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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)

CARDS > Christmas eCards in German

Christmas in German - Guide
All of our pages zu Weihnachten.

Also see: Nikolaus Glossary
Advent Calendar with Christmas facts
Christmas Word Search

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.
Christmas E-Cards in German


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.

sing singen

German Christmas Word Search

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

BACK > Christmas Vocab. A-K (Part 1)
MORE > German Christmas Word Search

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Christmas Word Search
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Christmas E-Cards in German
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Christmas - The German Way
The Christmas page at The German Way site offers information, pictures, and links concerning Christmas customs.

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