The air is getting colder, the streets are filled with colourful lights, the trees are covered in beautiful decorations: that’s right, Christmas is just around the corner!
In Italy, Christmas is everyone’s favourite time of year. Children, in particular, spend Christmas Eve anxiously waiting for Santa Claus, the jolly fellow who has spent the entire year preparing gifts that he will deliver to all the good boys and girls around the world.
It’s a story we’ve all heard or told at some point in our lives…but what if you had to tell it in Italian? No doubt it would all go smoothly until you happened upon a word you don’t know or can’t remember!
To help you talk about the holiday season in Italian and increase your vocabulary, we have decided to share the most common Italian Christmas words in this article. Let us know which ones are new to you in the comment section below!
Italian Christmas Words – People
L’Arcangelo Gabriele – The Archangel Gabriel
Gesù Bambino – Baby Jesus
Gesù Cristo – Jesus Christ
Giuseppe – Joseph
I Tre Re Magi – the Three Kings
La Madonna – the Madonna
Maria – Mary
San Nicola – Saint Nicholas
Santa Lucia – Saint Lucy
Santo Stefano – Saint Stephen
Il Signore – The Lord
Italian Christmas Vocabulary – Nouns
Gli addobbi – Decorations
L’agrifoglio – Holly
L’Annunciazione – Annunciation
Il bastoncino di zucchero – Candy cane
Il bicchiere di spumante – A glass of sparkling wine
Il bue e l’asinello – The ox and donkey
La calza – Stocking
Il caminetto – Fireplace
Il canto natalizio – Christmas carol
La carta da regalo – Wrapping paper
La castagna – Chestnut
Il cenone – Christmas dinner
Il cenone di Capodanno – New Year’s dinner
Il coro natalizio – Christmas carollers
La caldarrosta – Roasted chestnut
La chiesa – The Church
La culla – Cradle
L’edera – Ivy
La frutta secca – Dried fruit
Il giocattolo – Toy
Le luci di Natale – Christmas lights
Il mercatino di Natale – Christmas market
La messa di mezzanotte = Midnight mass
Il nastro – Ribbon
Il pandoro = Italian Christmas cake
Pandoro is a traditional Italian sweet bread dusted with vanilla-scented icing sugar. It is shaped like a frustum with an eight-pointed star section.
Il panettone = Italian Christmas cake
Panettone is an Italian type of sweet bread originally from Milan. It contains candied orange, citron, lemon zest, and dry raisins.
Il pastore – Shepherd
Il pranzo di Natale – Christmas lunch
La preghiera – Prayer
Il presepe vivente – Living nativity scene
Il puntale – Tree topper
Il pupazzo di neve – Snowman
La stalla – Stable
La stella cometa – Shooting star
Il torrone = Nougat
Il vin brulé – Mulled wine
Il vischio – Mistletoe
Italian Christmas Words – Important Holidays
Il Giorno di Natale – Christmas Day
l’Immacolata Concezione – Immaculate Conception
La Vigilia di Capodanno – New Year’s Eve
Italian Christmas Words – Important Verbs
Addobbare – to decorate
Aspettare – to wait
Brindare – to toast
Cantare – to sing
Decorare – to decorate
Pregare – to pray
Italian Christmas Phrases – Important Greetings
Auguri! = Best wishes!
(a catch-all phrase used as a substitute for “Buon Natale!”)
Buone Feste! = Happy holidays!
Felice Anno Nuovo! = Happy New Year!
Heather Broster is a graduate with honours in linguistics from the University of Western Ontario. She is an aspiring polyglot, proficient in English and Italian, as well as Japanese, Welsh, and French to varying degrees of fluency. Originally from Toronto, Heather has resided in various countries, notably Italy for a period of six years. Her primary focus lies in the fields of language acquisition, education, and bilingual instruction.