Tag Archive | holiday stress


By Mary Ann Filler

Who doesn’t get a bit stressed during the holiday season?  Of course, all of the stress we experience is not bad, but stress is stress.  A chronicle of all of the types of stress we deal with this time of year is not needed; we can easily identify what makes us crazy.  What we really need is a remedy.  USA Today recently published a quiz related to handling holiday stress.  The bottom line was that experts say to calm yourself during the holiday rush by eating well, getting enough sleep and making time for walking or meditation.  (Kelly Bothum, Wilmington News-Journal)

I think all of those suggestions are great, but I think they are overlooking one amazing remedy for stress: HUMOR!  I don’t want to spend my 800 words telling you how beneficial it is to laugh; I would rather attempt to actually make you laugh.  Today’s post will hopefully offer you all some much needed comic relief.

Everyone’s view of what is humorous varies greatly.  There are those that enjoy a “dirty joke” while others have a more simplistic sense of humor.  A good play-on-words might tickle your funny bone, or maybe a real life funny story.  In any event, my hope is that at least one thing in this post will appeal to your sense of humor and that you will enjoy uncontrollable laughter at some point.  There are times when I find something so funny that I laugh uncontrollably.  If I could give you that gift this holiday season, I would!  It’s a real blessing to see the humor in life particularly as it relates to…

(click on any photo below to make it larger)

May your holidays be JOLLY and bright!!!!  AND if you’ve heard any good jokes lately, share them here!!!!

And for more stress relief, click on the previous blog post “The Reason for the Season” by Ruth Topper. Jesus is the ultimate stress-reliever!

The Reason for the Season

By Ruth Topper 

If you are like me, it gets to be the second week in December and holiday panic starts to hit you.  Christmas is just two weeks away and the list of things to do to “get ready” keeps growing.   There is shopping to do, gifts to wrap, a Christmas letter and cards to get in the mail, cookies to bake, and concerts/parties to attend.  With all these things to do it is very easy to lose track of the true meaning of Christmas.

My son Josh (a few years ago) was apparently tickled to be a cow!

My son Josh (a few years ago) was quite the happy cow!

But there is one event that helps me keep the true meaning of Christmas in mind:  Helping to coordinate the annual Christmas Pageant at my church.  About 10 years ago for some now unknown reason I said “yes” when asked if I would like to help coordinate our first pageant.  (Perhaps it was that my home church never had a pageant while I was growing up and I had an inner desire to be part of one!)  My decision may also have been made a little easier knowing that there was a script, music director in place and that two other friends, Julie and Kathleen, were also willing to help.  Thus began my pageant coordinating career.

It never fails to amaze Julie and I how well the pageant “production” turns out!  We leave our Saturday morning practice the day before the big event and just shake our heads, wondering how this is ever going to pull together.  Although the kids have been practicing the music with our wonderful and talented music director, Pete, for more than a month, you just never know exactly what is going to happen when you have 2 year old lambs and 4th graders playing the roles of Elizabeth, Zachariah, Mary, Joseph, the Innkeeper,  the angel Gabriel, etc.

Our original script included children from age 2 through 8th grade.  Volunteers sewed costumes for our shepherds and cast, made sheep, donkey and cow “heads” (so our pre-schoolers would look authentic as our friendly beasts), cut angel wings out of posterboard and decorated Burger King crowns for our Wise Men!  Ten years later we still make use of all of those wonderful costuming props.

Some of my favorite pageant moments over the years have been:

  • Never knowing exactly what those 2 and 3 year old lambs are going to do…
  • Sean, now graduated from high school, playing the bagpipes, several years in a row, for the processional for our 3 kings
  • Our band of 6th to 8th graders playing several of our pageant songs
  • Hearing “Mary” and “Elizabeth” sing the “Cherry Tree Magnificat” based on Luke 1:47-55

    Fellow Off the Merry-Go-Round blogger Karen's daughter Kelly as the angel Gabriel

    Fellow Off the Merry-Go-Round blogger Karen’s daughter Kelly as the angel Gabriel

  • When Pete, our director, asked where the Innkeeper’s Wife was at practice one year and Matt (the Innkeeper) calmly replied that he was single!
  • Learning and loving songs that I had never heard until I got involved with the pageant – “Get Ready”, “Mary Had a Baby” and “Little Lamb”

Every year as the pageant season begins again I question myself as to why I continue to help with it.  My kids are “aging” out of the pageant and I certainly don’t need something else to add to my “to do” list.  However I just think about my favorite pageant moments over the past few years and it draws me back again.   So–if given the opportunity–I would encourage you to attend the Children’s Christmas Pageant at your church or school.  It will certainly bring a smile to your face and help remind you of “the reason for the season.”

How do you keep the true meaning of Christmas alive?  Have you helped organize a similar Christmas pageant, play or musical event?  Feel free to share your experiences below.

The cast is assembled!

The cast is assembled!

My daughter Rachel and a friend sing Elizabeth and Mary's song

My daughter Rachel and a friend sing Elizabeth and Mary’s song