10 Oscar Wilde Quotes to Use During the Holiday Season

Amanda Nelson

Staff Writer

Amanda Nelson is an Executive Director of Book Riot. She lives in Richmond, VA.

Oscar WildeThe holiday season can be rough, as we all know. Whether you spend them alone or surrounded by people who you intensely dislike or surrounded by people you love but who stress you out with all their WANTING TO EAT and USING THE WRONG TOWELS and WATCHING SPORTS ON THE TV, everyone’s experience with the holiday season is complicated. I like to get through them by eating my feelings, and with the help of the elegant snark of Oscar Wilde.


For when your [insert political party that is the opposite of your political party] uncle says something bitchy about your politics:

“Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.”

For when your [insert lazy relative who won’t get off the sofa and get a job] asks you for money, again:

“When I was young I thought money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.”

For when your scandalous second cousin does something scandalous and everyone in the family wants to whisper about how scandalous she’s (it’s always a she) being:

“There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

For when an older relative decides to criticize every choice you’re making in the name of “wisdom from your elders:”

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”

For when your mother/aunt/uncle/whatever starts bugging you (again) about when you’re going to get married/have a baby/get a “real” job:

“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”

For when that same uncle starts ranting about evil liberals/evil conservatives/evil moderates:

“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” (Best said with a knowing look)

For when the techno-nut in your family makes fun of your last-gen iPad:

“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”


“Everything popular is wrong.”

For use when complimenting the cook:

“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”

For saying to yourself when your mother is plucking your last nerve:

“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.”

And finally, for when your relatives, whether you love them or can’t stand them, finally, blissfully, leave:

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”


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