There is something peculiar in this evening. We feel a gladness without exactly knowing why. However old one may be, he becomes really one of the children; and even if he knows that there is no one in the wide world to think of making him the smallest kind of a present, yet he believes and hopes there is one coming, whenever he hears a footstep on the stairs, or any person opens the door. ~C.C. Shackford (1815–1891), "Christmas Eve in Germany," c.1870, from the German [Mr Shackford passed away on Christmas Day, 1891. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Welcome to my page of Christmas Eve quotes! I've spent many, many hours digging through old books to find these gems about the magical night before Christmas. Also be sure to check out my page of quotes for Christmas Day and New Year. Enjoy! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g
Christmas Eve came at last. The day was bright and beautiful, the ground crisp and hard, and the hoary trees shining like diamonds! What a happy day it brought to many, to most! Even in the poorest village a little green fir branch testified that it was Christmas Eve. ~Amy Campbell, "Christmas Eve," 1872
Christmas Eve has come at last,
That day of all most glad—
The angels sing with joy and praise,
Christmas Eve has come at last—
That day of all most blest.
~Amy Campbell, "Christmas Hymn," c.1872
Christmas Eve ought to be a very joyful evening to us in all its associations, in all the truths which it naturally brings to the soul.... A man's soul is to be as the heavens were on the night when the shepherds looked up and saw them full of angels as well as stars. ~Henry Ward Beecher (1813–1887)
Do you remember, in the old days,
How you gathered around the cheerful blaze
On Christmas eve, while the winds sang low
Across the limitless fields of snow?
It was winter without, but what cared you?
In your heart was summer, for well you knew
'Twould be Christmas to-morrow; and can you see,
Within the mirror of Memory,
When stockings were hung and prayers were said
And your mother had tucked you safe in bed,
How you sneaked downstairs at the dawn's first light
To see what Santa had brought that night?
~J.A. Edgerton, "At Christmas Time," in The Coming Age, December 1899
If you listened above the din of the talking you could hear the wind in the chimney turn into music. Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever. Even though you grew up and found you could never quite bring back the magic feeling of this night, the melody would stay in your heart always—a song for all the years. ~Bess Streeter Aldrich (1881-1954), Song of Years
Santa Claus is jolly, sir;
Santa Claus is kind, sir;
Santa Claus on Christmas eve
Comes riding on the wind, sir.
Have you not seen our Santa Claus,
With hair so snowy white, sir?
Just hang your stocking Christmas eve,—
He'll come that very night, sir.
And if you watch, perhaps you'll see
This friend in furs hid deep, sir.
But I have never seen him once—
I'm always fast asleep, sir.
~M. Nora Boylan, "Old Santa Claus," c. late 1800s [To be sung to the tune of "Yankee Doodle." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
O child... it is only for thirty-six hours of the three hundred and sixty-five days, that all people remember that they are all brothers and sisters, and those are the hours that we call, therefore, Christmas eve and Christmas day. ~Edward E. Hale, "Christmas Waits in Boston," If, Yes, and Perhaps: Four Possibilities and Six Exaggerations, With Some Bits of Fact, 1868 [Originally written for the Boston Daily Advertiser, 1867, Hale recalling a scrap of Mr. Ingham's memoirs. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
What Eve is like the Christmas Eve?...
In any land,
A day so grand—
So pure as Christmas Day.
~Louis Charles, "Christmas Eve, Ten Years Ago," 1878
The bleak night wind is blowing shrill,
And hissing low
Above the snow,
The night is almost past;
The busy streets are hushed and still,
From all around,
No single sound—
'T is Christmas Eve at last!
~Louis Charles, "Christmas Eve, Ten Years Ago," 1878
Christmas Eve, and the tree blazed with lights. ~Amy Campbell, "Christmas Eve," 1872 [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Soon will old Santa Claus arrive,
On Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve...
Long live the Christmas fairy who
Has taught the good we ought to do,
And ever, ever keep in view,
On Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve,
Not only self, but others too,
On Christmas Eve, tra la!
~M.D. Sterling, "Christmas Stockings," c. late 1800s [Sung to the air of college song, "Upidee." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Were we any different? I think not, papa; for I recollect very well that I used to try to peep through the key-hole on Christmas Eve, and was greatly vexed that my good mother always hung a cloth before it. ~C.C. Shackford, "Christmas Eve in Germany," c.1870, from the German
Christmas Eve and tomorrow I'll get my gifts, everything that heart could wish. ~Margaret Dean Stevens (Bess Streeter Aldrich), "The Madonna of the Purple Dots," 1907
The festivity of this holy time is greatly enhanced by our knowing, that while we are rejoicing at the splendor of the lights, at the jubilee of the children, and their sparkling eyes, millions of people in every part of the great earth have the same feeling, and that the same thrill of joy pervades the whole world during these evening hours. In how many places have I passed this holy season! In the farthest south, there is the same rejoicing, as in the north; light and life triumph over darkness and death, and so everywhere, the holy Christmas Eve gladdens the eyes and hearts of men with the splendor of lights, and tries to chase away the gloom of the night. ~C.C. Shackford, "Christmas Eve in Germany," c.1870, from the German
It was still quite light, and the streets were thronged with old and young, engaged either in buying little Christmas gifts at this last moment, or in looking into the brilliantly lighted windows and enjoying the fun and happiness that Christmas Eve always seems to bring. ~Archibald Campbell Knowles, "Old Grumps," c.1893
I had been jostled by the hurrying crowd all day. Women hurrying into or out of dry goods stores, toy shops, china stores, men coming from or going into jewelry stores, all were bright, merry, and good-natured.... It was snowing hard, but no one minded it; no umbrellas were raised to impede the energetic progress of those busy feet. Christmas Eve! Who cares for rain or wind or sleet? for hearts and minds are engaged with pleasant works and thoughts, and everything is forgotten but the joy of making others happy. And snow! It is received with shouts of welcome, and people walk around like white feathered creatures, thinking of the merry bells that will signal a crowning joy for the holiday. ~Mrs. C.K. Reifsnider, "The Implement Man's Christmas Vision," in The Coming Age, December 1899
It is Christmas Eve, and the fairies come to good children and bring them gingerbread. ~C.C. Shackford, "Christmas Eve in Germany," c.1870, from the German
[T]reating them to ginger-snaps, because it was Christmas Eve. ~Edward E. Hale, "They Saw A Great Light: A Christmas Story," 1873
Now the joyful sound is at the heart of Christmas. No time in the year, beside, is so full of this blessing. Christmas time is the crown, and Christmas Day the rare jewel in the crown of it all. In my dear old mother-land, where holidays come far more frequently than we can as yet permit them to come in this new world, Christmas always has a peerless place. In my childhood, as it drew near, "the earnest expectation of the creature" would grow to be almost intolerable. How well I remember,—the yule-cake in the oven and the great yule-log kindled from a bit of the old log—and on Christmas Eve, a slumber troubled with excess of joy, up to midnight; with the joyful clash of the church-bells following the last stroke of the clock, and ushering in the Christmas morning. Then a tumult of joy, breaking out everywhere into "Merry Christmas!" and transmuting one of the shortest days into by far the longest day of the year; while every cottage was decked with bright holly, green as the green of June. So the Christmas of our childhood abides in our life, an indestructible substance of joy. ~Robert Collyer, "The Joyful Sound," c.1870 [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
There's a sound of a festive morrow,
It rings with delight o'er the snow,
Dispelling the shadows of sorrow
With promise that makes the heart glow...
An angel peeps in at the window,
And smiles as he looketh around,
And kisses the mistletoe berries
That wave o'er the love-hallow'd ground.
~Rowland Brown, "Christmas Eve," Songs of Early Spring, with Lays of Later Life, 1872
Dwelling-houses and shops were ornamented with branches of laurel and wreaths of holly. There are in abundance meats and vegetables and fruits of all kinds, pastry and confectionery, colored and shaped in so many ways that it would be impossible to describe them. I see passing before me on the panorama all the kind souls that on Christmas Eve are busying themselves to find out the many whose limited means will not allow them to distinguish the morrow from other days. ~I.B. Torricelli, "Christmas in Italy," c.1870 [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Though I sit in darkness this Christmas eve,
I know that the world is fair,
And the musical chime of the Christmas bells
Will ring on the morning air.
~Lilian Whiting, "A Christmas Message," From Dreamland Sent, 1895
The old man became silent; the children were silent too, and the room was so still they could hear the ticking of the clock in the corner. It was one of those moments of solemn stillness, when it is said an angel flies through the room. They felt the good angel hovering near. With lips slightly parted in a smile and a beaming star over her brow, she blessed them and said,—"Be calm; be hopeful. More beautiful than ever before shall be this Christmas Eve." ~C.C. Shackford, "Christmas Eve in Germany," c.1870, from the German [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Christmas-eve dawned upon a heavy fall of snow. There were two tiny baskets of holly berries. They put a sprig of wax-flowers and strawberry balls in the holly wreath, and then went off to the belfry where all the singers were assembled. The grand old peal rang out full and strong on the midnight air, and the tower rocked and quivered to the swing of the bells, and the first hour of Christ's own day began. The singing and bells ceased at about one, and the church was left alone. The sounds had hardly died away when suddenly, in the stillness of the empty church, shone a great and golden light, and the angels came down to see the work that had been done for their King. ~Anonymous, "What the Angels Saw on Christmas-Eve," 1881 [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Unbar your heart this evening
And keep no stranger out,
Take from your soul's great portal
The barrier of doubt.
To humble folk and weary
Give hearty welcoming,
Your breast shall be to-morrow
The cradle of a King.
~Joyce Kilmer, "Gates and Doors: A Ballad of Christmas Eve," 1915
In those old days—those fair old days—what fancies would we weave
When we sat, waiting for the old Saint to come on Christmas Eve!
The stockings, limp and shadow-like against the ruddy glow,
Agape in their expectancy, swung in a slanting row
That matched the difference in height of all our wond'ring heads—
We watched the fairy flames toss up their wealth of jewel-reds...
O still the child-heart throbs its songs and still the child-soul lives...
We hush the knowledge that we have and struggle to believe
The wonder-tales we know are true—the tales of Christmas Eve...
We nod in time to childish rhyme, to songs we had forgot,
We clutch the golden memories of days that now are not;
And O! the night is very long, the hour is grievous late,
But still, with olden faith regained, we bide our time and wait.
And from the door of youth our dream the barring curtain draws,
And we—aye, we, as children all—still wait for Santa Claus!
~Wilbur D. Nesbit, "Waiting," in The Reader: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine, December 1905
It is the blessed Christmas-tide, the eve of the holy Christmas Day. The snow-flakes are falling softly and silently, as do the blessings of the season, on all who greet it with hearts pure, loving, and true.... It is spreading a winding sheet over the plains, loading down the fir-boughs in the forests, and lies in heaps upon the thatch of the woodcutter's cottage, whitening the monastery, its walls and eaves, putting snowy crowns on the castle's ancient towers, frosting the cities, incrusting spire and chimney, building and town. The whole world seems enveloped in the storm this Christmas eve. ~Annie I. Willis, "Welcome to Christmas," c.1876
At midnight's hour the solemn sound,
The moaning swell
Hark, to the sound of that mystic bell,
Steals o'er my heart like a magic spell!
Tolls this bell upon my ear
A cloud of frosty light
So soft and clear,
This long December night—
A chant of praise,
For peaceful days.
Christmas Eve, watching the fire,
This dreary night, with visions bright;
Cheerful faces gladden my Christmas Eve
Upon a ghostly Winter's night.
~Louis Charles, "Christmas Eve, Ten Years Ago," 1878 [Abridged, intense sadness purged. Forgive me, please, dear Mr Charles, I transformed your beautiful but mournful poem to cheer. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Ghosts never appear on Christmas Eve. ~English proverb [M. Aislabie Denham, W. Carew Hazlitt, mid-1800s —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
When the boys were in the parlor, so fragrant, so bright, and saw the beautiful Nativity arranged there, unbounded delight flooded their hearts. Who is he that has seen a Nativity and has not felt it? Who has not found himself there in that fantastic world of cork and gummed paper, with its shadowy caves, the sweet and simple achronisms, the animals reposing with all ease and swollen to dimensions unknown to naturalists? The smuggler with his Spanish cloak and slouch hat, who with a load of tobacco hides behind a paper rock to give free passage to the three kings journeying in all their glory along the lofty summits of those cork Alps? Who does not feel an inexplicable pleasure at seeing that little donkey, laden with firewood, passing over a proud bridge of paper stone? Do you not take comfort in the heat of that ruddy bonfire which the shepherds are kindling to warm the Holy Child? Does it not make you happy to see the shepherds dance? The creatures of this enchanting scene, would you not think that they had gathered here from the four quarters of the earth? And, above all, do you not adore with tender reverence the Divine Mystery contained in that humble porch with its thatch of straw and, in its depths, a halo or glory of light? The aureole surrounding the manger seems to glow not as a transparency with candles placed behind it, but with a reflection of celestial light. I say it frankly,—on that holy and merry Christmas Eve, all these things seem to me to live and feel; these little figures of clay, shaped by clumsy hands, placed there with such faith and such devotion, seem to me to receive breath and being from the joy and enthusiasm that reign. The star which guides the Magi, tinsel and glass though it is, seems to me to shine and shoot forth rays. ~Fernán Caballero, Holy Night: A Story of Christmas Eve in Andalusia, translated from Spanish by Katharine Lee Bates [The "Good Night" in Spain, a little altered. Pseudonym of Cecilia Böhl von Faber (1796–1877). —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there....
~Clement Clarke Moore, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," 1823
Even as an adult I find it difficult to sleep on Christmas Eve. Yuletide excitement is a potent caffeine, no matter your age. ~Terri Guillemets, 2005
There are other books of the heart around me, but on Christmas Eve it is Alexander Smith's "Dreamthorp" which always seems to lie at my hand, and when I take it up the well-worn volume falls open at the essay on "Christmas." It is a good many years since Rosalind and I began to read together on Christmas Eve this beautiful meditation on the season, and now it has gathered about itself such a host of memories that it has become part of our common past. ~Hamilton Wright Mabie, "My Study Fire: Christmas Eve," 1885
I'll just help you get the tired little folks off to bed, and then we'll go out and do our bit of Christmas Eve marketing. ~Nelsie Brook (Ellen Edith Alice Ross), "George Ranford's Happy Christmas Eve," 1874 [Guess they were last-minute shoppers even back in the day, eh. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
All my heart this night rejoices,
As I hear,
Far and near,
Sweetest angel voices...
Their choirs are singing,
Till the air
Now with joy is ringing.
~Paul Gerhardt, "All My Heart This Night Rejoices," 1656, translated from German by Catherine Winkworth
The yule-log is a huge log which is placed on the fire on Christmas eve, and which in Burgundy is called, on this account, lai Suche de Noel. The father of the family sings solemnly Christmas carols with his wife and children, the smallest of whom he sends into the corner to pray that the yule-log may bear him some sugar-plums. Meanwhile, little parcels of them are placed under each end of the log, and the children come and pick them up, believing, in good faith, that the great log has borne them. ~Definition of suche in notes to Longfellow's works [la Bûche de Noël —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Santa Claus comes down the chimney on Christmas eve, and puts nuts, cakes, sugarplums, and pieces of money into hung stockings. In the morning, children take delight in the treasures! ~Anonymous, c.1842
Why is Christmas Eve such a happy day? I say a little hymn about happy, happy Christmas. ~Amy Campbell, "Christmas Eve," 1872