German Christmas Vocabulary
An English-German Glossary 2
Christmas - Weihnachten L-Z
An annotated Christmas and Advent glossary for German
Noun genders are indicated by: r (der, masc.), e (die, fem.), s (das, neu.)
Abbreviations: adj. (adjective), n. (noun), pl. (plural), v. (verb)
A-K (Part 1) | L-Z (Part 2)
lighting e Beleuchtung
outdoor lighting e Außenbeleuchtung
lights e Lichter, elektrische Kerzen (electric candles)
manger e Krippe
Mary and Joseph Maria und Joseph
marzipan s Marzipan (almond paste candy)
Merry Christmas! Happy Christmas! Fröhliche Weihnachten!, Frohe Weihnachten!
See our German Christmas Greetings for more.
midnight mass e Christmette, Mitternachtsmette
mistletoe e Mistel
mulled, spiced wine r Glühwein ("glow wine")
See our German Christmas Recipes
myrrh e Myrrhe
nativity e Krippe, s Krippenbild, die Geburt Christi
Nickel (name) r Nickel - See Ruprecht below.
nut(s) e Nuss (Nüsse)
nutcracker(s) r Nussknacker (-)
organ, pipe organ e Orgel
ornaments, ornamentation (tree, etc.) e Verzierung, r Schmuck
Peace on Earth! Friede auf Erden!
pickle saure Gurke
See The German Christmas Pickle - tradition or myth?
poinsettia e Poinsettie, r Weihnachtsstern
Named for J.R. Poinsett (1779-1851), US ambassador to Mexico, who popularized the flower. In German it is also called "Christmas star." See graphic below.
pyramid (See "Christmas pyramid")
reindeer s Rentier (-e)
See the popular Christmas song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in German and English!
Rejoice! Freut euch! Freue dich!
ring [bells] (v.) erklingen, klingeln
rod, switch (n.) e Rute (see "Ruprecht" below)
Ruprecht (name) r Ruprecht, Knecht Ruprecht, Krampus
A demonic figure who used to accompany St. Nicholas to punish bad children with his Rute; based on mythical winter figures going back to pagan times. Rarely seen today. Also known as: Hans Muff, Krampus, or Nickel. In some parts of Germany, Ruprecht is good - just another Weihnachtsmann, and Krampus is the bad guy. - See The Many German St. Nicks for more.
Saint Nicholas r Sankt Nikolaus
Saint Nicholas is not Santa Claus or the American "Saint Nick." Dec. 6, the Feast of St. Nicholas, is the day upon which the original Bishop Nicholas of Myra (today in Turkey) is commemorated - and is the date of his death in the year 343. He was later granted sainthood. The German Sankt Nikolaus, dressed as a bishop, brings gifts on that day. (Also see "Ruprecht" above.)
According to legend, it was also Bishop Nicholas who gave us the Christmas tradition of hanging stockings by the fireplace. The kindly bishop is said to have thrown bags of gold for the poor down the chimney. The bags landed in stockings that had been hung by the fire to dry. This Saint Nicholas legend may also partly explain the American custom of Santa coming down the chimney with his bag of gifts. - See The Many German St. Nicks for more.
It was the German-American Thomas Nast who gave the US its traditional image of Santa Claus. (See Christmas - The German Way for more about Nast.
Santa Claus, Father Christmas r Weihnachtsmann
St. Nikolaus Day r Nikolaustag (Dec. 6)
(the) Savior r Heiland, r Retter
sheep s Schaf (-e)
shepherd(s) r Hirt (-en), r Schäfer (-)
"Silent Night" "Stille Nacht"
The world's most popular Christmas carol was created 180 years ago in Austria by Franz Gruber (music) and Joseph Mohr (text), and first performed by them with guitar accompaniment in Oberndorf bei Salzburg on Christmas Eve of 1818. More at "Stille Nacht" from The German Way. - Also see our Silent Night Christmas E-Cards in German.
sled, sleigh, toboggan r Schlitten (-)
snow (n.) r Schnee
snowball (n.) r Schneeball
snowflake (n.) e Schneeflocke
snowman (n.) r Schneemann
snow sled/sleigh (n.) r Schlitten
snow (v.) schneien - It's snowing. = Es schneit.
snowy (adj.) schneeig, schneebedeckt (covered), Schnee- (in noun compounds)
stable, stall r Stall
star(s) r Stern (-e)
Sternsinger ("star singers") - dressed as the Wise Men/Three Kings - make their rounds during Advent to raise money for Catholic missions all over the world.
straw star(s) r Strohstern (Strohsterne) - A traditional Christmas decorations made of straw.
(the) Three Wise Men, Three Kings, Magi die Heiligen Drei Könige, die Weisen
tinsel s Lametta, r Flitter
toy(s) s Spielzeug(e)
vanilla crescent(s) s Vanillekipferl (-n)
An Austrian/Bavarian pastry. Vanillekipferln or Kipferln are small sweet baked crescents covered with powdered vanilla sugar. Traditionally served around Christmas, Kipferln are also made in nut (Nuss), almond (Mandeln), and other varieties.
See our German Christmas Recipes
the Wise Men, the Magi die Weisen, die Heiligen Drei Könige
wreath (n.) r Kranz
Advent and Christmas
An article about the four-week Advent period and the key dates for Christmas customs in Germany - with related vocabulary.
Christmas Word Search
A fun online Java word search for Christmas vocabulary, based on this glossary.
A special German Adventskalender with dail Christmas facts!
Die Bibel - Weihnachten
The Bible and Christmas. Scriptures (in German and English) related to the Christmas story. From your Guide.
Christmas in German
All of our pages zu Weihnachten.
The German Christmas Pickle
Is this a real German tradition?
An annotated glossary of the many German terms for St. Nicholas or Santa Claus.
The Many German St. Nicks
From Ascheklas to Zwarte Pitt. Who ARE those guys? More about a German Christmas!
Christmas E-Cards in German
An assortment of free digital Weihnachtskarten.
A German Christmas
Our feature on German Christmas vocabulary, from your Guide.
Erntedankfest - Thanksgiving auf Deutsch
Our feature on German Thanksgiving vocabulary.
All of our English-German glossaries on many topics.
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