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Laughter the best medicine at Christmastime

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It’s almost Christmastime and that means, among other things, a break from school, time off from work, giving and receiving gifts, eating lots of goodies and fellowship with friends and family.

As pleasant as Christmas is supposed to be, it can nonetheless be a stressful time for some as it also involves shopping, spending money, fighting crowds, preparing meals and sometimes recalling memories of those who are no longer with us.

Many have found the best method of combating these forces is to approach Christmas with a sense of humor and try to laugh about things whenever possible, even if they sometimes go wrong.

Thus, to help reduce stress, bring a smile to your face and make you feel better about things during the holiday season, here are a few thoughts as provided by others.

• “Santa Claus has the right idea — visit people only once a year,” said comedian and musician Victor Borge.

• “A lovely thing about Christmas is that it is compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together,” said humorist Garrison Keillor.

•“Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the holiday season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall,” wrote columnist Dave Barry.

• “The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live,” said comedian George Carlin.

• “Christmas is the only time of the year when one can sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of socks,” said humorist Rick Sutter.

• “Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree,” said actor and comedian Larry Wilde. “In the eyes of children, they are all about 30 feet tall.”

• “I love Christmas. I received a lot of wonderful presents I can’t wait to exchange,” said comedian Henny Youngman.

• “I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was 6,” said child movie star Shirley Temple. “My mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”

Both funny and sad Christmas thoughts were found in a column I penned several years ago that consisted of letters written to Santa and mailed by children through the Wilson post office.

Here are a few of the better ones:

• “I have no idea what my mom wants. Get her something special and make her come into some money soon,” wrote one young girl.

• “I want my daddy to come stay at my house,” wrote another.

• “Santa, I want you to know that I thank you for all the presents you gave me last year and I want you to bring more presents this year,” wrote one young boy. “If you bring me all what I want, I will love you.”

• “I really want to see you and your reindeer flying one night. Would you tell me when you would be out?”

This next one pretty much says it all.

“I do not have a lot on my list this year because we went to Disney World.”

One of the most remarkable things about Christmas, and something many might find difficult to believe, is many of the events that have helped mold Christmas into what it is today occurred prior to the invention of computers or cellphones.

Amazing, isn’t it, the Nativity in Bethlehem, “A Christmas Carol” written by Charles Dickens in 1843 and “Night Before Christmas” written by Clement Moore in 1823 all came along prior to electronic mechanization?

I guess we were fortunate the timing of these events just happened to be right, too, otherwise the three wise men might have been too busy checking their messages and bombarding their friends with selfies to notice what was taking place either in the manger or up in the sky.

Keith Barnes is a reporter and columnist for the Johnstonian News. Email him at