As millions of people prepare to celebrate the joy of Christmas, December 24, Christmas Eve, offers a time to reflect on the quiet magic of the holiday and the excitement of the day ahead.
Here are 14 quotes Newsweek has assembled in honor of the night before.
“It’s Christmas Eve! It’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be.” –Bill Murray as Frank Cross in Scrooged
“I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.” –from “My Christmas Miracle” by Taylor Caldwell
“We got to the moon on Christmas Eve 1968, at the end of a poor year for this country. We had Vietnam. We had civil unrest. We had the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. But we went around the moon and saw the far side for the first time. A script writer couldn’t have done a better job of raising people’s hope.” –Jim Lovell interview with The Financial Times
“I beg people not to accept the seasonal ritual of well-timed charity on Christmas Eve. It’s blasphemy.” –Jonathan Kozol
“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.” –from Song of Years by Beth Street Aldrich
“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!” –from “Christmas Stockings” by M. D. Sterling
“Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, please to put a penny in an old man’s hat; if you haven’t got a penny a ha’penny will do, if you haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you.” –British nursery rhyme
“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” –from “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clark Moore
“Every Christmas Eve, the elves will come and give us a new pair of pajamas. We’ve given up on a lot of traditions because we get lazy and tired, but that is one tradition that we’ve always (stuck) to.” –Sabrina Carpenter interview with The Chicago Tribune
“O holy night the stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices; for yonder breaks a new glorious morn. Fall on your knees, O hear the angels’ voices. O night divine, O night when Christ was born.” –from “O Holy Night” by John Sullivan Dwight
“Since Gladys was the only one in the pageant who had anything to say she made the most of it: ‘Hey! Unto you a child is born!’ she hollered, as if it was, for sure, the best news in the world. And all the shepherds trembled, sore afraid—of Gladys, mainly, but it looked good anyway.” –from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
“On Christmas Eve, we have a duck or roast pork with caramelised potatoes, braised red cabbage and gravy. For dessert, we have ris a l’amande, a rice pudding, and whoever gets the whole almond in it wins an extra present. Then we dance around the tree and sing carols.” –Birgitte Hjort Sørensen interview with Evening Standard Magazine
“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
“Christmas magic is silent. You don’t hear it—you feel it. You know it. You believe it.” –from Paper Bag Christmas by Kevin Alan Milne