Editorial: Humor for holiday stress


Column By Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin

Instead of a frazzled freak-out around the hectic holidays, what about trying laughter. Not hysterical ‘lose your mind’ chortling or ‘milk coming out of your nose’ snickering. But, belly-laughing glee with giggles and guffaws.


A hilarious holiday tune—sing along with me. Grandma got run over by a reindeer/ Walking home from our house Christmas Eve/ You can say there’s no such thing as Santa/ But for me and grandpa we believe. My mamaw Hila bristled at the lyrics to this song. “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” a novelty Christmas song written by Randy Brooks. And originally performed by the husband-and-wife duo of Elmo and Patsy Trigg Shropshire in 1979.

Funny gag gifts. Pizza Flavored Candy Canes. Squirrel in Underpants Air Freshener. Poop Emoji Ornament. Custom Human Face Pillow.

Find some corny jokes to share with nieces and nephews. Use the following anonymous jokes.

Q: Why do reindeer stop for coffee on their Christmas run? A: Because they’re Santa’s star bucks.

Q: What do you call a frog hanging from the ceiling? A: Mistletoad.

What about Animal Butt Magnets for cousin Clevis? “Butt magnets come in a package of six with a variety of animals.” Maybe he’ll get the hint and stop eating all the pecan pie.

“The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.” —Johnny Carson

Not Funny

I like holiday humor as much as the next gal, but some pranks are funny and some are not.

A father shot a deer during hunting season and told his kids, “I accidentally killed Rudolph.” While the kids cried, the wife put the father on Santa’s naughty list. And on the couch to sleep until Spring.

The prankster son who wrapped all the food in the refrigerator the night before Christmas dinner. His mother needs to swathe him in duct-tape and glue jingle bells on his feet.

Not funny gag gift. Racing Grannies. “A fun stocking filler for both kids and adults, race them against each other across the dinner table — after you’ve stuffed yourself with turkey — to see whose granny has the finish line in her sights and whose is taking a nap after being on the booze.” Not funny to grandmothers. Watch out for the flying cranberry sauce.

“Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year,” declared Victor Borge. Ask the grinch in your family if he/she would like a sense of humor for Christmas. Are you a prankster genius? A holiday prank on Scrooge (cousin Clevis) may diffuse some of the stress that comes with the season of hustle and bustle. Laughing releases endorphins, the feel-good brain chemicals.

Make your goal a stress-free season or, at least, try to smile through the chaos. Yelling at your spouse, the kids or the dog is naughty, not nice.

Laughter is contagious. I think I’ll laugh around cousin Clevis. Ho-ho-ho. Ha-ha-ha. And decorate my 100-pound dog with reindeer antlers and blinking lights.

Laughter therapy has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression in menopausal women. I’ll share that tidbit with my female colleagues at the office Christmas party this year. But only after they’ve sipped some holiday cheer.

Laughter is an immune booster. So, laugh in the face of the flu this winter. The American Heart Association recommends laughter for a healthy heart. Who knew?

‘Tis the season to be jolly! ‘Tis the season to chuckle it up! ‘Tis the season to ramp up your sense of humor!

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Ohio. Contact her at melissamcolumnist@gmail.com.