Christmas Vocabulary

Here are typical words and expressions that people use when talking about or at Christmas.

Christmas expressions

advent the arrival of someone or something important
Advent the coming (or second coming) of Jesus Christ; the month leading up to Christmas
angel a spiritual being acting as a messenger of God (usually shown as a human being with wings)
berry a small round fruit
Bethlehem the small town in the Middle East believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ
candle a cylinder of wax with a central wick (like string) which burns to produce light
chimney a vertical pipe in a house that allows smoke and gases to escape from a fireplace (Father Christmas traditionally enters a house through its chimney)
Christ the title of Jesus (also used as His name)
Christian a person who believes in Christianity; also an adjective
Christianity the religion based on the teachings and person of Jesus Christ
Christmas the annual Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ (Christmas Day is on 25 December)
Christmas cake a rich fruit cake covered with white icing, eaten at Christmas
Christmas card a greetings card that people send to friends and family at Christmas
Christmas carol a religious song or popular hymn that people sing at Christmas
Christmas Day 25 December, the birthday of Jesus Christ
Christmas Eve the evening or day before Christmas Day (24 December)
Christmas holidays the holiday period for about a week before and after Christmas Day
Christmas present a gift or present given at Christmas
Christmas tree an evergreen tree (often a spruce) that people decorate with lights and ornaments at Christmas
cracker a decorated paper tube that makes a sharp noise ("crack!") and releases a small toy when two people pull it apart
decoration something that adds beauty; ornament
egg-nog a traditional Christmas drink made of alcohol with beaten eggs and milk
Father Christmas an imaginary being who brings presents for children on the night before Christmas Day (also known as Santa Claus) - traditionally an old man with a red suit and white beard
fireplace a partly enclosed space in a house where people light a fire for warmth
frankincense a gum used for incense, one of the gifts that the three wise men gave to Jesus
gold a yellow precious metal, one of the gifts that the three wise men gave to Jesus
holly an evergreen plant with prickly dark green leaves and red berries
Jesus the name of Christ, the central figure of Christianity (believed by Christians to be the Son of God)
Joseph the husband of Mary (the mother of Jesus)
magi the wise men from the East who brought gifts for the baby Jesus
manger a trough for food for horses or cattle (used by Mary as a cradle or bed for Jesus)
Mary the mother of Jesus
mistletoe a parasitic plant with white berries, traditionally used as a Christmas decoration
myrrh a gum used for perfume or incense, one of the gifts that the three wise men gave to Jesus
nativity the birth of a person
the Nativity the birth of Jesus Christ
nativity play a play that people perform at Christmas based on the birth of Jesus
new year the start of a year; the period just before and after 1 January
New Year's Day 1 January
New Year's Eve 31 December
ornament an object that adds beauty to something; a decoration
present a thing given to somebody as a gift.
reindeer a deer with large antlers found in some cold climates (believed to pull the sleigh for Santa Claus or Father Christmas)
Santa Claus an imaginary being who brings presents for children on the night before Christmas Day (also known as Father Christmas) - traditionally an old man with a red suit and white beard (Santa Claus may be based in part on the historical figure of Saint Nicholas.)
shepherd a person who looks after sheep
sleigh a sledge or light cart on runners pulled by horses or reindeer over snow and ice
snow water vapour from the sky that falls as white flakes and covers the ground
star a bright point in the night sky which is a large, distant incandescent body like the sun
the star of Bethlehem the star that announced the birth of Jesus and guided the wise men to find Him
tinsel a decoration consisting of thin strips of shiny metal foil, traditionally used at Christmas
turkey a bird like a large chicken, traditionally eaten at Christmas
white Christmas a Christmas with snow on the ground
Xmas abbreviation or informal term for Christmas