In France, Christmas festivities are a time of feasting, gift-giving and merrymaking. If you’re planning to celebrate Christmas in France, then it is essential to learn some French Christmas vocabulary and expressions that you can use correctly during the festivities. Here are some festive French words and sentences that will allow you to enjoy the festive season like a true Francophile.

French Christmas Vocabulary to Learn

Before you celebrate Christmas in France, you need to know the French names for common Christmas items. Here is some vocabulary you should learn before the festivities begin:

  • Le Père Noël – Santa Claus
  • Un sapin de Noël – Christmas tree
  • Des boules de Noël – Christmas baubles
  • Une guirlande – garland
  • Des cadeaux – gifts
  • Une décoration de Noël – Christmas ornament
  • Une étoile – star
  • Une guirlande électrique / une guirlande lumineuse – string of lights
  • Une couronne – wreath
  • Un bas, une chaussette – stocking
  • Un sucre d’orge – candy cane
  • Un bonhomme de neige – snowman
  • Un renne – reindeer
  • Du gui – mistletoe
  • Du houx – holly
  • Une pomme de pin – pine cone
  • Une crèche – Nativity scene
  • Une bûche de Noël – Yule log
  • Un marché de Noël – Christmas market
  • Du vin chaud – mulled wine
  • Des chants de Noël – Christmas carols

Conversation Starters

Knowing some expressions and questions that French people usually use during Christmas gatherings can be an excellent conversation starter. Here are some of the most common expressions to try out:

  • Joyeux Noël ! – Merry Christmas!
  • Quel est ton plan pour Noël? – What are your plans for Christmas?
  • Tu fais quoi pour Noël ? – What are you doing on Christmas?
  • Comment te prépares-tu pour les fêtes de fin d’année ? – How are you preparing for the end-of-year festivities?
  • As-tu déjà vu un spectacle de Noël cette année ? – Have you seen a Christmas show this year?
  • Tu as vu un film de Noël récemment ? – have you seen a Christmas movie lately?

Christmas Food Vocabulary

France is well-known for its delicious cuisine and mouth-watering traditional dishes, which are particularly famous during the festive season. So if you try to learn some French Christmas vocabulary, don’t forget about the food! Here are some of the most common French Christmas food vocabulary you should know:

  • Foie gras – A paté-like delicacy made from the liver of a duck or goose
  • Huîtres – Oysters
  • Escargots – Snails (a French delicacy)
  • Chapon – Capon
  • Dinde de Noël – Christmas Turkey
  • Truffes au chocolat – Chocolate truffles
  • Marrons glacés – candied chestnuts
  • Marrons chauds – roasted chestnuts
  • Galette des Rois – King’s cake

If you’re lucky enough to enjoy a French Christmas dinner, you’ll be in for a treat.


Christmas Greetings

It’s customary to send seasonal greetings and wishes to family, friends and colleagues during the Christmas season. Here are some of the most common French Christmas greetings you can try out:

  • Je vous souhaite un Joyeux Noël et une Bonne Année! – I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
  • Que la Paix et la Joie du Noël soient avec toi et ta famille – May the peace and joy of Christmas be with you and your family
  • Passez un merveilleux Noël entouré de ceux que vous aimez – Have a wonderful Christmas surrounded by those you love the most.
  • À l’année prochaine – See you next year!

If you’re planning to celebrate Christmas in France, then learning some French Christmas vocabulary, words, phrases, and expressions can come in handy to fully enjoy the festive season. Whether you’re discussing festive plans, greeting your friends and family, ordering food, or even appreciating the decorations, adding these French vocabularies to your Christmas holiday routine will help you a great deal. So why not try using these phrases to add an authentic French touch to your Christmas?

And if you’re trying to practice your French skills during the season, here are some French Christmas movies to watch! Joyeux Noël!