Sometimes the holidays seem to come around a little too often. The shiny season can lose its luster if you get bogged down in the commercialized aspects of the holidays, leaving you stressed and anxious for the calm, dreary days of February.
Sound familiar? You need to celebrate Festivus: A holiday for the rest of us.
Festivus started as a joke on the episode “The Strike” on the sitcom Seinfeld, a Costanza family holiday that was initiated in response to the over-commercialization of Christmas:
Frank Costanza: "Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way."
Cosmo Kramer: "What happened to the doll?"
Frank Costanza: "It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!"
Festivus has since caught on and now you will find multiple websites devoted to the offbeat holiday, which is now serious business for people who are sick of Santa shoving Christmas cheer down their throats. Inmates are requesting special Festivus meals, Ben & Jerry’s created a “Festivus” ice cream flavor and Festivus poles are being erected in state capital buildings. The anti-Christmas has arrived, in true George Costanza “SERENITY NOW!!!” style.
Forget the pressures of the perfect holiday and the crass materialism of the season by throwing your own Festivus party. This humorous, zany holiday is certainly not for everyone, but can be ideal for Seinfeld fans and for those who need some seasonal stress relief!
Festivus is celebrated on December 23; send your invitations early and make sure that everyone knows that no gifts will be exchanged.
The centerpiece of any Festivus celebration is a plain aluminum “Festivus” pole, which is not decorated, takes a minimum of maintenance and is easy to store year after year. No tinsel or other distracting materials are to be used.
Festivus starts off, like most holidays, with a big meal. The Costanza’s like to serve meatloaf and red sauce, with alcohol from a flask as the beverage of choice.
After the Festivus meal is the “Airing of Grievances,” during which each member of the family relates how they have been disappointed in the last year – by the world and by each other.
Immediately following the “Airing of Grievances” (and sometimes sparked by it) are the “Feats of Strength,” during which the head of the household challenges one other member to a wrestling match. Those challenged may excuse themselves only if they have something better to do, but Festivus isn’t over until the head of the household is pinned to the ground. Hope Grandma has been keeping up with her strength training!
Festivus is, all in all, a chance to get together with friends for some fun without any of the gaudy trappings or forced happiness of the holiday season. Throw your own Festivus party this year and turn the holiday on its head. A Festivus miracle, indeed!