Dec 18, 2023

5 Christmassy Chinese Words That You Don’t Want to Miss

As the familiar strains of “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” fill the air, our Christmas Checklist is primed and ready!

Have you checked off all the items on your Christmas checklist: putting up the Christmas tree, sending out those heartfelt cards, wrapping up your presents, meticulously planning your Christmas dinner menu, and crafting the perfect Christmas songs and carols playlist?

But wait, there’s one more delightful task to add to your festive to-do list: learning five essential Christmassy Chinese words!

And if you’re eager to expand your vocabulary further, don’t forget to download the Chineasy app for a trove of trendy words to explore.

Santa Claus 聖誕老公公/圣诞老公公

Santa Claus in Chinese

When you hear Ho-ho-ho, you know who is coming. Santa Claus, Of course! 🤶🏼🎅🏽

To say “Santa Claus” in Chinese, it is 聖誕老公公/圣诞老公公 (shèng dàn lǎo gōng gong). The first character 聖/圣 means “saint” or “sacred,” and the second character 誕/诞 means “to be born.” Together, they show that “the saint is born,” meaning “Christmas”! ⠀

And the last three characters: 老公公 literally means “old old man.”

In China, especially in major cities, some Chinese postmen would dress up as 聖誕老公公/圣诞老公公 when delivering letters before Christmas.

Christmas tree 聖誕樹/圣诞树

Christmas tree in Chinese

The Christmas tree is an iconic symbol of the holiday season in many parts of the world. It’s a beloved tradition that brings families and communities together.

In Chinese, the Christmas tree is known as 聖誕樹/圣诞树 (shèng dàn shù). You simply attach the third character 樹/树 (shù), meaning “tree,” to the familiar word 聖誕/圣诞 (shèng dàn).

In many countries, it’s a tradition to exchange gifts by placing them under 聖誕樹/圣诞树. On Christmas morning, families gather around the tree to open their presents, creating magical moments of excitement and joy.

Christmas stocking 聖誕襪/圣诞袜

Christmas stocking in Chinese

The Christmas stocking is another heartwarming symbol of the holiday season.

In Chinese, it translates to 聖誕襪/圣诞袜 (shèng dàn wà). You are familiar with 聖誕/圣诞 (shèng dàn), so the only new word here is 襪/袜 (wà). It means “sock.”

In many homes, it’s a tradition to hang 聖誕襪/圣诞袜 for each family member, including pets, with everyone’s name embroidered or written on their stocking. The anticipation of discovering what’s inside adds to the joy and excitement on Christmas Day.

Reindeer 馴鹿/驯鹿

reindeer in Chinese

Do you know how many reindeer Santa Claus (聖誕老公公/圣诞老公公) has, and can you name them all?

In Chinese, “reindeer” is 馴鹿/驯鹿 (xùn lù). 馴/驯 means “tame,” and 鹿 means “deer.”

Originally, the compound character 鹿 depicted a deer’s antlers with its four legs below. If you look closely, you can see the character’s transformation through a bit of imagination:

  • The top part 广 resembles a deer’s antlers.
  • The curving line in the middle represents the deer’s back, head, and face.
  • The bottom part 比, with its bent shape, symbolizes the deer’s front and rear legs.

So, within the character 鹿, you can envision the entire form of a deer with its distinctive antlers and graceful body. Isn’t it amazing how language can capture the essence of nature through symbols?

Winter 冬

What do you love most about winter?

In Chinese, “winter” is 冬 (dōng). The character’s origins are simple yet profound. Initially, it depicted the knot at the end of a string, symbolizing the “end.”

After all, winter is the last season of the year.

In the spirit of embracing the magic of the holiday season, why not make it a personal tradition to incorporate these five newly discovered words into your festivities?

Whether it’s decorating your 聖誕樹/圣诞树 (Christmas tree), hanging your 聖誕襪/圣诞袜 (Christmas stocking), or simply sharing the joy of the season with friends and family in both English and Chinese, using these words in real-life contexts can be the most enchanting way to reinforce your vocabulary.

So, as you celebrate the warmth of the season and exchange gifts, remember that every word shared is a step towards bridging cultures and creating lasting memories.

Happy holidays and happy learning!

By Chineasy | A Super Chineasian

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