40 Best Holiday Quotes That Capture the Warmth of the Season
However you celebrate, let these holiday quotes warm your heart and remind you of the true spirit of the season.
Happy holidays to you
Hanukkah Sameach! Merry Christmas! Heri za Kwanza! However you celebrate this magical season, we at Reader’s Digest send you our sincere holiday greetings. May this time of year be a reminder of the important things in life—and an excuse to try out some delicious new Christmas cookie recipes.
The holidays have a way of filling us with feelings of wonder and gratitude. We found the best lyrics, sayings, poems, and other holiday quotes that perfectly put those feelings are perfectly put to words. Read on for moving quotes to share this and every holiday season.
“Freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin—inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night.” —John J. Geddes
There’s nothing like a scene of trees covered in snow that let you know the holidays are here, just like these beautiful photos of snow in our national parks.
A moment to pause
“A holiday is an opportunity to journey within.” —Prabhas
Take time to reflect on how you can make this holiday more meaningful, whether that’s going to a religious service, volunteering for charity, or starting one of these new holiday traditions.
Be a light
“A candle is a small thing. But one candle can light another. And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other. You are such a light.” —Moshe Davis
This sentiment is universal, but it’s especially relevant during Hanukkah. In case you didn’t know, this is why we light menorahs for Hanukkah.
Faith and service
“It is faith in our people and service to them that grounds our lives, gives meaning to our work and victorious movement to our struggle.” —Dr. Maulana Karenga
This powerful quote from the 2019 Annual Founder’s Kwanzaa Message explains why community is so important during the holiday and year-round. Dr. Karenga founded the holiday in 1966, when he was only 25 years old. Here are more things we bet you didn’t know about Kwanzaa.
Embrace the mystery
“Come, let us embrace the mystery in the spirit of life, as we celebrate the goodness of Kwanzaa and the African American heritage. Come and give thanks for companions on the journey in the struggle for freedom and justice.” —Addae Ama Kraba
This selection from “A Prayer for Kwanzaa” reminds us that while we may not know where life takes us, we will never be alone on the journey. This rings especially true in these photos of unity that we all need to see.
“Sometimes, a flame can be utterly extinguished. Sometimes, a flame can shrink and waver, but sometimes a flame refuses to go out. It flares up from the faintest ember to illuminate the darkness, to burn in spite of overwhelming odds.” —Karen Hesse
Messages of light overcoming darkness are powerful during the winter holidays, especially Hanukkah. Let the words of Karen Hesse and these other uplifting quotes about hope inspire your celebrations.
A children’s story
“I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.”—Fred Rogers
Mr. Rogers always found the good in everything. He even taught us how to bring childlike wonder back to the holidays. Whether it’s the holiday season or not, we can all benefit from these good neighbor lessons from Mr. Rogers.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” —Oprah Winfrey
The holidays are a wonderful time to reflect on what you’re thankful for. Use these 16 quotes about gratitude to remind yourself to give thanks every single day.
The blessed season
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” —Hamilton Wright Mabie
The holidays mean different things to different people, but there’s always one common denominator: love. This year, brush up on these holiday fun facts.
A place of comfort
“The weary ones, the sad, the suffering,
All found their comfort in the holy place,
And children’s gladness and men’s gratitude
Took voice and mingled in the chant of praise.” —Emma Lazarus
Hanukkah is more than a holiday. It is a source of comfort and joy, just as this excerpt from the poem, “In the Jewish Synagogue at Newport,” shows.
Energy of love
“Can’t you see the sun is shining
Bringing energies of love?
Come, my people, unite together;
Wake up, stand up, be the love for all!” —Sonia Dixon
Unity, or umoja, is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. It includes unity within the family, between generations, throughout one’s community, and among Africans worldwide, as they share the glory of their history and struggle for liberation.
Changing the world with faith
“Never believe that a handful of dedicated people can’t change the world. Inspired by faith, they can. The Maccabees did then. So can we today.” —Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
This quote from Rabbi Sacks inspires a message of resilience through faith for all Jewish people.
God’s love at Christmas time
“It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you.” —Saint Teresa of Calcutta
When we take Mother Teresa’s words to heart, it can be Christmas every day. Here are more powerful Mother Teresa quotes that will stay with you.
“Let us not engage the world hurriedly.” —Odu Ifa
It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle that accompany the holidays, but this quote from the Kwanzaa meditation “Odu Ifa” reminds us to slow down and appreciate what’s around us.
“The spirit of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is shared by all people who love freedom.” —Norma Simon
While Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabees regaining their freedom from the Syrian Greeks, its celebration of the freedom of religion is universal. Read up on more Hanukkah facts you never knew.
“Kwanzaa’s seven principles—unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith—are also shared values that bind us as Americans. And in the spirit of the season, we reflect on the blessings of the past year and commit to building a brighter future for all our children.” —President Barack Obama
Former President Obama shared this uplifting message in an official statement on Kwanzaa in 2015. American presidents have their own unique holiday traditions, from statements to official decorations, like these White House Christmas ornaments throughout the years.
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” —Anne Frank
Candles are a meaningful symbol throughout the holidays. They’re used in menorahs for Hanukkah, Advent wreaths leading up to Christmas, and Kinaras for Kwanzaa.
Overcoming the darkness
“This is the season when people of all faiths and cultures are pushing back against the planetary darkness. We string bulbs, ignite bonfires, and light candles. And we sing.” —Anita Diamant
It’s no coincidence that so many holidays take place around the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. People have long found ways to celebrate despite the darkness, like through these fascinating winter solstice traditions from around the world.
“When I light each Hanukkah candle, I am reminded of my Jewish roots, the mission to repair this world, and the need to be a blessing to others.” —Sandy Sherman
Musician Sandy Sherman put those reminders to music with her Hanukkah song, “There’s Something About Those Candles.” Learn the history behind your favorite Christmas carols.
Get past the commercialism
“Sharing the holiday with other people, and feeling that you’re giving of yourself, gets you past all the commercialism.” —Caroline Kennedy
We kick off the holiday season with Thanksgiving, the perfect day to focusing on the people in your life rather than commercial possessions.
“We need about seven days to figure out who we are and where we’re at and love each other. It’s a time for reflection to help us try to figure out how we’re gonna enjoy the next year.” —Chuck D
Rapper Chuck D is referencing the seven days of Kwanzaa, but his message can be applied to the entire holiday season.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” —Buddy the Elf
It’s not the holiday season until you hear this famous quote from the movie, Elf. Once you’re done singing, keep spreading the cheer by watching the best Christmas movies of all time.
“To many people, holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance.” —Philip Andrew Adams
We can all use a dose of reassurance once in a while, if for no other reason than to remind ourselves of the goodness and joy in the world. What better time to do that than the holidays?
“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” —Norman Vincent Peale
Christmas magic appears in the most unexpected places, from a kitchen that smells of cookies to a yard housing newly built snowmen. Learn about the history behind these favorite Christmas traditions.
Time to reconnect
“Kwanzaa is powerful in its ability to reconnect people with certain principles.” —MK Asante
When we reconnect with those principles—unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith—we recommit to practicing them all year round.
“Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing, but of reflection.” —Winston Churchill
It’s easy to take certain holiday traditions for granted. Did you know it used to be illegal to have Christmas dinner? Read up on this Christmas trivia you probably didn’t know to find out why.
Illuminate the darkness
“The light of kindness and goodness in our heart is ultimately what we must tap into. We do not so much ‘fight the darkness (of hate and bigotry)’ as we illuminate it when we unite our own inner light with the inner light shining in our fellow brothers and sisters.” —Aimee Ginsburg Bikel
With this quote, writer Aimee Ginsburg Bikel captures how the lights of Hanukkah unite Jewish people around the world and combat the darkness of antisemitism.
Sing, sing, sing
“Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won.” —James Weldon Johnson
These lyrics from the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” reflect a central theme of Kwanzaa: acknowledging the struggle of the African people and the hope that comes from the struggle. This song, also called the Black National Anthem, was written by American writer and civil rights leader James Weldon Johnson.
God finds space
“The message of Christmas makes us recognize the darkness of a closed world, and thereby no doubt illustrates a reality that we see daily. Yet it also tells us that God does not allow Himself to be shut out. He finds a space, even if it means entering through the stable.” —Pope Benedict XVI
The imagery of Jesus being born in a meager stable is a humbling, but comforting message to Christians around the world, especially at Christmas time.
Past, present, and future
“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.” —Agnes Mae Pharo
During this season of wishing peace on earth and goodwill to men, we encourage you to reflect on these moving quotes about peace from world leaders.
“Hanukkah is about the spark of the divine in all of us made in God’s image.” —Suzanne Fields
God’s spark within us becomes front of mind during Hanukkah, and it isn’t extinguished once the holiday ends.
Home for Christmas
“At Christmas, all roads lead home.” —Marjorie Holmes
There’s no place like home for the holidays, especially if you live in one of the best Christmas towns in America.
Pride in our roots
“What I also hold dear about Kwanzaa is that it teaches us all pride in our African heritage, our roots.” —Synthia Saint James
Celebrating African heritage is one of the reasons Kwanzaa was founded, and it remains at the forefront of the holiday. Artist Synthia Saint James used that pride in her heritage when she designed the first Kwanzaa stamp for the U.S. Postal Service in 1997.
The comfort of winter
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”—Edith Sitwell
Instead of walking in a cold winter wonderland, stay inside and enjoy these rare, vintage photos of what winter used to look like.
A holiday of the spirit
“I see Kwanzaa as an opportunity for African-Americans to reaffirm ourselves if we choose to, a chance to rebuild and renew our focus. I see Kwanzaa as a holiday of the spirit.” —Jessica Harris
With the new year right around the corner, Kwanzaa is an opportune time to take inventory of who you are and what you believe and then commit to those values moving forward.
Hope and forgiveness
“Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.” —Maya Angelou
The “Black woman’s poet laureate” had such a way with words. Get inspired by Maya Angelou’s most memorable quotes.
“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
When we’re surrounded by loved ones during the holidays, we’re reminded that selfless acts of love are the most important gifts.
“Often, it is through simple and unrecognized miracles that we are able to feel the warmth of hope and light.” —Rabbi Rafael Goldstein
Be inspired by the mystery and awe of this season with these true miracles that will restore your hope for the holidays.
A merry feast
“Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.” —William Shakespeare
We’re not sure how William Shakespeare celebrated the holidays, but he sure knows the ingredients for a festive party! Stay in the holiday spirit with these funny Christmas quotes that’ll have you laughing through the holidays.