christmas signs bsl

39+ Fabulous Christmas Signs in British Sign Language

Christmas signs in British Sign Language show how rich and expressive BSL can be. Below, we explore how to sign various Christmas-related words. Whether you want to learn how to say “Merry Christmas” or sign the names of traditional Christmas foods, decorations, or activities, this guide will provide you with the signs you need to communicate in BSL during the festive season.

Christmas-themed BSL vocabulary

Access BSL tutors picked this clip from Commanding Hands as Dan shows you the correct handshapes for each sign.

The BSL vocabulary in this clip includes:

0:15 Angel 0:27 Bells 0:39 Boxing Day 1:01 Carols 1:18 Celebration 1:31 Christmas 1:48 Christmas Card 2:05 Christmas Day 2:21 Christmas Eve 2:38 Christmas Tree 2:58 December 3:16 Decorations 3:34 Elf 3:46 Family 4:04 Friends 4:19 Gingerbread Man 4:48 Happy Christmas 5:07 Holiday 5:21 Jesus 5:36 Magic 5:51 Merry Christmas 6:11 Mistletoe 6:27 North Pole 6:51 Present 7:07 Present (you to me, thank you) 7:21 Reindeer 7:33 Santa Claus 7:47 Secret Santa 8:09 Snowman 8:29 Snowing 8:41 Star 8:56 Stocking 9:10 Toy 9:26 Turkey 9:42 Tradition 9:56 White Christmas

Dan has also created a series of videos showing 30 Christmas-related BSL signs. Video clips include: Advent calendar, secret Santa, Christmas Carols and many others.

merry christmas bsl

Signing Christmas Foods in BSL

Food is an integral part of Christmas celebrations, and knowing how to sign the names of traditional Christmas foods in BSL can enhance your communication during festive gatherings. NDCS have created a video showing the signs for popular Christmas foods. Signs include:

Mince Pie

The sign for “Mince Pie” in BSL is made by signing ‘M’, then using the ‘O’ handshape and signing in a circle above the ‘O’ hand shape in a circle. You mouth the words ‘mince pie’ at the same time.


To sign “Turkey” in BSL, you use the ‘K’ handshape with the fingers pointing down. The sign is made by moving the handshape under the chin backwards and forwards repeatedly.


To sign “Chocolate” in BSL, make a ‘C’ handshape with your dominant hand and move in a circular motion. if you want to sign hot chocolate, you would add the sign for ‘hot’ before signing chocolate.

Christmas Decorations in BSL

Decorating our homes with festive ornaments and lights is a cherished Christmas tradition. Here are some signs for common Christmas decorations in BSL:

Christmas Tree

The sign for “Christmas Tree” in BSL is made with the flat handshape moving downwards, while moving in and out to represent the shape of the tree. (See Dan’s clip above).

Christmas Lights

To sign “Christmas Lights” in BSL, you sign ‘Christmas’ first then with open hands, flutter fingers away from you out the side to represent twinkling lights.

Christmas Wreath

The sign for “Christmas Wreath” in BSL is made by using both hands to form the shape of a wreath (using the ‘C’ handshape) in front of your chest. Move your hands in a circular motion to represent the wreath’s shape.

Other Useful Christmas Signs in BSL

In addition to the signs mentioned above, here are some other useful Christmas signs in BSL:

Father Christmas

The sign for Father Christmas (Santa in the U.S.) in BSL is made by using both hands to form a beard shape around your chin. Move your hands downward, stroking the chin as if stroking a long beard.


To sign “Reindeer” in BSL, extend both both open hands from the head outwards, representing the antlers of a reindeer.


The sign for “Snowman” in BSL is made by using the sign for snow and then the sign for man. Some people use the ASL sign which uses both hands to form a round shape in front of your body, representing the body of a snowman. Then, use one hand to make a smaller round shape on top to represent the head.

Learning Resources for BSL Christmas Signs

Christmas songs

Twinkl have a range of paper-based resource with BSL instruction clips

Silent Night with BSL signs. This is a paper-based resource (paid)

Rudolph the red nose reindeer by let’s Sign

Silent Night by Christian BSL

I wish it could be Christmas Everyday by Rebecca Withey

O little town of Bethlehem by Christian BSL

Christian signs associated with hymns

Christmas Games

Twinkl have a set of BSL Christmas Games and activities

Twinkl also have colouring sheets

Signed Christmas stories

The Nativity Story

Suki and Susannah Save Christmas

Final thoughts

Learning Christmas signs in British Sign Language (BSL) can be a wonderful way to connect with the Deaf community and make the festive season more inclusive. 

Deaf people often feel the most isolated at this time of year as work colleagues

and families gather to celebrate. There are lots of resources online to help you become more deaf-aware and make deaf friends and family feel more included.