Italian Word of the Day: Albero di Natale (Christmas tree)

Today’s word of the day is part of our Italian Christmas Word Advent Calendar series. Each day throughout December, we’ll post a word that is related to the holiday season. Enjoy!

It’s officially December 1st, and you know what that means – we can finally put up our Christmas trees without feeling as if we’re jumping the gun!

The word for Christmas tree in Italian is albero di Natale (masculine, plural: alberi di Natale). Albero is the word for tree while Natale is the word for Christmas.

/ˈal.be.ro di naˈta.le/

Ho tanti addobbi per l’albero di Natale.

I have lots of decorations for the Christmas tree.


The albero di Natale is as much a part of the Italian Christmas tradition as it is in English speaking countries such as America and England. Usually a fir (abete) or an evergreen (sempreverde), they are decorated with small coloured objects (oggetti colorati), lights (luci), sweets (caramelle), and small wrapped gifts (regali). Although many people still enjoy the tradition of buying a real albero, reusable plastic ones are also very popular these days.

Christmas tree

The way Italians say to put up / decorate the Christmas tree in Italian is fare l’albero di Natale, or literally, to do/make a Christmas tree. To take down the tree would be disfare l’albero (to undo/dismantle the tree). Italians often shorten the word to just albero if they are talking within the context of Christmas.

Quando fate l’albero di Natale quest’anno?

When are you guys putting up the Christmas tree this year?


O Christmas Tree in Italian (Lyrics + Translation)

The traditional Christmas song O Christmas Tree (originally O Tannenbaum in German) has been translated into many different Italian versions over the years. Two of the most well-known are L’Albero di Natale and L’Abete di Natale.

L’Albero di Natale was written in the 1970s and first sung by Piccolo Coro dell’Antoniano.


S’accendono e brillano
gli alberi di Natale.
S’accendono e radunano
grandi e piccini intorno.
I rami si trasformano
con bacche rosse e fili d’or.
Risplendono e sfavillano
gli alberi di Natale.

Fra i canti degli arcangeli
ritorna il bambinello,
riposa nel presepio e
lo scalda l’asinello.
I rami verdi toccano
la capannina di carton
e l’albero illumina
la culla del Signore.

S’innalzano, risuonano
i canti di Natale,
ricordano agli uomini
giustizia, pace e amore.
La loro dolce musica
giunge fra tutti i popoli.
Ripete ancor agli uomini:
giustizia, pace, amore.

They light up and shine
the Christmas trees.
They light up and gather
adults and children around them.
The branches are transformed
with red berries and golden threads
They shine and sparkle
the Christmas trees.

Among the songs of the archangels
the little boy returns,
rests in the crib and
the donkey warms him.
Green branches touch
the carton shed
and the tree lights up
the cradle of the Lord.

They rise, resound
the Christmas carols,
reminding men
of justice, peace and love.
Their sweet music
reaches all peoples.
He repeats again to the men:
justice, peace, love.


Christmas tree outside in a pot

L’Abete di Natale is another very popular cover. It translates as The Christmas Fir rather than The Christmas Tree.


Nel buio tu risplendi a noi,
abete di Natale.
Sui rami tuoi scintillano
le luci colorate.
Dei bimbi gli occhi brillano
di Dio le luci vedono.
Accanto ad un presepe c’è
l’abete di Natale.

Ricordi a tutti gli uomini
i doni che i pastori
portarono al bambin Gesù
la notte di Natale.
Col cuore pien di giubilo
li misero sui rami tuoi:
per questo festeggiamo te,
abete di Natale.

Abete che ricordi a noi
la notte di Natale,
nel gelo dell’inverno sei
un segno di speranza.
All’uom di buona volontà
la strada tu ricorderai
che porta dritta, come te,
al cielo del Signore.

In the dark you shine for us, Christmas fir.
On your branches the coloured lights sparkle.
The children’s eyes shine They see God’s lights.
Next to a crib there is the Christmas fir tree.

Remind all men of
the gifts that the shepherds
brought to the child Jesus
on Christmas night.
With a heart full of joy
they put them on your branches:
for this we celebrate you,
Christmas fir.

Fir you remind us of
Christmas night,
in the cold of winter
you are a sign of hope.
Goodwill to men
the road you will remember
that leads straight, like you,
to the Lord’s heaven.


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