Love is the Christmas-tide message… ~Margaret Sidney, “Christmas,” 1884
Whose heart doth hold the Christmas glow
Hath little need of Mistletoe;
Who bears a smiling grace of mien
Need waste no time on wreaths of green;
Whose lips have words of comfort spread
Needs not the holly-berries red—
His very presence scatters wide
The spirit of the Christmastide.
~John Kendrick Bangs (1862–1922), “The Christmas Spirit,” The Cheery Way: A Bit of Verse For Every Day, 1920
I have always thought of Christmas time… as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. ~Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843
Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love! ~Hamilton Wright Mabie, “Christmas Eve,” 1885
And, so, Christmas comes to bless us!
Comes to teach us how to find
The joy of giving happiness
And the joy of being kind.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, “There Will Always Be a Christmas,” 1940s
May you have the gladness of Christmas,
Which is Hope;
The spirit of Christmas,
Which is Peace;
The heart of Christmas,
Which is Love.
~Ada V. Hendricks Larsen (1888–1975)
Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves. ~Eric Sevareid (1912–1992), unverified
At Christmas play, and make good cheer,
For Christmas comes, but once a-year.
~Thomas Tusser, “The Farmer’s Daily Diet,” c.1557–1573
A cup of ale,
A merry tale
Of days of olden time,
And Christmas good cheer
To wind up the year
With glad frolic, and fun, and glee.
~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), “Winter’s Song,” The Ministry of the Beautiful, 1850 [Quite suspiciously Marmionesque, methinks.
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!”…
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”
~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, 1957
He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith, unverified
Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts. ~J. L. W. Brooks
Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. ~Anonymous child in answer to “What does love mean?” [This cute list has been circulating on the internet since at least 2001, but I still don’t know the original source.
Very gay they were with snow and sleigh-bells, holly-boughs, and garlands, below, and Christmas sunshine in the winter sky above. All faces shone, all voices had a cheery ring, and everybody stepped briskly on errands of good‑will. ~Louisa May Alcott, “Seamstress,” Work: A Story of Experience, 1873
There is something in the very season of the year, that gives a charm to the festivity of Christmas. The imagination turns every thing to melody and beauty! It is, indeed, the season for kindling, not merely the fire of hospitality in the hall, but the genial flame of charity in the heart. What bosom can remain insensible to the call of happiness, the bustle of the spirits, and stir of the affections? ~Washington Irving, “Christmas,” The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., 1819 [a little altered
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good‑will to men!
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Christmas Bells,” 1866
’Twas Christmas broach’d the mightiest ale;
’Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man’s heart through half the year.
~Walter Scott, Marmion, 1808
Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. ~Calvin Coolidge, 1927
A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season’s here;
Then he’s thinking more of others than he’s thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime…
~Edgar A. Guest, “At Christmas,” Just Folks, 1917
As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, then Christmas is. ~Eric Sevareid (1912–1992)
We hear the beating of wings over Bethlehem and a light that is not of the sun or of the stars shines in the midnight sky. Let the beauty of the story take away all narrowness, all thought of formal creeds. Let it be remembered as a story that has happened again and again, to men of many different races, that has been expressed through many religions, that has been called by many different names. Time and space and language lay no limitations upon human brotherhood. ~”On Christmas Morning,” editorial, New York Times, 1937 December 25th
The glad greeting of Merry Christmas is a pledge of brotherhood. We are one great family. No wonder that Christmas is above all others the family day. A transfigured atmosphere of peace and love breathes around the home. The gifts and tenders of affection cement more closely the sacred ties of family life. The peace and love of this hallowed time shines like a halo around us; it goes with us as we hasten through the crowded streets; it brightens and cheers those we meet. There are no strangers on Christmas Day… ~J. T. Driscoll, “The Message of Christmas,” in The Catholic World, December 1904 [a little altered
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign…
~Christina G. Rossetti, Time Flies: A Reading Diary, 1886
That is the glory of Christmas. It triumphs over all obstacles; it breaks down all barriers; it flourishes in all countries and in every heart. For the spirit of Christmas fulfills the greatest hunger of mankind. ~Loring Ashley Schuler (1886–1968)
Spirit of Christmas Quotations
Original post date: 1999 Dec 9
1st major revision: 2018 Sept 19