Meaning: Usually used to suggest that it is useless to wish; better results will be achieved through action.
Origin: Found in James Carmichael's “Proverbs in Scots” printed in 1628.\
The full Scottish proverb:
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride
If turnips were swords, i'd wear one by my side
If ifs and ands were pots and pans,
there'd be no need for tinkers' hands"
There is however an older version, which was recorded in 1605 by William Camden in the book “Remaines of a Greater Worke, Concerning Britaine”, "If wishes were thrushes beggers would eat birds".
There are many variations to this saying, but here are two of the more popular;
A less common variant puts on a whimsical twist: "If wishes were fishes, beggars would fly." The implied idea is that if wishing made it so, one could ride a flying fish.
My personal favorite, "If if's and but's were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas."
Merry Christmas! May all your hard work pay off in the New Year!