Stress-Proof Your Festive Season with Humor
by Dan Gascon
“You know someone is a workaholic when Christmas means to them that no one will be in the office to bother them.”
– Bob Thorenson
The holiday season always presents us with humorous challenges that are truly unique in our year. I’d like to share a personal story on a mirth miracle that still makes me smile today. It was over a decade ago when I was out east getting established in Toronto. I did many things to pay the bills back then, and this particular December I just started a new job working as a retail sales clerk in a huge toy store. I felt it would be a dream job for an aspiring comedian; toys and children at Christmas, what could be more joyous and fun? Boy, was I off the mark on that one.
I dealt almost exclusively with adults who were always in some altered state. They were in a rush , didn’t know what they wanted, short tempered, drunk, nasty and just plain rude. I saw people physically fight and get into tug-o-wars or stampede’s over the last toy. I saw tantrums, tempers, tirades and tears, and still had the last weekend to get through. I wanted to quit so bad but finances dictated otherwise so, dealing with my own fatigue, stress and the aftermath of a Xmas party, I mustered all I had and went into work for that last, dreaded Saturday.
The line had started hours before we opened and I had to push my way into the store. The next seven hours were a blur, I was in a unreal haze. I did not feel human, I had turned into a Christmas Zombie.
With only one hour left in the day he came at me. I was on the returns desk and he barged through everyone and slammed the Trivial Pursuit game down on the table. Do you know what I had to do to get this game? He barked getting the crowds attention. I searched a hundred stores, I found the last one here yesterday, and I thought I shouldn’t buy it because it looked tampered with, but I did anyway cause it’s the only thing my family really wanted. It seemed the whole store was watching as he started to open the box. “I decided to make sure, so I opened it last night and look.” He snarled holding up and flopping the playing board in my face. “The damn thing is broken! You ruined my Christmas!” The crowd was glued to the scene waiting for my move.
I grabbed the board from his hand, showed and explained that the board appeared that way only so it could fold out, then up and fit back in the box. You could have heard a pin drop as the man looked dumb-founded, first at the board, then up at me. Then it happened. I started to grin, he started to blush and smile and like a wave, the chuckles quickly grew to full laughter and all at once the dozens watching had joined in. The man graciously apologized and even took a bow and got a cheer. It was a celebration that infected the whole store. All my stress vanished, the Zombie turned back into human and smiles stuck for the rest of the day, through the holiday’s, and for years to come. It was a true lesson on how comedy accompanies tragedy, and the power of humor and laughs to transcend any situation.
So take a lighter attitude with the holidays, it will allow you to keep your health and sanity intact.
5 Tips to Lighten the Holidays
1. Smile at the foibles of family and friends
2. Eat and drink sensibly. (At least try)
3. See the comedy when the unexpected happens.
4. Don’t try to make it The perfect Xmas.
5. Dare to be foolish and initiate some humor.
Have a Merry Christmas
Copyright 2005 by Dan Gascon. Reprinted with permission. Founder of Humor for your Health. Reach Dan at www.humorforyourhealth.com