Saturday, December 23, 2017

Local Saturday - Festivus For the Rest of Us

As someone who majored in cultural anthropology, I am fascinated by holidays and their origins.

Festivus may be the only holiday created by a TV show, a Seinfeld episode from 1997 called "The Strike".  I don't formally celebrate it, although I do know a couple of people who do. But this year, for some reason, it is appealing to me.

Festivus is a holiday for the "rest of us", the people burnt out by the total overchristmasization (is that a word?) of today's United States. 

For those not familiar with Festivus:

Festivus is celebrated every December 23 and has several aspects. 

First is the Festivus pole, always made of aluminum.  It is undecorated, as opposed to a Christmas tree.  But strong.  It should have a "high strength to length ratio".  No tinsel is allowed.

Then is the Festivus dinner.  At the beginning of the dinner is the Airing of Grievances.  "I've got a lot of problems with you people, and now you're going to hear about it!" is how it begins.

Each participant then tells each family member and friend how that person disappointed him/her.  However, if you extended this to other aspects of life...well, again it may just be my sour mood but I could really dump on some aspects of my daily life. The airing of grievances is a welcome change from the constant "be grateful for your life!" refrain you hear every day.

I could recite a long list but it's become obvious our society is becoming more and more mean spirited each year.  The haters gain power.  We are trying to tear ourselves apart.  We have become selfish, self-absorbed and a few other things.  We follow every detail of the Hollywood Stars lives, and musicians who don't even deserve the name, but we ignore those in our back yards who need friends more than ever.  We have lost our will to fix our problems.  (Some would argue that we are also fighting back, but this is the Airing of Grievances.)

Then is the Festivus dinner - meat loaf on a bed of lettuce, with peas.  If you drink alcohol, you must do it from a flask.

Which brings us to the last event, the Feats of Strength.  After the head of the family is pinned to the ground in a match of strength, dinner is over.

Perhaps we will wake up, one day, and find that our health care is a model for the world, that our infrastructure has been repaired, and we are once again a country not trying to tear ourselves apart.

Just think.  It would be a true Festivus miracle.


  1. I love Seinfeld. There are so many episodes that are much more than inane comedy if you really pay attention. Good post.

  2. Quite a statement, this Festivus. I think Husby will totally go for the feats of strength! :)

  3. I was just reading a thing about Festivus. Let me see if I can find it...

    I think the big takeaway from that article is that it wasn't just made up for the show. The father of one of the show's writers created it in the '60s.

    I'm feeling rather bah humbug this year, too. Here's to finding some joy... :)

  4. There is something appealing about Festivus. We had a Festivus pole at work- an unused IV pole, although it did have some tinsel in it, it lived in our med room where we all go routinely to voice our grievances throughout the work day...! Lol. Thankfully we held off on fears of strength. Fresh post op patients are really little competition.

  5. Never knew about Festivus! But sounds so interesting, little insanely profane, fun yet profound if we scratch it little more.


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