How to Properly Celebrate Festivus
It seems that when the end of the year is near we attempt to cram as many holidays together as we can. Of course you have the big holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving but that’s not all that’s happening.
Hanukkah is underway plus you have Boxing Day (British holiday) and Kwanzaa (celebration of African culture) to keep you busy towards the end of the month, but there is one holiday that seems almost forgotten in all the hustle and bustle. So which holiday is that? The exciting and unforgettable Festivus!
Of course twenty years ago this may have been a holiday celebrated more as a family tradition than an actual holiday, but thanks to a 1997 episode of the hit TV show Seinfeld, the celebration of Festivus has become more and more common.
Now in the episode, Festivus was created by Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller) as an alternative holiday in order to respond to all of the commercialization of Christmas. The idea actually came from one of the writers (Dan O’Keefe) on the show who celebrated Festivus among his family as early as 1966, although they had no set date for the celebration.
Today, Festivus has its own date, December 23, and its own, unique traditions. Plus it doesn’t interfere with any other holiday so it can be celebrated right alongside Christmas, although I feel that would defeat the purpose of the whole tradition. So if you’re interested in celebrating Festivus, keep reading.
1. The Festivus Pole
The first difference between Festivus and Christmas is that there is no decorated tree in Festivus. Instead, people use an undecorated aluminum pole which Mr. Costanza praised as having a “very high strength-to-weight ratio.” The undecorated pole is also considered to be in direct opposition to the highly decorated Christmas Tree.
Google recognizes Festivus as a holiday, and when you google the word Festivus, you will see the traditional aluminum pole on the side of your screen. And if your looking for that perfect Festivus pole then look no further, I’ve found a nice little website that can get you what you need. They sell a six foot pole as well as a table sized Festivus pole. Get your Pole here.
2. Festivus Dinner
Of course any good holiday has to include a meal that brings the whole family together, and Festivus is no different. In the Seinfeld episode the Costanza’s dinner appeared to include meat loaf or spaghetti in a red sauce, but I’m sure whatever you want to throw on the table will be good enough.
You can grab some extra ideas for your Festivus meal here.
3. Airing of Grievances
Now we come to the oddly unique part of Festivus, the Airing of Grievances. This usually takes place during the Festivus Dinner and is exactly what it sounds like. This is your one chance to let everyone at the table know how he or she has disappointed you this year.
Everyone is different but typically, people shouldn’t get to upset at what you tell them because it is the normal tradition of Festivus, plus everyone can take turns and it might end up being pretty fun for the whole family. You could also have everyone write down their grievances on a sticky note and post them to your Festivus Pole that way no one can get mad at each other.
If you decide to celebrate exactly like they did in Seinfeld, then only the head of the household would air their grievances.
4. Feats of Strength
The Festivus Celebration all ends with the Feats of Strength. Although the scene is never shown in Seinfeld, it is made clear that “Festivus is not over until the head of the household is wrestled to the floor and pinned”.
The head of the household gets to pick who he wants to wrestle, and then it begins. There is only one way out of the Feats of Strength, and it’s by having something better to do with your time, although what’s better for you may not hold up with the head of the household.
In that case it’s time to get to work because you can’t end the celebration until the head of the household is pinned.
And there you have it, everything you need to know to enjoy your Festivus in style. Enjoy and remember “It’s a Festivus for the rest of us!”