Christmas vocabulary and traditions from around the world



Christmas vocabulary and traditions from around the world


Are you interested in knowing what essential Christmas symbols are called in other languages? Find out below and read some interesting traditions which take place around the world.


Christmas traditions around the world


United Kingdom

Kids believe that Santa Claus leaves gifts in stockings or pillow cases. They sometimes leave brandy and mince pies for Santa Claus when he comes to deliver gifts. Fruit cake is a popular Christmas dessert, it’s very rich, contains fruits and is covered in marzipan and icing.


United States of America

People in USA like to abundantly decorate the outside of their houses with lights in various colours, Christmas figures or even whole holiday themed scenes. Sometimes popcorn strings are used to trim the Christmas tree.



Advent is a big part of Christmas celebrations in Germany. Different forms of Advent calendars are used, such as ones made from cardboard or fir branches with little gifts attached to it. The country is famous for its Christmas markets, where you can buy delicacies and ornaments.



It is common that the advent time is a time of fasting. People usually give up their favorite foods, sweets or alcohol. Christmas Eve is a very important day of celebrations, when Christmas Eve supper takes place.  Traditionally there are twelve dishes, which symbolize the 12 apostles.



The nativity crib scene is a very important element of celebrating Christmas in Italy. Traditionally people put cribs out in their homes on the 8th of December, but baby Jesus is put into the crib on the evening of Christmas Eve.



After the popular midnight mass on Christmas Eve people walk through the streets playing instruments such as drums, guitars and tambourines and carrying torches or lights. December 28th is the Day of Innocent Saints, which is very much like April Fool’s day.



Some people say that gifts are brought by Baby Jesus rather than Santa Claus. Presents are left under the Christmas tree or in shoes. Christmas presents are opened after Christmas Eve Mass or on the morning of Christmas Day.


Christmas vocabulary from around the world


English: Santa Claus

German: Weihnachtsmann

Polish: Św. Mikołaj

Italian: Babbo Natale

Spanish: Papá Noel

French: Père Noël

Portuguese: Papai Noel









English: Gift

German: Geschenk

Polish: Prezent

Italian: Dono

Spanish: Regalo

French: Cadeau

Portuguese: Presente








English: Christmas tree

German: Tannenbaum

Polish: Choinka

Italian: Albero di Natale

Spanish: Árbol de Navidad

French: Sapin de Noël

Portuguese: Árvore de Natal








English: Star

German: Stern

Polish: Gwiazda

Italian: Stella

Spanish: Estrella

French: Étoile

Portuguese: Estrela






English: Bell

German: Glocke

Polish: Dzwonek

Italian: Campana

Spanish: Campana

French: Cloche

Portuguese: Sino









English: Snowman

German: Schneemann

Polish: Bałwan

Italian: Pupazzo di neve

Spanish: Muñeco de nieve

French: Bonhomme de neige

Portuguese: Boneco de neve




Find out how Christmas is celebrated in different countries and cultures all around the world!

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