In just a few days, it will be Christmas. In my country, Scotland, that is the most important holiday of the year. As such, today I would like to teach you some useful IELTS Christmas vocabulary.

IELTS and Christmas

You might be wondering whether there are any questions about Christmas in the IELTS exam. It is very unlikely that you would be asked about it in the speaking or writing test because they usually avoid religious matters. However, you might be asked more generally about “a festival” and so you could describe Christmas if you wanted.

It is also possible that Christmas could appear in the reading or listening tests because Christmas is a huge part of the culture of many English-speaking countries, like the UK, America, Canada, and Australia. I have heard a listening passage about Christmas dinner before, so it is definitely a possibility.

IELTS Christmas Vocabulary

If you do decide to talk about Christmas for IELTS (or you just want to learn about it for cultural reasons), then I will share with you some useful language.

christmas vocabulary for ielts

Here are some of the most basic words that we use when talking about Christmas nowadays:

  • Christmas tree
  • Gifts / presents
  • Reindeer
  • Santa Claus

However, I expect you probably know most of this, so let’s skip ahead to some more advanced language. The following are less common words and phrases that might help you talk about more interesting aspects of Christmas:

Word / PhraseMeaningExample
Bauble(noun) A common decorationWe’ve got some baubles on our tree that have been in the family for sixty years.
Boxing Day(noun) The day after ChristmasOn Boxing Day, we always have turkey sandwiches and watch Disney films.
Carol(noun) A Christmas songWe are going to sing a few Christmas carols later. Do you want to join us?
Elf(noun) A magical creature said to help SantaIt’s quite common nowadays for parents to give their children toy elves.
Festive(adj.) Having a holiday spiritI love visiting that part of town. The lights always make it so festive.
Grinch(noun) A grumpy personStop being such a grinch and come join us for a few songs.
Grinchy(adj.) Grumpy in attitudeQuit being so grinchy and enjoy yourself!
Mistletoe(noun) A plant that is put up as decoration. People commonly kiss under it.Oh look, they’ve met under the mistletoe… how romantic.
Nativity(noun) A scene depicting the birth of JesusOur son is in the nativity play this year.
Sprouts(noun) A common but widely detested vegetable“Why do we have sprouts every year? We all hate them.” “Because it’s Christmas!”
Wrap(verb) To put colourful paper around giftsI love buying and giving gifts… but I hate wrapping them.

Where to Learn the Best Christmas Vocabulary

If you want lots more Christmas vocabulary, then check out my Instagram page. Every day this week, I will post a new word with some example sentences. You can leave a comment to practise using that word and I will leave feedback for you.

Here’s an example:

Christmas Traditions

You might want to talk about Christmas traditions in the IELTS exam, so here are a few that are popular around the world:

Watching the Queen’s speech. Every Christmas, the Queen of England makes a televised speech, which millions of people watch from their homes.

Making the pudding. A Christmas pudding is a special dish that families often make together. It takes a long time and many ingredients.

Ugly Christmas jumpers (US: sweaters). Many people enjoy wearing funny or deliberately ugly Christmas jumpers and they often compete to see whose is the funniest.

ugly christmas sweaters (jumpers)

Watching old movies. There are hundreds of movies about Christmas and families like to watch them together over the holidays.

Boxing Day. In the UK, we have a holiday called Boxing Day. This is the day after Christmas, when people typically stay at home and eat leftovers.

Putting up the lights. Many families decorate their homes with coloured lights before Christmas and keep them up until early January. These are playful, fun decorations to cheer the neighbours.

The Christmas Spirit

One of the things I love most about Christmas is the spirit. People often talk about “Christmas spirit” as a feeling of love and kindness, and it is true. People are very pleasant over the holidays and they like to help each other and give to charity.

Feel free to ask me any questions about Christmas or post some example sentences with today’s Christmas vocabulary in the comments. I will do my best to answer you or give some feedback.