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Top 100 French Christmas Terms

Camille Chevalier-Karfis By Camille Chevalier-Karfis - updated on Aug 13, 2020
Top 100 Christmas French Vocabulary

100 French Christmas Words and Expressions – “Noël”, “Joyeux Noël” + all the Christmas French vocabulary for decorations, French religious terms, typical French Christmas food etc…

  1. Noël (Proper name, so usually used without an article, although masculine) = Christmas
  2. La veille de Noël – Christmas Eve (don’t mistake “veille”: eve, only one “i”, with “vieille”: feminine adjective for old, two “i”)
  3. Le vingt-quatre décembre – December 24th – Read my article about when the French celebrate Christmas
  4. Le jour de Noël – Christmas day
  5. Le vingt-cinq décembre – December 25th (here is my article on how to say the date in French)
  6. Joyeux Noël – Merry Christmas – Read French Today’s article about Christmas in France + Traditions
  7. Joyeuses fêtes de fin d’année – Happy Holidays
  8. Le Réveillon de Noël – Christmas meal
  9. S’embrasser sous le gui – to kiss under the mistletoe
  10. Décorer la maison – to decorate the house
  11. Passer Noël en famille – to spend Christmas with your family
  12. Faire des cadeaux – Give away gifts
  13. Ouvrir des cadeaux – Open presents
  14. Envoyer ses voeux de Noël – to send out Christmas wishes
  15. Je vous souhaite un joyeux Noël et d’excellentes fêtes de fin d’année – I wish you a merry Christmas and excellent holidays
  16. Un sapin de Noël – Christmas tree (note we don’t use “un arbre” but “un sapin” which is ‘a fir tree’)
  17. Une boule – ornament (in a ball shape)
  18. Une décoration de Noël – Christmas Ornament
  19. Une guirlande – garland
  20. Une étoile – star
  21. Une guirlande électrique/ lumineuse – string of lights
  22. Une couronne – wreath
  23. Un bas, une chaussette – stocking
  24. Le Père Noël – Santa
  25. Un sucre d’orge – candy cane
  26. Un bonhomme en pain d’épice – gingerbread man
  27. Un bonhomme de neige – snowman
  28. Un cadeau – gift
  29. Un renne – reindeer
  30. De la neige artificielle – fake snow
  31. Un pochoir – stencil
  32. Un autocollant – sticker
  33. Du gui (pronounced hard G + ee) – mistletoe
  34. Du houx – holly
  35. Une pomme de pin – pine cone
  36. Des branches de sapins – fir branches
  37. Une crèche – a manger (the house)
  38. Une mangeoire – a manger (where the animals eat)
  39. Un santon – typical French manger clay figurine made in Provence
  40. La Vierge Marie – the Virgin Mary
  41. Joseph
  42. Le petit Jésus – baby Jesus – here is my article about expressions using Jesus in French
  43. Un âne – a donkey
  44. Un boeuf – an ox (note that in France, in the manger is not a cow, but a male ox)
  45. Un ange – an angel
  46. Les Rois Mages – the 3 Kings – we have a special French cake for the 3 Kings’ day called La Galette des Rois
  47. L’étoile – the star
  48. Un berger – a shepherd
  49. Un mouton – a sheep
  50. Un miracle – a miracle
  51. Dieu – God – here is my article about expressions using God in French
  52. Prier – to pray
  53. Une prière – a prayer – here is my recording of the Hail Mary in French
  54. La messe de Noël – Christmas mass – here is my recording of the French Catholic mass
  55. Le Père Noël – Santa
  56. Le Père Fouettard – Father Flog
  57. Saint Nicolas – Saint Nick The French Santa
  58. Un traineau – a sleigh
  59. Un renne – a reindeer
  60. Un elf – an elf
  61. Un cadeau, des cadeaux – a gift(s)
  62. Une cheminée – a chimney
  63. Une cheminée – a hearth, fireplace
  64. Descendre dans la cheminée – to go down the fireplace
  65. Du lait – milk
  66. Des biscuits – cookies
  67. Écrire une lettre au Père-Noël – to write Santa a letter
  68. La liste des gentils enfants – the list of good kids
  69. Le Réveillon de Noël – the French Christmas meal (not to be mistaken with “Le Réveillon du Nouvel-An – New Year’s Eve French Meal name)
  70. Le dîner de Noël – the Christmas dinner
  71. Le déjeuner de Noël – the Christmas lunch
  72. Faire un festin – to feast
  73. Se régaler – to have a culinary blast
  74. Faire la cuisine – to cook
  75. Préparer un repas fait maison – to cook an home-made meal
  76. L’apéritif – before meal drinks and finger food
  77. L’entrée – the first course (appetizers)
  78. Le plat principal – the main course
  79. Le fromage – cheese (I don’t think that we have a special Christmas cheese in France)
  80. Les treize desserts – 13 desserts – a Christmas tradition from Provence
  81. La Bûche de Noël – Christmas Yule log cake
  82. Mettre une belle table – to set up a pretty table
  83. Un centre de table – a center piece decoration
  84. Des bougies – candles
  85. Plier les serviettes – to fold napkins
  86. Des canapés apéritif – appetizer toasts
  87. Du saumon fumé artisanal – small scale produced smoked salmon
  88. Des huîtres – oysters
  89. Du foie-gras (frais, poêlé ou en pâté)  – foie gras (fresh, pan-fried or served as a pâté)
  90. La volaille – fowl
  91. Le gibier – game meat
  92. Un rôti – a roast
  93. Une farce aux marrons – a chestnut stuffing – note: there is a confusion in French between “un marron” – a horse chestnut which is not edible, and “une châtaigne” which is a sweet chestnut as is edible. We often use “marron” when really, it is “châtaigne” that are being used (for food).
  94. Un jambon fumé au feu de bois – firewood smoked ham
  95. Un jus de viande – gravy
  96. Des bredele – typical Alsacien cookies baked at Christmas time
  97. Des truffes au chocolat – chocolate truffles
  98. Des marrons glacés – candied chestnuts
  99. Des marrons chauds – roasted chestnuts
  100. Du vin chaud – spiced wine

For the Holidays, Olivier and I recorded a realistic dialogue to introduce you to both the French traditions and precise vocabulary used in France around Christmas and the Holidays. Great to practice your French!

This article comes with audio, French transcript and an English translation. Share it if you like it!

You will find that Christmas in France is not that different than Christmas in the US, except for the typical French Christmas Food.

Joyeux Noël, et Bonne année !

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