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If you’ve been singing “God rest you, Merry Gentlemen”, you are getting it all wrong. The punctuation is historically misunderstood in one of the earliest English Traditional Christmas carols and that is too bad because the correct punctuation gives us a valuable gift this hectic Christmas season. The carol was written to be sung “God rest you merry”….. “gentlemen” (and of course ladies too). Oh, how we could use a merry rest about now.

The Christmas season has become THE most stressful time of the year. Our holiday list ensnares us; we’ve turned joyful giving into panicked buying; the blessing of family has too often become the dread of family; dreams of being home for Christmas turn into nightmares of travel; bright decorations become Pinterest must-do’s, and that twinkle in our children’s eyes has lost its innocence.

I’m a jobs guy, so I look at how the season impacts the work environment as well.

Christmas is also a season of stress in the work place. Rock around the clock can mean too many hours for some who must fill in for vacationing colleagues and too few hours for others trying to pay extra holiday bills. There are year-end deadlines to meet, quotas to fill and for many industries, the holidays are the busiest sales and delivery time of the year.

Even the fabled office holiday party has a reputation, not only as a festive time to bond and build relationships, but also as a source of strain among employees. Experts say to reduce the stress of the holiday party – you should also reduce the drinking, flirting and gossiping. Santa’s office bag might also offer some relief in the form of a fun ‘ugly sweater’ competition, fewer

restrictions on office decorations and a sharper focus on work-life balance during December.

At Express companies, we emphasize holiday bonuses for all team members, an alcohol-free, off-site Christmas party, a secret Santa program, and themed singing at one of several holiday get-togethers (the Canterbury Choir is one of my favorites to deliver exceptional Christmas music!).

Another way to combat the holiday buzz is by remembering the reason for the season. Don’t forget the art of giving during the holidays. Choose an non-profit charity (we like Angel Tree) and remember to practice generosity with each other. Thinking about others goes far in relieving your own stress.

Pardon me for a moment, but the former minister in me wants to go back to that traditional Christmas song for a moment for some great advice to bring the joy, innocence and peace back into the holidays.

Let nothing you dismay, remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day.

To save us all from Satan’s power – when we were gone astray.

O tidings of comfort and joy!

God rest you merry this holiday season!

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