Well dressed boy sitting at table praying while looking at cooked turkey and licking his lips. Circa...
Camerique/Archive Photos/Getty Images

18 Quotes That Capture the Spirit of Thanksgiving

None of them mention cranberry sauce from a can. Sadly.

The Thanksgiving holiday can summon a variety of emotions in us. It can conjure memories both happy and sad. (Kids eating pie for the first time!/Kids throwing up from too much pie!) Funny and furious. (Aunt Kendra taking her wig off at dinner./Aunt Kendra insulting your husband at dinner.)

Which is why these Thanksgiving quotes capturing the vibe of Turkey Day are a big ‘ol mixed bag: some are wise words on thankfulness, some are silly musings on gravy, and some are just warm and cozy thoughts of togetherness.

Thanksgiving is a really kind of a quiet holiday in some regards, in that it doesn’t have the inflatable costumes and candy of Halloween, or the piles of presents and decorations of Christmas. But if can also feel louder in some ways, in that for many of us the day can be a swirl of cooking, kid chaos, and carefully side-stepping conversation landmines with certain relatives.

Whatever your day is usually like, these quotes from comedians, authors, philosophers and others will help to get you in the spirit of things, and serve to remind us all what the day is truly about: gratitude.


"Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life." — Rumi

Harvard thinks being grateful is actually the key to our own happiness, you know.


“What if today, we were just grateful for everything?” — Charlie Brown

A sweet and moving idea from everyone’s favorite bald cartoon child.


"What I love about Thanksgiving is that it’s purely about getting together with friends or family and enjoying food. It’s really for everybody, and it doesn’t matter where you’re from." — Daniel Humm

This world famous chef has fixed a Thanksgiving dinner or two in his day. He knows of what he speaks.


“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

This Thanksgiving, take note of all the little miracles.


“The turkey. The sweet potatoes. The stuffing. The pumpkin pie. Is there anything else we all can agree so vehemently about? I don’t think so.” — Nora Ephron

The master of the romcom breaks it down to brass tacks for everyone. We’re here for the pie.


“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” — Meister Eckhart

A prayer of gratitude can be as simple as two words.


"I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage." — Erma Bombeck

Gross. And yet, hilarious. Also gravy is best served out of one of those porcelain turkeys that looks like it’s vomiting onto your plate, FYI.


"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." — Charles Dickens

A wise reminder that everyone has their troubles, and everyone has something to feel grateful for.


“After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations." — Oscar Wilde

I know what you’re thinking: “But you haven’t met my relations, Mr. Wilde.”


"Thanksgiving is so called because we are all so thankful that it only comes once a year." — P.J. O’Rourke

This is a good one for those of us who might find large family gatherings rather... eh... stressful.


“I approximated the Black Friday experience at home by hurling myself into a wall a number of times and then ordering online.” — Kumail Nanjiani.

For anyone who’s ever attempted Black Friday shopping, this quote should resonate.


“It took me three weeks to stuff the turkey. I stuffed it through the beak.” Phyllis Diller.

Incredibly silly, yes. But did it not make you smile? C’mon, you know it did!


“Thankfulness is measured by the number of words. Gratitude is measured by the nature of our actions.” — David O. McKay

While “thank you” is great, gratitude should be expressed not just through words, but through deeds.


“Thanksgiving is the holiday that encompasses all others. All of them, from Martin Luther King Day to Arbor Day to Christmas to Valentine’s Day, are in one way or another about being thankful.” — Jonathon Safran Foer

I totally never thought of it that way before, but dude is totally right!


“In November, people are good to each other. They carry pies to each other's homes and talk by crackling wood stoves, sipping mellow cider. They travel very far on a special November day just to share a meal with one another and to give thanks for their many blessings.” — Cynthia Rylant

Is this not the coziest description of Thanksgiving you’ve ever heard?


“We’re having something different this year for Thanksgiving. Instead of a turkey, we’re having a swan. You get more stuffing.” — George Carlin

Get it? The down feathers?


“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” — Henry David Thoreau

Here’s to a perpetual Thanksgiving! (Minus the heartburn, dirty dishes, and awkward small talk with in-laws.)


“Forever on Thanksgiving Day, the heart will find the pathway home.” — Wilbur D. Nesbit


A beautiful little quote that reminds us that wherever and however we celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s all about our connection to those we love, and nothing can take that away from us.