10 Quotes From Books About The Holidays & How Difficult They Can Truly Be

Samantha Estrada/Stocksy

The holiday season can be a bittersweet time, no matter how or if you're celebrating. Sure, it's supposedly "the most wonderful time of the year," but it can actually be difficult for many people to enjoy the holidays. There's the strain on your finances, the tension of family gatherings, the stress to get everything done in time, the grief over missing loved ones — and on top of it all, the pressure to be having fun. It can all be very exhausting.

But if you're having a tough time over the holidays, you're definitely not alone. Despite what the cheery songs and loud commercials are shouting at you, this is not a season in which happiness is guaranteed. It's totally OK if you're not feeling particularly holly jolly this December. You might be gritting your teeth, but you will get through this.

So, in the spirit of the giving, my present to you this holiday season is some solidarity. Here are 10 literary quotes about the difficulties of the holidays that will hopefully put to words some of the complicated feelings you might be experiencing.

"One of the hurdles of adulthood is when holidays become measuring sticks against which you always fall short. For children, Thanksgiving is about turkey and Christmas is about presents. Grown up, you learn that all holidays are about family and few can win there.”

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— Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

"This, after all, was the month in which families began tightening and closing and sealing; from Thanksgiving to the New Year, everybody's world contracted, day by day, into the microcosmic single festive household, each with its own rituals and obsessions, rules and dreams. You didn't feel you could call people. They didn't feel they could phone you. How does one cry for help from these seasonal prisons?”

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— Zadie Smith, On Beauty

"My primary thoughts during the holidays are 'Stab. Stab. Stab. Run away.'"

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"I felt overstuffed and dull and disappointed, the way I always do the day after Christmas, as if whatever it was the pine boughs and the candles and the silver and gilt-ribboned presents and the birch-log fires and the Christmas turkey and the carols at the piano promised never came to pass."

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— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

"It makes one's mouth hurt to speak with such forced merriment.”

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― David Sedaris, Holidays on Ice

"Christmas is supposed to be this time when everyone is nice to one another and forgives one another and all that, but the true meaning of Christmas is presents. And in the real world, Santa’s not fair. Rich kids get everything and poor kids get secondhand crap their parents bust their asses to afford. It costs money just to sit on Santa’s lap.”

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― Holly Black, in a story for My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

"It seems wrong and unfair that Christmas, with its stressful and unmanageable financial and emotional challenges, should first be forced upon one wholly against one's will, then rudely snatched away just when one is starting to get into it. Was really beginning to enjoy the feeling that normal service was suspended and it was OK to lie in bed as long as you want, put anything you fancy into your mouth, and drink alcohol whenever it should chance to pass your way, even in the mornings. Now suddenly we are all supposed to snap into self-discipline like lean teenage greyhounds.”

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― Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary

“To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult with every year.”

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“Christmas it seems to me is a necessary festival; we require a season when we can regret all the flaws in our human relationships: it is the feast of failure, sad but consoling.”

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—Graham Greene, Travels With My Aunt

"It struck him that how you spent Christmas was a message to the world about where you were in life, some indication of how deep a hole you had managed to burrow for yourself."

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― Nick Hornby, About a Boy