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Things We Love: Holiday Toasts

This year, consider giving a holiday toast. Whether you write it yourself or find a poem or words written by someone else, make sure you share how you feel and celebrate those who mean the most.

2020 will be a year that goes down for the books. Can any of us really remember a year like this one? Even though we all want 2021 to start us on a new path, don’t forget to share your own gratitude and thoughts with others. Make a holiday toast. It can be as simple as a toast to someone you love or appreciate, your family, your friends, your health, and all of the blessings you have been given. You can write your own holiday toast or find a great one in a book or the internet. Maybe even a funny poem.

My mother was masterful at the holiday toast. Every year, she would set a beautiful table and everyone would look to her to make the same exact toast every year. We lost her to cancer many years ago, and one of my greatest regrets is not writing down the toast so that we could say it every year and celebrate her at the same time. As an alternative, I like to write my own holiday toasts. Sometimes my holiday toast may just be an email I send to my most beloved friends and family members to tell them why I am so thankful for them in my life. Especially as we grow older, it means so much to tell each other why they matter.

The custom of touching glasses evolved from concerns about poisoning. Toasts are rooted in Western culture. Clinking glasses together would cause each drink to spill over into each others’ glasses, ensuring there was no evidence of anyone poisoning each other.


If you need help getting started, here are some holiday toast ideas.

  • Write your own toast. Sit down with a pen and paper and think about 1-5 things that you love about the people you are spending a holiday with. Send them a text or email, or ask to make a holiday toast to each of them at the holiday, whether you are celebrating together in person or virtually.
  • Choose a great classic toast. Mark Twain’s “To the Babies” is very long, but considered one of the most famous toasts of all time. Just because its the holidays, it doesn’t mean your toast has to be about the season. It can be about anything you want.
  • Consider a toast unique to your own ancestry or ethnic origin. Both my husband and I have some Irish ancestors, and who doesn’t love having some Irish blood? The classic Irish Blessing is one of my favorites, plus it is simple and short!
  • Pull out some of your favorite poetry books, prayer books or quotes from authors you love. I love Mary Oliver poems. Maybe you like Billy Collins. How about Ezra Pound or Yeats? Try googling for toasts or poems around ideas, words or things that mean a lot to you right now.

The word toast became associate with a 17th Century custom of flavoring drinks with spiced toast. Toasting may be a secular vestige of ancient sacrificial libations in which a sacred liquid was offered to the gods in exchange for a wish or prayer summarized with the words “long life” or “to your health.”

International Handbook on Alcohol and Culture

Regardless of how you are celebrating this year, take the time to share how you feel, what you appreciate, what you love and yourself. Make sure that your friends and family near and far know just how important they are as well. Consider a holiday toast.