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How To Celebrate Festivus

December 22, 2010

December 23 (tomorrow) is Festivus, a holiday made popular due to the television show Seinfeld. On the show, George’s dad Frank (above) celebrates Festivus in order to combat the commercialism of Christmas. To read about all the details behind the holiday, check out it’s Wikipedia page. There is also a book written by the Seinfeld writer whose father conceptualized the holiday, which you can check out HERE. For those of you looking to try out Festivus tomorrow, this article will provide everything that you need to know! The main traditions of Festivus are as follows:

Aluminum Pole

Rather than a decorated tree, a simple metal pole is used. Frank uses an aluminum pole due to it’s high strength-to-weight ratio, but any pole can be used. Remember, do not decorate it in any way.

Festivus Dinner

On the night of Festivus, those celebrating gather at dinner. What is eaten is not as important as what happens during it; The Airing of the Grievances.

The Airing of the Grievances

The Airing of the Grievances takes place once the Festivus dinner is served, and officially marks the beginning of the the Festivus celebration. During the Airing of the Grievances, each person singles out the specific ways in which those sitting around the table have disappointed them over the past year.

The Feats of Strength

Following the Airing of the Grievances, the Feats of Strength takes place. This tradition consists of the head of household choosing a person to wrestle, and Festivus does not end until the head of household is pinned.

And that’s the basics of Festivus. The fun thing about the holiday is that it is easy to customize or alter according to your needs. When my friends and I celebrated the holiday in high school, we would go to a Chinese buffet for our Festivus meal. None of us were into wrestling, so our Feats of Strength was a cutthroat round of the board game Risk. We also added something we called the Festivus Electivus, during which we voted for that year’s Festivus Jester. Often the jester was the person who got railed on the most during the Airing of the Grievances, and for the rest of the day, whenever the elected would attempt to say anything, they were silenced by us saying “Shut up, Jester.”

Whether you decide to add your own traditions, or celebrate it in it’s bare bones form, Festivus provides a cynical stress release that many might enjoy, especially the day before Christmas eve. Give it a shot this year, and soon it will probably become a yearly tradition for your friends and family.

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