ESL Christmas Vocabulary

In many English speaking countries Christmas is important, and this ESL Christmas vocabulary page has a list of all the words you will need to understand Christmas and to talk about it. If you want to participate fully in Christmas you will need to know the vocabulary so you can understand what everyone is planning to do.

This ESL Christmas vocabulary page has all the words you need to know to understand Christmas.

The first and main part of this page is a vocabulary list. The list has lots of Christmas words and their definitions so you can understand what they mean. The part of speech for each word is also listed so you can see how to use them. Following the vocabulary list there is a set of flashcards for the ESL Christmas vocabulary. You can download these and use them anywhere. Then finally there is a recording of the vocabulary being spoken by a native English speaker so you can hear the correct pronunciation.

The final part of the ESL Christmas vocabulary page has three exercises for you to do so you can practice using the vocabulary. They are as follows:

  • Identify the correct definition of a word.
  • Identify the correct word that matches a definition.
  • Identify the correct word that matches a picture.

ESL Christmas Vocabulary List with Definitions

This section has the ESL Christmas vocabulary list. This is important for you to use to help you improve your vocabulary. Each of the words is defined so you can see the meaning. Following the ESL Christmas vocabulary list there is a set of flashcards with all the words and definitions on, as well as many pictures to show the meanings. Then there is a section with the recordings of the vocabulary being spoken by a native English speaker. 

Advent: The coming of Jesus Christ; the month leading up to Christmas. (noun)
Angel: A spiritual being who is believed to be a servant of God, usually represented as a human dressed in white with wings. (noun)
Antler: The horn that grows on the head of male deer. (noun)
Bauble: A shiny small ball that is used to decorate a Christmas tree. (noun)
Bethlehem: A town near Jerusalem, the birthplace of Jesus. (noun)
Candle: A stick of wax with a string in the middle that gives light as it burns. (noun)
Candy cane: A hard red and white candy shaped like a cane (walking stick). (noun) 
Carol: A traditional religious song. (noun) 
Chimney: A part of the house structure that allows smoke from the fireplace to come out of the house; the place where Santa Claus comes to fill stockings with gifts for children. (noun)
Christ: A short name for Jesus Christ. (noun)
Christian: A person who believes in Christianity (noun), or related to Christianity. (adjective)
Christianity: The religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. (noun)
Christmas: The period around 25 December, when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. (noun)
Christmas cake: A fruit cake that people eat at Christmas. (noun)
Christmas card: A decorated card that people send to friends and relatives at Christmas. (noun)
Christmas carol: A popular religious song that people sing at Christmas. (noun)
Christmas Day: The day when Christians celebrate the birth of Christ, which falls on 25 December. (noun)
Christmas Eve: The evening before Christmas Day. (noun)
Christmas holidays: The holiday period for about a week before and after Christmas Day. (noun)
Christmas present: A gift or present given on Christmas Day. (noun)
Christmas stocking: A large long sock that is hung on Christmas Eve so that it can be filled with gifts. (noun)
Christmas tree: An evergreen tree that is decorated and put in the house during Christmas. (noun)
Cracker: A paper tube that is covered with bright paper and makes a short sharp sound when both ends are pulled. (noun)
Curling ribbon: The ribbon that has been formed into a curving shape, used as Christmas decoration. (noun)
Egg-nog: A traditional Christmas drink made of alcohol with beaten eggs and milk. (noun)
Elves: Small creatures with pointed ears that live with Santa Claus and act as his helpers. (noun)
Evergreen: A tree that does not lose its leaves in winter. (noun)
Father Christmas: The imaginary old man who wears red clothes and is said to bring presents to children at Christmas Eve (same as Santa Claus) (British English). (noun) 
Festive: Looking or feeling happy and enjoyable that seems suitable for celebrating something. (adjective)
Fireplace: A space in the wall or a room, where you can make a fire. (noun)
Garland: A circle made of flowers and leaves that is usually used as a Christmas decoration. (noun)
Gingerbread:  A sweet brown cake that contains ginger. (noun)
Gingerbread man: A piece of gingerbread in the shape of a man. (noun)
Happy Christmas: A greeting said at Christmas to wish people a pleasant Christmas period (same as Merry Christmas). (noun)
Holly: An evergreen plant with prickly dark green leaves and red berries. (noun)
Illuminations: Outdoor colored decorative lights that are used to decorate a town or building to celebrate Christmas. (noun)
Jack Frost: A way of describing frost, very cold weather, as a person. (noun)
Jesus Christ: The man who is believed to be and  worshipped as the son of God by Christians. (noun)
Jingle bells: The title and first words of a popular Christmas song. (noun)
Joseph: The husband of Mary, who was Jesus’ mother. (noun)
Lapland: A region in Finland, which is believed to be the origin of Father Christmas. (noun)
Magi: The wise men from the east who brought gifts for the baby Jesus. (noun)
Manger: A trough for food for horses or cattle, used by Mary as a cradle or bed for Jesus. (noun)
Mary: The mother of Jesus. (noun)
Merry Christmas: A greeting said at Christmas to wish people a pleasant Christmas period (same as Happy Christmas). (noun)
Midnight mass: A Christian religious service held around midnight on Christmas Eve. (noun)
Mince pie: A pie that is filled with mincemeat (a mixture of apple, dried fruit, and nuts), often eaten at Christmas. (noun)
Mistletoe: An evergreen plant with white fruits and pale yellow flowers, used as a Christmas decoration. (noun)
Mitten: A type of glove with a single part for all the four fingers and a separate part for the thumb. (noun)
Mulled wine: Wine heated with sugar and spices, a traditional winter drink in some countries. (noun)
Nativity: The birth of Jesus. (noun)
Nativity play: A play that tells the story about the birth of Jesus Christ, usually performed by children. (noun)
Noel: A Christmas carol. (noun)
Nutcracker: A popular ballet that is usually performed at Christmas. (noun)
Ornament: An object made of glass, metal, wood or ceramics that is used to decorate a Christmas tree. (noun)
Pine cone: The hard, egg-shaped part of the pine tree that is often used as a Christmas ornament. (noun)
Poinsettia: A tropical plant which has large red leaves, usually used as a Christmas decoration. (noun)
Reindeer: A deer with large antlers found in some cold climates, which is believed to pull the sleigh for Santa Claus. (noun)
Rejoice: To feel happy or show happiness. (verb)
Ritual: A ceremony that is performed regularly in the same way, in order to mark an important religious or social event. (noun)
Rudolph: The red-nosed reindeer that Santa chooses to pull his sleigh on Christmas Eve. (noun)
Santa Claus: The imaginary old man who wears red clothes and is said to bring presents to children at Christmas Eve (same as Father Christmas (American English). (noun)
Santa’s grotto: A small place where children can receive presents from a person dressed as Santa Claus. (noun)
Season’s greetings: Something written on a card as a greeting during Christmas celebrations. (noun)
Shepherd: A person who takes care of sheep and moves them from one place to another. (noun)
Sleigh: An open vehicle with no wheels that is used for traveling over snow and is pulled by animals. (noun)
Snow: The soft white pieces of ice that fall from the sky in cold weather. (noun)
Snowflakes: A flat piece of frozen water that falls as snow, represented as six-sided crystals on Christmas cards and decorations. (noun)
Snowman: A figure like a man that is made of snow. (noun)
Spruce: An evergreen forest tree with short leaves that are shaped like needles. (noun)
Silent night: A well-known Christmas traditional religious song. (noun)
Saint Nickolas: The origin of the imaginary Father Christmas. (noun)
Star: A symbol with four or more points, which represents the way a star looks in the sky. (noun)
Stocking filler: A small cheap Christmas present. (noun)
The star of Bethlehem: The star which appeared in the sky when Jesus Christ was born, according to the Bible. (noun)
Tidings: An old word for news. (noun)
Tinsel: Long strips of shiny paper used as Christmas decoration. (noun)
Turkey: A large bird that is often cooked and eaten at Christmas. (noun) 
Vigil: A period of time to stay in a place and quietly pray, especially at night. (noun)
Wassail: To enjoy yourself eating and drinking at Christmas; to go from house to house singing Christmas carols. (verb)
White Christmas: A Christmas during which there is snow on the ground. (noun)
Wreath: An arrangement of flowers and leaves in the shape of a circle that people usually hang on the door as a Christmas decoration. (noun)
Xmas: A short form or informal term for Christmas. (noun)
Yule: An old word for Christmas. (noun)
Yuletide: The period of time around Christmas. (noun) 
Yule log: A chocolate cake shaped like a log (thick piece of wood) and eaten at Christmas. (noun)

Vocabulary Flashcards for Christmas Words

The following flashcards can be downloaded by either clicking on the picture or the following link. They have all the ESL Christmas vocabulary on them so you can use them whenever you have some free time.

ESL Christmas vocabulary flashcards

Spoken Christmas Vocabulary

This part has two recordings of the ESL Christmas vocabulary. In both of them the vocabulary is spoken by a native English speaker. The first is a recoding just for you to listen to, while in the second you can watch a video of the flashcards being shown at the same time as listening to the correct pronunciation. You should listen several times to really get the correct way to say the words.





ESL Christmas Vocabulary Exercises

Exercise 1 – Correct Definition

For this ESL Christmas vocabulary task you have to look at the word given each question and decide which option (A-D) is the correct definition. At the end you can use the get score button to see how many you got correct.

ESL Christmas Vocabulary Definitions


Choose the correct definition for the Christmas vocabulary in this quiz.

1) What is the definition of Candy cane?
        A) A hard red and white candy shaped like a cane (walking stick).
        B) A popular religious song that people sing at Christmas.
        C) A traditional religious song.
        D) The coming of Jesus Christ; the month leading up to Christmas.
2) What is the definition of Elves?
        A) A gift or present given on Christmas Day.
        B) The ribbon that has been formed into a curving shape, used as Christmas decoration.
        C) A space in the wall or a room, where you can make a fire.
        D) Small creatures with pointed ears that live with Santa Claus and act as his helpers.
3) What is the definition of Manger?
        A) A piece of gingerbread in the shape of a man.
        B) A trough for food for horses or cattle, used by Mary as a cradle or bed for Jesus.
        C) A Christian religious service held around midnight on Christmas Eve.
        D) A way of describing frost, very cold weather, as a person.
4) What is the definition of Ornament?
        A) Wine heated with sugar and spices, a traditional winter drink in some countries.
        B) A ceremony that is performed regularly in the same way, in order to mark an important religious or social event.
        C) A tropical plant which has large red leaves, usually used as a Christmas decoration.
        D) An object made of glass, metal, wood or ceramics that is used to decorate a Christmas tree.
5) What is the definition of Snowman?
        A) A small cheap Christmas present.
        B) A person who takes care of sheep and moves them from one place to another.
        C) A figure like a man that is made of snow.
        D) A small place where children can receive presents from a person dressed as Santa Claus.

Score =

Correct answers:

Exercise 2 – Correct Meaning

In this next ESL Christmas vocabulary activity you are given a definition in each question and need to decide which of the words (A-D) is the correct one to go with it. Then again you can get your score by using the get score button.

ESL Christmas Vocabulary Identification of Meaning


Choose the word that matches the definition given in each of the five questions in this quiz.

1) What is the meaning of the following definition: A Christmas during which there is snow on the ground?
        A) Star
        B) White Christmas
        C) Yule log
        D) Wreath
2) What is the meaning of the following definition: An open vehicle with no wheels that is used for traveling over snow and is pulled by animals?
        A) Santa Claus
        B) Star
        C) Spruce
        D) Sleight
3) What is the meaning of the following definition: A play that tells the story about the birth of Jesus Christ, usually performed by children?
        A) Nativity play
        B) Mitten
        C) Poinsettia
        D) Rejoice
4) What is the meaning of the following definition: A pie that is filled with mincemeat (a mixture of apple, dried fruit, and nuts), often eaten at Christmas?
        A) Gingerbread
        B) Mince pie
        C) Jack Frost
        D) Lapland
5) What is the meaning of the following definition: A paper tube that is covered with bright paper and makes a short sharp sound when both ends are pulled?
        A) Cracker
        B) Christmas stocking
        C) Fireplace
        D) Egg-nog

Score =

Correct answers:

Exercise 3 – Identify Picture

This final ESL Christmas vocabulary exercise has some pictures below and you need to decide which word (A-D) given in each question matches the picture. Again you can use the get score button to see how well you did.

ESL Christmas Vocabulary Picture Descriptions


Identify the best description for each of the images (A-E) given above that correspond to the five questions in this quiz.

1) Which description best describes picture A given above?
        A) Angel
        B) Bauble
        C) Candle
        D) Christmas cake
2) Which description best describes picture B given above?
        A) Garland
        B) Rudolph
        C) Curling ribbon
        D) Christmas tree
3) Which description best describes picture C given above?
        A) Holly
        B) Illuminations
        C) Midnight mass
        D) Chimney
4) Which description best describes picture D given above?
        A) Christmas card
        B) Mistletoe
        C) Reindeer
        D) Noel
5) Which description best describes picture E given above?
        A) Snowflake
        B) Mince pie
        C) Insel
        D) Saint Nickolas

Score =

Correct answers:



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