Spanish-speaking countries do not associate Christmas with a warm cup of hot chocolate, a cozy fireplace, warm scarves or snow. In fact, most Latin Americans would probably associate Christmas with starry nights, warm temperatures, blooming flowers and outdoor activitiesRoller skating in VenezuelaToPosadaProcessions in Mexico!

Surprised? In Paraguay, temperatures can reach 40 degrees around Christmas timeChileor Costa Rica Christmas could be celebrated by going to the beach!

To eat and drink.

Argentinacelebrates Christmas with dishes such asthe wind is falling(veal escalope served with a special cream), different types of sandwiches, a barbecue or stuffed tomatoes and salads to suit the warm Christmas weather. In Bolivia there is no Christmas withoutchristmas prod, a slow-cooked soup/stew with multiple meats, beer, wine, potatoes and corn! A Christmas without in ChileOsterbrot(traditional cake) andmonkey tail(a drink made with aguardiente, coffee, cinnamon and milk) would feel incomplete! Spanish-speaking cultures promise truly delicious dishes on Christmas Day, and you canFang hier anif you want to discover culinary differences.

Christmas decorations and symbols.

Red and whiteChristmas starFlowers bloom? You're probably in Central America celebrating Christmas! Ornatepinatas? Definitely Mexico!Christmas bonus, parrandasAndProgress? Venezuela! Fireworks and a toast? Why wait for New Year's Eve when you can do it in Uruguay?
In Costa Rica, people pride themselves on decorating their homes with their own tropical flowerssmall step(crib) and even fruit. It's really wonderful to discover different Christmas traditions in Latin America!

To the right. Now that you're starting to get the hang of how Christmas happens in Spanish-speaking countries, it's time to actually start speaking the language! Let's learn 10 essential Spanish words for Christmas to impress your friends, family, significant other or even your teacher!

A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (3)

1. Santa Claus

Meaning:"Santa Claus"

The image of Santa Claus is popular around the world, but his name changes as one moves from country to country, even within the Spanish-speaking world. However,Santa Clauscommonly used to refer to Santa Claus in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Spain and Uruguay.

Here are some differences you might expect: Presents are brought in Venezuela and HondurasSt. Nicholasorbaby jesus(Child Jesus -pay attention to the pronunciationof this name!). In Chile, most children expect Christmas presents fromSanta Claus! In Costa Rica, Santa Claus is popularly referred to asColacho(as well asSt. Nicholas) ButGottkind(Baby God) can also be responsible for bringing you a gift.

A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (4)

2. Gift(s)

Meaning:"the gifts)"

The word is used in SpanishGiftfor every gift you receive, whether it's Christmas or not. Frequently requestedGiftscould bevideo game(video games),Clothing(Clothing),a new mobile phone(a new mobile phone) ordolls(dolls)!

A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (5)

3. Engel


On your Christmas tree, in church or as your personal companion,Engel(Angels) are some of the most important symbols of Christmas, especially considering that all Spanish speaking countries incorporate Christian culture into their festivals and gatherings. This time you will know how to relate to this very important character! Quick pronunciation tip: Don't forget that the"g" in Spanish is different from your typical English "g".

A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (6)

4. Christmas card

Meaning:"Christmas Card"

Next time you want to impress your Spanish speaking family member, friend, partner or teacher, send them an emailchristmas cardwith kind holiday greetings, as we taught you at the beginning of this article: "Merry Christmas" or "Nice holidays"!

A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (7)

5. Christmas tree

Meaning:"Christmas tree"

No matter where you go, the Christmas tree is amust. You might want to decorate yours with itcolored balls(bauble ornaments),Sterne(Sterne),ties(bands) orgarlands(garlands)!

A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (8)

6. Snow / Beach

Meaning:"Snow" / "Beach"

If you're celebrating Christmas in Spain - and especially in Madrid, the capital - you're likely to experience that freezing breeze or maybe even a snowy evening! For this reason, it is helpful to know the word nieve. For example, you could say "¡i love the snow!" (I love snow!).

A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (9)

7. Nativity

Meaning:"Christmas crib"

One of the most iconic forms of celebration is thecrib(Crib), also known in Costa Rica assmall steporPortal. The variety ofcribsin the Spanish-speaking world is inspiring. Most of the figures are made of clay, but it's the details, the variety of colors and fabrics used to customize the figures that really make the difference.guatemaltekischcribs(also known asbirths) are very popular because of their detailed figures with a very colorful touch!

A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (10)

8. misa


Misais the Spanish word for "mass" when people gather in the church to pray together. Midnight Mass -midnight fair("Cock Mass") - is always celebrated around midnight on Christmas Eve. Practitioner families choose to attend in person to hear Mass together, followed by a delicious dinner that could last all night!

A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (11)

9. the magicians

Meaning:"Three Wise Men / The Three Kings"

Santa doesn't bring you presents in Spain -the three wise menDo. That is, the Three Kings. Melchor, Gaspar, and Balasar are said to visit children on January 6, Epiphany, to give gifts (or, as you know them by now,Gifts!).

A Beginner's Guide to Christmas in Spanish (12)

10. cena


This list would not be complete without a reference to the most important Christmas dinner - the dinner that takes place on Christmas Eve when family members and loved ones gather to enjoy a variety of homemade dishes and desserts. This meal is known aschristmas dinnerorchristmas dinner(Christmas dinner). Bonus: You can also just type the word "cena" refers to any dinner (not necessarily a Christmas dinner) and the word "have dinner' like the verb 'eat dinner'!

Ready for more?

At Speechling we keep you up to date on the Spanish language, different cultures of the Spanish speaking world and the best resources for learning Spanish. If you can't get enough, read more aboutday of the Dead,The best Spanish movies from Netflixto learn the language orthese words in Spanishwhich have no direct English translation!

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