The 4th Word of Christmas: Laugh

Today would have been my father’s 97th birthday. He is, without a doubt, the person who taught me how to laugh. A good joke, a magic trick, an April Fool’s gag on any day of the year, those were my dad’s hallmarks. And he took it as well as he gave it: he loved to laugh.

There are many occasions to laugh during the holidays. But if you need an extra one, my personal go to is the movie “Christmas Vacation.” Sight gags, double entendres, and pure silliness abound.

In a world where there is so much sadness and strife, laughing may seem out of place. Quite the contrary. Research around the world has shown that it’s physically good for us. Producing our familiar “ha, ha, ha” sounds creates muscle exertion, which in turn triggers a release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Laughter stretches our facial and abdominal muscles, causing us to breathe more heavily, pumping more oxygen into our bodies.

So in honor of dad, tonight I plan to make a toast. And have a good belly laugh.

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