10 Christmas sayings in different languages
For many of us, December is all about Christmas. However, festive traditions have evolved differently all around the world, and so have the seasonal sayings. Knowing some of these can help you sound like a local.
From odd idioms to (sometimes) wise proverbs, here are some of our weird and wonderful Christmas phrases in different languages from around the world.
1. German: Du machst Weihnachten festlicher
This simply means “You make Christmas merrier.” How nice is that? Use this charming German phrase to tell someone how you feel about them, or show them how much you appreciate them.
2. English: You’ve lit up light a Christmas tree
In English, when someone gets a big smile on their face and is positively glowing with happiness, you can say that they have “Lit up like a Christmas tree.”
3. French: Ressembler à un sapin de Noël
Translating as “Look like a Christmas tree,” this French phrase sounds similar but is instead used to describe somebody who is dressed way over-the-top. For example: arriving at a Christmas party wearing lots of brightly colored clothes and too much jewelry.
4. Italian: Natale viene una volta all’anno; chi non ne approfitta, tutto va a suo danno
The Italians have got it right. This phrase essentially means that Christmas only comes once a year, so you should make the most of it. And those who don’t? Well, it’s their loss.
5. Spanish: Feliz Día de Reyes
“Feliz Navidad” is Happy Christmas in Spanish, however in Spain it is also popular to open presents and celebrate with food and family on the 6th of January. This is known as Epiphany, or Three Kings Day as it celebrates the date that The Three Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem with gifts for the baby Jesus. “Feliz Día de Reyes” means Happy Kings’ Day.
6. Norwegian: Gode ord skal du hogge i berg, de dårligere i snø
This wintry Norwegian proverb translates as “Carve your good words in stone, the bad in snow,” basically reminding you not to be mean. Let bad feelings melt away like snow, and make sure that it is the good things in life that you make permanent. The holidays are for good vibes only!
7. French: Décembre ensoleillé, été mouillé
In France they say that if the weather in December is sunny, the summer will be wet. However, a similar French proverb is more optimistic; “Noël neigeux, été merveilleux,” means that a snowy Christmas will bring a great summer.
8. English: Bah, Humbug!
Someone who isn’t getting into the festive spirit, or who doesn’t like Christmas, is sometimes called a humbug in English. Your neighbor doesn’t wish you a Merry Christmas back? Say, “Bah, humbug!”
9. Italian: A Natale con i tuoi, a Pasqua con chi vuoi
This is one of Italy’s most common guides to festive etiquette. You should spend Christmas with your family, but you can spend Easter with anyone that you want.
10. French: Avoir une faim de loup
Are you tired of saying “I’m starving,” when you sit down for your Christmas dinner? With this great French phrase, that means “to have the hunger of a wolf,” you can be much more linguistically creative while your stomach rumbles.