Before going on holiday break, my students asked if I would create some materials to help them practice their Italian and stay engaged with the language during the holidays…
So, here’s a round-up of the most popular Italian Christmas words and phrases. I’ve set it up the same as the “Words of the Week” (WoWs). WoWs are words we choose and practice each week from the materials we’re working on in class.
I’ve added this week’s WoWs below, to a list I created in Quizlet. If you’re already familiar with Quizlet, then you know how engaging and fun it is to use the many interactive exercises it features to build your vocabulary and strengthen your memory. Click here to access the Quizlet Christmas Round-up list and use the password JODINA.
- Natale: Christmas
- la vigilia di Natale: Christmas Eve
- il presepe, il presepio: Manger, nativity scene
- i regali: gifts, presents
- gli addobbi: Decorations
- le luci: lights (also, “le luminarie”)
- le palline: ornaments (lit. little balls)
- l’albero di Natale: Christmas tree
- la stella: star
- il vischio: mistletoe
- le castagne: chestnuts
- le caldarroste: roasted chestnuts (also called castagne arrostite)
- il panettone: Italian Christmas cake (dome shaped with candied fruit and raisins)
- le lenticchie: lentils (eaten to ensure good fortune in the new year)
- il cenone: big dinner, from the word cena (dinner) plus the suffix -one, indicating large
- la chiesa: church
- santa messa: holy mass
- Gesù Bambino: Baby Jesus
- Babbo Natale: Santa Claus (Father Christmas – babbo is a colloquial word originating in Tuscany and meaning dad, daddy, pops)
- Buon Natale!: Merry Christmas!
- Buone Feste!: Happy Holidays!
- Auguri di stagione!: Seasons Greetings!
- Capodanno: New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day (lit. the head/end/extremity of the year)
- Buon Anno!: Happy New Year!
- Prospero e felice anno nuovo!: Prosperous and Happy New Year!
- l’Epifania: Epiphany, celebrated Jan 6th
- i Re Magi: the wise men (three kings, magi)
- la Befana: gift-bringing witch (comes on Epiphany)
- la calza: stocking (to hold candies and small gifts la Befana brings)
- i biglietti di auguri: greeting cards
Got any Italian holiday questions or words to add to the list?
Let me know if you like this and find it helpful… If I know people are using it, I’ll create more practice materials!