Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Christmas is a time to be thankful. But sometimes it seems like a corporate scam. With things like Black Friday and dollar limits on gift exchanges, the true joy of Christmas is been overseen. One could easily ignore this most mainstream of holidays, but some have decided to celebrate holidays of their own creation. And one in particular makes absolutely no sense to me.

Festivus is celebrated on December 23 annually. Created by writer Dan O’Keefe in 1965, the holiday wasn’t formally introduced to the world until 1998 when his son Daniel, a scriptwriter for the popular 90s sitcom Seinfeld, worked it into an episode’s story line. Festivus is affiliated with no religion and was created by the elder Dan in celebration of his new wife Deborah.

The holiday has three main components: the festivus pole, the ‘Airing of Grievances’, and the ‘Feats of Strength’. Right off, it’s important to know that there are no decorations. Only the festivus pole denotes this time of year; aluminum pole similar to a stripper’s. While the show displays a dinner of meatloaf, the original Festivus featured turkey and ham followed by a Pepperidge Farm cake decorated with M&Ms. It is also tradition to consume large amounts of alcohol, probably to make the following proceedings less painful.

After the family has eaten, each member goes around the table telling each other of all the ways they and the world have disappointed them over the past year. This process is what is known as the Airing of Grievances. This is followed by the Feats of Strength. Here, the head of the household challenges one person in the room to a wrestling match. The holiday does not come to an official end until the head of the household has been pinned. If the challenger loses, he/she is banished from the Festivus celebrations (normally just thrown outside in the cold for 10 minutes then let back in).

In Dr. Brian A. Krostneko’s book Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us, he found the word “festivus” originated in ancient Rome originally referring to the ways people would misbehave on devoted religious holidays.

If you’d like to adopt Festivus into your life, visit where you’ll find everything you need to get your tradition started.

Happy holidays and have a Festivus for the rest of us!

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