Will you be spending Christmas in Italy? Buon Natale! Here’s how to say Merry Christmas in Italian, and other phrases for your Italian Christmas arsenal, with audio files so you’ll know how to pronounce them. You’ll also learn how to respond to Buon Natale, how to make a Christmas toast in Italian, and how to write an Italian Christmas card.
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MERRY CHRISTMAS! IN ITALIAN
Buon Natale literally means good Christmas, and is like saying Merry Christmas. Buon Natale is the common way Italians say Merry Christmas. You can say this when you’re making a toast, or brindisi, on Christmas, or when you arrive to someone’s home for a Christmas meal. You can also say this to people in Italy as a Christmas greeting in the days leading up to Christmas.
The pronunciation of Buon Natale is: boo-OHN nah-TAH-leh
Listen to how to pronounce Buon Natale here:
Buone feste literally means good holidays, and it is like saying Happy Holidays in Italian. However, in Italy, the holidays refer to the Christmas holiday season, which runs from December 8th (the Feast of the Immaculate Conception), to January 6th (the Ephiphany, or Three Kings Day). The holidays include Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s.
The pronunciation of buone feste is: boo-OHN-eh FEH-steh
Listen to how to pronounce buone feste here:
Auguri is a word that Italians use on many special occasions and holidays to extend their best wishes. Auguri literally means wishes, but if you say it at Christmas time it’s understood that you are saying best wishes for Christmas, or Merry Christmas.
The pronunciation of auguri is: ow-GOO-ree
Listen to how to pronounce auguri here:
AUGURI DI BUON NATALE!
This phrase is a way of giving your best wishes specifically for Christmas. Auguri di buon Natale means wishes for a good Christmas in Italian.
The pronunciation of auguri di buon Natale is: ow-GOO-ree dee boo-OHN nah-TAH-leh
Listen to how to pronounce auguri di buon Natale here:
HOW TO RESPOND TO BUON NATALE
When someone wishes you a Buon Natale, or Merry Christmas, you can say:
Grazie! Thank you! and then respond with a simple Buon Natale! back.
Another option is to say: Grazie! Auguri! Thank you, best wishes!
To say Merry Christmas to you too! say:
Buon Natale anche a te! (if it’s someone you know well)
Buon Natale anche a lei! (for an elder or other formal relationship)
Buon Natale anche a voi! (if you’re speaking to a group)
OTHER PHRASES FOR CHRISTMAS IN ITALIAN
If you’re celebrating Christmas in Italy, you’ll want to know these words and phrases as well.
Facciamo un brindisi!: Let’s make a toast
Brindiamo! Let’s toast!
These phrases are essential, since toasting with sparkling wine starts off Christmas lunch in Italy. Then for your toast, you can say Buon Natale!
La Vigilia di Natale: Christmas Eve
La vigilia means eve, so La Vigilia di Natale is Christmas Eve in Italian, or December 24th.
L’albero di Natale: Christmas tree. Christmas trees of all styles and styles grace the piazzas of most Italian towns.
Babbo Natale: Santa Claus
Babbo means Dad in Italian, and Natale means Christmas, so Babbo Natale is Father Christmas, or Santa Claus. He wears red velvet in Italy too.
Il pranzo di Natale: Christmas lunch
Il pranzo di Natale is a true feast and a very important part of Christmas in Italy. Prepare your stomach.
WHAT TO WRITE ON AN ITALIAN CHRISTMAS CARD
As I mentioned before, Christmas is just one of many holidays of the long Christmas holiday season in Italy. You can read all about Italian Christmas traditions and festivities here. Therefore, when you write a card to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Italian, you may want to wish them a happy Christmas season (Happy Holidays) as well as a Happy New Year.
Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Vi auguro un sereno Natale e buon anno.
I wish you a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Vi auguro buone feste e un felice anno nuovo!
I wish you happy holidays and a Happy New Year!
Tanti auguri di buone feste e di buon anno!
Best wishes for happy holidays and a Happy New Year!