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Quotes That Reveal the True Meaning of Christmas

The Christmas season often paints a vivid picture: strings of lights hung in windows and doorways, bright red baubles on pine trees, gleaming stacks of wrapped gifts. Cheerful songs fill the speakers in shops and homes, and scents of fir, clove, and orange linger in the air.

These glitzy overtones tend to be our first associations with the holiday season, sometimes blotting out its deeper meaning. As global spending around the holidays continues to grow, there’s an increasing concern that the holiday's foundational values of joy, kindness, and community have been supplanted by stress and consumerism. But for many, Christmastime still represents a welcome pause in the year, a time to be a little more grateful for the people around us.

Coming just after the winter solstice — the darkest point of the year — the holiday’s bright colors and warm traditions can offer us respite as winter takes hold. Novelist Edna Ferber once said that “Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling.” It’s a sentiment that gets right to the heart of the holiday spirit, and one the following quotes prove to be true.

Seeing is believing, but, sometimes, the most real things in the world are the things we can't see.
— “The Polar Express” (screenwriter Robert Zemeckis)

It was the beginning of the greatest Christmas ever. Little food. No presents. But there was a snowman in their basement.
— Markus Zusak, “The Book Thief”

I don’t care if the house is packed / Or the strings of light are broken / I don’t care if the gifts are wrapped / Or there’s nothing here to open.
— “Love Is Christmas” by Sara Bareilles

Christmas is not a time or a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
— Calvin Coolidge

Christmas to me is as many people as possible happy.
— Tupac Shakur

I don't think Christmas is necessarily about things. It's about being good to one another.
— Carrie Fisher

Mankind is a great, an immense family... This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.
— Pope John XXIII

At Christmas, all roads lead home.
— Marjorie Holmes

The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much.
— Henry David Thoreau

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, author

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.
— Oren Arnold, journalist

That's what Christmas memories are made from. They're not planned, they're not scheduled, nobody puts them in their Blackberry — they just happen.
— “Deck the Halls” (screenwriters Matt Corman, Chris Ord, and Don Rhymer)

There’s a room I need to sit in, surrounded by my favorite view / When I need a hand to hold, a hug to warm me through / Would it be OK if I came home to you?
— “Home to You (This Christmas)” by Sigrid

I realized that Christmas is the time to be with the people you love.
— “Love Actually” (screenwriter Richard Curtis)

​​My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?
— Bob Hope

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!
— Charles Dickens, “The Pickwick Papers”

I've been thinking about what I'd like to give you for Christmas… I suppose the thing I'd like most to be able to give you is hope. Hope that through your own doing and your own living with others, you'll be able to find what best fits for you in this life.
— Fred Rogers

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.
— Laura Ingalls Wilder

Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today's Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.
— Gladys Bagg Taber, author

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.
― Charles M. Schulz

Photo credit: golubovy/ iStock

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About the Author
Paola Bennet
Paola Bennet is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She writes a fortnightly newsletter that treasures the mundane, called Small Histories. Find her on Instagram @paolafbennet.
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