When Thanksgiving Is Filled with Turkeys
Still not amused? Check out Just Friends, an underappreciated (and warning: racy) Ryan Reynolds/Anna Faris Christmas-themed movie that I find hilarious. Or try Mr. Bean's Christmas, which is the funniest thing on YouTube. Oh, you don't think so? Then you're wrong, and I don't want to be friends with you any more.
While you're at it, try laughing about things that aren't supposed to be funny but are: like the ridiculous consumerist ploys to get us to part with our money every November and December. Macy's has an annual slogan for the holidays. Know what it is? "Believe." If that's not the stupidest thing I've ever heard, I don't know what is. Believe? Believe in what? (I doubt they're referring to the Incarnation.) It's okay to laugh at such absurdity. Why? It's ridiculous—literally, able to be ridiculed. To that end, seen the "Lego Advent Calendar" yet?
3) Laugh at yourself. As Jesus said to the disciples, "Get over yourself!" (Well, he should have said it.) Stop taking yourself so seriously. Your coworkers thought that your Christmas tie was ugly? Maybe it is. Someone didn't like your "Famous Mulled Wine" or your "Christmasy Ginger-Pumpkin Nutbread" handed down from your great-grandmother? Get over it. Life's too short to take yourself too seriously.
The secret to laughing at yourself is twofold. First, it needs perspective about your situation. You're stuck on a runway behind ten planes in a snowstorm? At least you can afford airfare, which many cannot. You're in a hellacious traffic jam on Christmas Eve? At least you have a car. Most people in the world can barely afford their daily bread, let alone a car or plane fare. Second, it needs perspective about yourself. The holidays aren't about you; and you're not the center of the universe. Christmas in particular is about someone else.
In short, for the holidays it's good to remember that there is Good News and there is Better News. The Good News is: There is a God. The Better News is: It's not you.
That's surely something to smile about, any time of the year.
James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and author of the new book Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life (HarperOne), which, he would like to say, makes the perfect gift for any holiday.