Literary Quotations About Christmas/Winter
Christmas Quotations in Literature (Novels)
Louisa May Alcott was a 19th-century American novelist most well-known for the classic, Little Women (1868). In the novel, she describes Christmas almost as if it were a presence:
“The rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned, and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads and serious faces with a Christmas greeting.” –Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
George Eliot (another favorite female author; her real name was Mary Ann Evans and “George Eliot” served as her pen name) wrote, in The Mill on the Floss (1860), of the gifts that Father Christmas (Santa Claus) bestows along with a winter wonderland setting:
“Fine old Christmas, with the snowy hair and ruddy face, had done his duty that year in the noblest fashion, and had set off his rich gifts of warmth and color with all the heightening contrast of frost and snow.” –George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss
A childhood favorite, especially during the holidays, is Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957). It is in this playful yet wise story that we learn the true meaning of Christmas. Even the Grinch is overcome by love, community, and togetherness. This quotation is a favorite for children and adults alike:
“Christmas will always be as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand.” –Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Finally, another absolute classic that is a must-read for the holiday season is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843), a tale of Ebenezer Scrooge (a curmudgeon who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve) who mends his ways and becomes a beacon of kindness and generosity.
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” –Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was one of the greatest American poets of the nineteenth century (some of his most celebrated poems include “The Children’s Hour” (1863) and “Excelsior” (1842). His beautiful poem, “Christmas Bells” (1863) is a festive holiday favorite that was even made into a Christmas carol called “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” (1872). Here is an excerpt from Longfellow’s poem, “Christmas Bells”:
“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!”
Finally, John Updike (the Pulitzer Prize-winning 20th century American novelist and poet) wrote a poem entitled “December” that is not only lyrically brilliant but wonderfully festive and makes for perfect reading material this time of year.
“December” by John Updike
First snow! The flakes,
So few, so light,
Remake the world
In solid white
All bundled up,
We feel as if
We were fat penguins,
Warm and stiff.
The toy-packed shops
Half split their sides,
And Mother brings home
Things she hides.
Old carols peal.
The dusk is dense.
There is a mood
Of sweet suspense.
The shepherds wait,
The kings, the tree –
All wait for something
Yet to be,
And then it’s here,
Wrapped up in hope –
For more information on the writers and literary excerpts mentioned in this blog, consult the websites below: