Holiday/New Year's quotes for holiday cards
November 27, 2016 4:41 PM   Subscribe

I'm planning my holiday cards, which I make myself every year. I'm not feeling particularly cheery or optimistic about the world right now, and none of the rubber stamps with short messages (Happy Holidays!, Merry and Bright!, etc.) that I have are really grabbing me. I'm trying to find a good quote to print inside that acknowledges, without directly talking about it, the dumpster fire that has been 2016.

To give you an idea of what I'm looking for, a few I'm partial to right now are:
-"And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been." - Rainer Maria Rilke
-"Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go." - Brooks Atkinson (though I'm not crazy about using something with God in it)
-"The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.” - GK Chesterton
-"For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” - TS Eliot

The quote doesn't need to be about new year's specifically, these are just the ones I've found so far that I've liked. Any suggestions? Thanks!
posted by skycrashesdown to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Here And Now, You Are Alive. (Terry Pratchett)

If you want to print a whole poem to drop in, I suggest Incantation.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:43 PM on November 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

this recent question might have some useful answers.
posted by andrewcooke at 5:01 PM on November 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks for "Incantation". I needed to read that.
posted by mermayd at 5:08 PM on November 27, 2016

....Hmmm....(pulls her THREE books of familiar quotations off shelf)

"The present is the spinning wheel, the past the thread with which we spin the future the wool for men to weave their years." Benjamin Mandelstamm

"If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past." Baruch Spinoza

"Time is a circus always packing up and moving away." Ben Hecht

"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us." Hal Borland

"Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'It will be happier.'" Alfred, Lord Tennyson

"Ring out the false, ring in the true." (also Alfred L.T.)

"Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man." Benjamin Franklin

"Let our New Year's resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word." Goran Persson
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:11 PM on November 27, 2016 [8 favorites]

I've long used peace between us as my holiday greeting. This year it's changing. Peace among all.

In Latin, that's pax in omnes if you want.
posted by vers at 5:14 PM on November 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Marge Piercy has something to say about this: The Birthday of the World:

...Give me weapons
of minute destruction. Let
my words turn into sparks.

It's passionate and fiery, about a personal vow to work for change. Not sure if it's quite what you're after, but here it is, just in case.

Less overtly political but also hopeful poems:

To the New Year , by W.S. Merwin

Burning the Old Year, by Naomi Shihab Nye

Your Luck is About to Change, by Susan Elizabeth Howe (this one may not be as appropriate because the speaker is reflecting on a good year and doesn't want her luck to change, but it is quite funny and hopeful, and I like the title)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:24 PM on November 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

I like this Dr Who quote from the Christmas Carol episode. "On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact mid-point, everybody stops and turns and hugs, as if to say, well done. Well done, everyone. We're halfway out of the dark."
posted by Shanda at 6:00 PM on November 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

I was considering going with "Fuck 2016" myself.

If you want to pretty it up a little, I suppose you could say "Fuck 2016, looking forward to 2020"
posted by Joh at 6:24 PM on November 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

"Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go."

"The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.”

I like both of these. As someone who is used to receiving a lot more cards than I send and is feeling similarly demoralized, I would receive a more explicitly political message with great delight, if your goal is to delight the recipient. Something like "May we stay close to each other in 2017 and resist enthusiastically and with our whole hearts, so that we may go on living and loving one another!"
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:52 PM on November 27, 2016

Here are some you may be able to do something with:

- - -

Let us withdraw from the cold and barren world of prosaic fact if only for a season; that we may warm ourselves by the fireside of fancy, and take counsel of the wisdom of poetry and legend.
– David Rhys Williams

- - -

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around us in awareness.
– James Thurber

- - -

It’s no good quitting, there is always the smallest bit of light in the darkest of hells.
– Charles Bukowski

- - -

This used to be a government of checks and balances. Now it’s all checks and no balances.
– Gracie Allen

- - -

Men may be reasoning animals, but they are rarely reasonable.
– Alexander Hamilton

- - -

What the world needs is more false cheer. And less honest crabbiness.
– Miss Manners (Judith Martin)

- - -

Perhaps we should begin by reminding ourselves and our children that it wasn’t always like this.
– Tony Judt

- - -

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
– Albert Camus

- - -

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
– Albert Camus

- - -

What Nietzsche should have said is, “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you watch a lot of Cartoon Network and drink mid-price Chardonnay at 11 in the morning.”
– Conan O’Brien

- - -

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.
– Helen Keller

- - -

Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred.
– Vaclav Havel

- - -

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
– Mary Anne Radmacher

- - -

Sometimes the law is what it is – an ass. By communal consent, we tolerate outcomes that don’t always suit us because the alternative of settling disagreements in the streets is less appealing.
– Kathleen Parker

- - -

New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.
– Lao Tzu

- - -

Life is a bit hard sometimes, and sometimes you have to step up and fight fights that you never signed up for.
– Joel Spolsky

- - -

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.
– Prince Rogers Nelson

- - -

And I've taken up quite enough space in this thread. I hope this helps in some way, even if it just shows you more clearly what you don't want to use.
posted by bryon at 10:50 PM on November 27, 2016 [6 favorites]

I also can't bear to send cards without some acknowledgement of where I stand in this current political climate, but don't want to be either confrontational or dire. I've decided to use these lines from Langston Hughes' Let America Be America Again:
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
These lines on their own are positive and affirmational, but the rest of the poem has a sharp edge if anyone goes to seek it out. And I hope some will.
posted by kittydelsol at 7:32 PM on December 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

All of these are wonderful. I think I'll include the full text of "To the New Year", thank you hurdy gurdy girl. (The front of the card will just say "Peace" in big letters with a couple snowflakes stamped in the corners.
posted by skycrashesdown at 2:09 PM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

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