“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. A new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!”
That speech is the dramatic origin of the non-denominational holiday that takes place on December 23 (that’s today!) according to Frank Costanza, George’s dad on the hit television show Seinfeld.
While the Festivus episode, which aired in 1997, spread word of Festivus across the country, the holiday actually dates back to the 1960s. Dan O’Keefe, a writer for Seinfeld, was inspired to include Festivus in an episode’s script because his dad had made up the holiday three decades earlier.
So what exactly is Festivus? Well, it includes a dinner, an Airing of Grievances in which family and friends basically sit around and tell each other what they did that bothered each other in the past year! Finally, there’s the Feats of Strength, wherein the head of the household can challenge any guest present for Festivus celebrations to a wrestling match. While there aren’t really any culinary or decorative traditions attached to Festivus, the holiday does replace the traditional Christmas tree with a barren aluminum pole.
If you’re just dying to know more about Festivus, Dan O’Keefe actually wrote a book called The Real Festivus. Yes, you can learn all about the holiday’s mysterious origins, its authentic traditions, and real life grievances that have been aired!
If you think you'd like to incorporate Festivus into your annual celebrations, you can order an aluminum pole with a base stand to stick in your corner instead of or beside your tree. No joke! The website festivuspoles.com really does exist, along with dozens of Facebook fan sites, Instagram feeds, and memes for the holiday. The image in this post is from FestivusWeb.com.
We’re guessing most of the people who observe Festivus annually have a pretty good sense of humor—they also might enjoy the 308 Jokes + 57 Puns Page-A-Day calendar, or Uncle John's Bathroom Reader TV Trivia Challenge Page-A-Day calendar. as a present for Festivus (or, for that matter, for Christmas or New Year's)! It's too late to order for Christmas delivery from our site, but you can find our calendars in stock at many, many bookstores.
So, Happy Festivus... and good luck if you happen to be the unlucky one chosen for the Feats of Strength!