12 Quotes on Generosity to Remind You of the Real Meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas

This time of year, I like to remind myself that it is the season of giving, not the season of getting.

This time of year, I like to remind myself that it is the season of giving, not the season of getting.


Simone Weil (1909-1943), a French philosopher, was the first woman ever admitted to École Normale. She worked as a factory laborer while teaching philosophy and advocating for workers’ groups. [1]

This quote is a great reminder that generosity is about more than money. Especially in this busy time of year, generosity includes our time and attention as well.


Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) was the son of a Jewish merchant who immigrated to the Netherlands after the Portuguese Inquisition. His work in philosophy paved the way for modern rationalism. [2]

So often in my work, I am reminded that students will not learn anything from me if they don’t first understand that I care about them. 


Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was an American novelist best known for The Scarlet Letter. [3]

I like this quote’s juxtaposition of generosity with the bolder image evoked by the word justice. 


Barbara Bush (1925-2018), wife of President George H.W. Bush, is an excellent example of generosity. She taught Sunday school and volunteered for a local theater group, YMCA, and the United Way. Appalled by the racism she witnessed on a cross-country trip with two African-American women, she became a supporter of the United Negro College Fund. As the daughter of a magazine publisher and mother to a son with dyslexia, she was also an avid supporter of literacy programs.[4]

I often allow minor inconveniences to blind me to the needs of others. This quote is a good reminder that no matter how hurried I am, I can pause to be kind to others. 


Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was the British Prime Minister during World War II. He is also the author of more than forty books, and he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.[5]

Work can be a major source of stress in my life. This is a good reminder that there is more to life than work. 


Muhammad Ali (1942-2016) was an Olympic Gold medalist and heavyweight boxing champion. A convert to Islam, he was outspoken on issues of race, religion, and politics. He spent the years following his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease traveling the world on humanitarian missions. In 2002, he traveled to Afghanistan as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.[6]

Here is a man who made his living beating people up, yet he still had a heart filled with generosity. 


A World War II baby, Patch Adams became a physician and clown whose mission is to serve humanity through medicine. He founded the Gesundheit Institute, which followed a revolutionary model to integrate medicine with performance arts, crafts, nature, agriculture, recreation, and social services. Now a public speaker, Patch Adams was played by Robin Williams in a movie about his life.[7]

This quote is a reminder of the importance of working and growing together. 


Frank Howard Clark (1888-1962) was an American screenwriter who wrote more than 100 scripts between1913 and 1946.[8]

As a people-pleaser, I am often tempted to be generous to gain the positive feedback from others. This quote is a good motives check. 


Daughter of a British Prime Minister, Elizabeth Bibesco (1897-1945) was a writer and poet who married Romanian diplomat Prince Antoine Bibesco.[9]

For someone who comes from an extremely generous family, this quote reminds me that how I receive a gift is as important as how I give one. 


Martin LutherKing Jr. (1929-1968) skipped the ninth and eleventh grades, entering Morehouse College at age 15. He earned his Ph.D. at only 25 years of age and became a Baptist Minister, Civil Rights Advocate, and all-around superhero. He and received the NobelPrize in 1964, four years before his death by assassination.[10]

It’s hard not to be inspired by MLK. This quote is a great illustration of generosity as a choice rather than a personality trait.


JFK (1917-1963) was the youngest man and first Catholic elected President of the United States. The second of nine children, he planned to pursue a career in journalism, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957.[11]

As we gather for the holidays with friends and family on opposites sides of the political spectrum, let’s try to find common ground.


Oren Arnold (1900-1980) was a novelist, journalist, and humorist known for his wholesome sense of humor.[12]

Things to think about as we finish our holiday shopping. 

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1. Rozelle-Stone, A.Rebecca, and Benjamin P. Davis. “Simone Weil.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta, Spring 2018. Metaphysics ResearchLab, Stanford University, 2018. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2018/entries/simone-weil/.

2. “Baruch Spinoza -Philosophers.Co.Uk.” Accessed December 1, 2018. http://www.philosophers.co.uk/baruch-spinoza.html.

3. “Nathaniel Hawthorne |American Writer.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed December 1, 2018. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Nathaniel-Hawthorne.

4. “Barbara Bush Biography :: National First Ladies’ Library.” Accessed December 1, 2018. http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=42.

5. “The International Churchill Society -.” The International Churchill Society. Accessed December 1,2018. https://winstonchurchill.org/.

6. Editors, History com.“Muhammad Ali.” HISTORY. Accessed December 1, 2018. https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/muhammad-ali.

7. “Patch Adams.”Gesundheit! Institute. Accessed December 1, 2018. http://www.patchadams.org/patch-adams/.

8. “Frank Howard Clark.” Wikipedia, October 20, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Frank_Howard_Clark&oldid=864946585.

9. “Elizabeth Bibesco.”www.librarything.com. Accessed December 1, 2018. https://www.librarything.com/author/bibescoelizabeth.

10. “Martin Luther KingJr.” Biography. Accessed December 1, 2018. https://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-king-jr-9365086.

11. “John F. Kennedy |Biography & Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed December 1, 2018. https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-F-Kennedy.

12. Arnold, Oren. “Guide to the Oren Arnold Manuscript and Galleys of ‘The Golden Chair’, 1954 MS 023.” Accessed December 1, 2018. https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/taro/ricewrc/00148/rice-00148.html.

Author: C.C. The Word Nerd

When she is not working, C.C. may be found with her nose in a book, her hands in a ball of bread dough, or her feet on a trail in the mountains.

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