12 Signs of Christmas

The holidays are here! Despite it being a busy time of year, it’s also a great opportunity to connect with family and friends. Here at ASL Wonder we would like to teach you 12 signs and phrases in American Sign Language, so that you can connect with those you love who may be Deaf or hard of hearing. We’re sure you’re familiar with the traditional song, “The 12 Days of Christmas,” but have you learned our “’12 Signs of Christmas?” 


In each video below you will learn a sign and correlating phrase in American Sign Language from one of the ASL WonderKids, Santa, and a member of our team. You will also find helpful information in the caption below each video explaining the handshape, movement, and tips to help you remember the signs. The ASL signs for Christmas that you will learn in the following videos are: Merry Christmas, family, Christmas tree, ornament, Santa, Jesus, star, reindeer, snowman, Christmas lights, cookies and milk, and gift. 


Imagine connecting with your Deaf loved one as you decorate your Christmas tree together. Our Christmas signs and phrases below will help you do so! We are excited for you to feel the joy of strengthening relationships through communication this holiday season!


Merry Christmas

Phrase: "Merry Christmas!"

To sign “Merry” use your dominate hand in an open five handshape to tap your chest upward twice (this is also the sign for “happy”). To sign “Christmas,” form a C shape with your dominate hand and bring it up in an arch shape like the top half of a wreath.


Phrase: "Families gather at Christmas time"

On each hand form an F shape. Start by touching both hands together (at the thumb and index finger) near your chest and making a circle away from your body until pinkie fingers touch to close the circle. It’s as if you are gathering your family together.

Christmas Tree

Phrase: "Cut down a Christmas tree"

To sign “Christmas,” form a C shape with your dominate hand and bring it up in an arch shape like the top half of a wreath. To sign “tree” lay your non-dominate hand across your body with your hand resting under your dominate hand. Your dominate hand should be pointing upward while you shake an open 5 handshape. This represents the branches moving in the wind.


Phrase: "Hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree"

Use your non-dominate hand to create the branch you will hang your ornament on by pointing your index finger. With your dominate hand form an X shape and hook it onto your “branch.”


Phrase: "Jolly Santa laughs, ho, ho, ho!"

With your dominant hand make a C shape starting at your chin, and arc down to your chest showing Santa’s fluffy white beard.


Phrase: "Christmas is about the birth of Jesus"

Touch your middle finger of your dominant hand to the center of your opposite palm, then repeat with the middle finger of your non dominant hand.  This is to signify the nails that were driven in the palms of Jesus Christ’s hands.


Phrase: "The star goes on top when decorating a tree"

Using both index fingers side by side, point upward with palms facing out; slowly raise and lower your two fingers alternatively. Think of this sign like you are pointing out the stars in the sky.


Phrase: "The reindeer pull the sleigh"

With open 5 hands, spread out your fingers and touch your thumbs on the sides of your head. This shows the antlers on a reindeer.


Phrase: "The snowman melts in the warm sunshine"

To sign “snow” use both open 5 hands and starting above your head, wiggle all of your fingers while lowering your arms. You can distinguish gently falling snow, general snowfall, and blizzard conditions by the rate you lower your arms and by facial expressions.  More on that as we learn together! For the sign “man,” use an open five hand and touch your thumb to your forehead, then bring it down to the middle of your chest.

Christmas Lights

Phrase: "Stringing bright Christmas lights on the tree"

To sign “Christmas,” form a C shape with your dominate hand and bring it up in an arch shape like the top half of a wreath. For the sign, “lights,” using your dominant hand flick underneath your chin with your middle finger and thumb. It’s as if the light is blinking!

Cookies & Milk

Phrase: "Santa loves cookies and milk"

Use your non-dominate hand to form a plate by holding your hand out flat. Make a claw shape with your dominant hand, then bring your hand down onto your flat hand and twist your hand back and forth as if you are using a cookie cutter. For the sign “milk,” open and close your dominant fist. It looks as though you are milking a cow.


Phrase: "Our gift for you is more communication!"

Using the X handshape on both hands in front of your chest, extend both arms outward simultaneously. Picture handing someone a present.

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