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How to Say 'Santa Claus' in Swiss German

Christmas Cookies - Joujou  /
Christmas is only a bit more than a month away and advent season is about to start. Soon streets in every town will be lit up with Christmas lights and filled Christmas songs. High time to brush up your Swiss German language skills for the Christmas season with this short glossary of Christmas terms.

Swiss German Words for the Christmas Season

Advent (advent, the season before Christmas)
Adventschranz (advent wreath, usually with 4 candles)
Adventskalender (Christmas calendar)
Adventsmärt (advent market)
Ängel (angels)
Cherze (candle)
Cherzezieh (making candles)
Chrischtbaum (Christmas tree)
Chrischtchindli (Christ child)
Chrippe (manger)
Erdnüssli (peanut, typical gift from Santa)
Fitze (Santa's stick that he uses to hit bad behaving children)
Grittibänz (bread roll in the shape of a man)
Gschänkli (gift, gifts)
Guetzli (cookie, cookies)
Hirte (shepherds)
Liechterchetti (chain of lights)
Mandarinli (mandarine, typical gift from Santa)
Samichlaus (Santa)
Schmutzli (lit: dirty one, Santa's helper, usually dressed all black)
Schnee (snow)
Schöggeli (little chocolates, typical gift from Santa)
Schtern (star)
Schtern vo Bethlehem (Chistmas star, star followed by the three kings)
Tannebaum (fir tree)
Wiehnachte (Christmas)
Wiehnachtsgschicht (Christmas story, nativity story)
Wiehnachtsmärt (Christmas market)
Wiissi Wiehnachte (lit:white Christmas, snow on Christmas eve)

Swiss Christmas Cookies

Swiss people typically bake and eat lots and lots of cookies during the Christmas season (compared to the rest of the year the amounts are huge). Swiss Christmas cookies are indeed the best! These are some of the popular cookies here in Switzerland:

Anisbrötli (aniseed cookie)
Bäretatze (paw shaped chocolate cookie)
Brunsli (chocolate cookie)
Chräbbeli (hard aniseed cookies)
Läbchueche (gingerbread)
Läckerli (small gingerbread cookies)
Makrönli (coconut or nut cookies)
Nussstängeli (stick shaped nut cookie)
Mailänderli (typical Christmas shortbread cookie)
Pfäffernüss (tiny spice cookies)
Spitzbuebe (jam filled shortbread cookie)
Tirggel (thin Christmas biscuits from Zurich, with honey) 
Zimtstern (cinnamon cookie with white glazing)

If you want to make a batch of Swiss Christmas cookies, you can find English recipes for three typical Swiss Christmas cookies (Zimtsterne, Chräbbeli and Brunsli) on Newly Swissed.



  1. This is a great post to practice the pronouciation of the words and to sweet-dream about all these delicious Guetzlis. Mmmmhhh! Thanks to you, we are now fit for the Swiss advent :-)


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