Festivus is a made-up holiday that gets its origins from the Seinfeld Show. In an episode broadcast in 1997, it’s revealed that George Costanza’s family celebrates Festivus instead of Christmas. In his trademark gravelly voice, George’s father, Frank, explains that the holiday starts with the Airing of Grievances, and ends only when someone is pinned in the Feats of Strength. And, of course, there is the Festivus pole, an undecorated aluminum pole. It remains unadorned because Frank Costanza finds tinsel distracting. Frank invented the holiday as an antidote to the commercialization of Christmas.
The story behind the story is that this plot line was not the fruit of the creative minds on the Seinfeld Show; Festivus was created by Seinfeld writer Dan O’Keefe’s father in 1966. For the senior O’Keefe, an editor at Reader’s Digest, Festivus appealed to him because it wasn’t associated with politics or religion. Originally celebrated in February, Festivus is now observed December 23.
While the Festivus meal on the Seinfeld show is thought to be either meatloaf or spaghetti, the original meal in the O’Keefe family was turkey or ham, with pecan pie as dessert. Other Festivus traditions in the O’Keefe family included party hats and a sculpture-making competition for the children.
Will your family recognize Festivus this year? Will you participate in Feats of Strength? And the Airing of Grievances — hey, isn’t that what Thanksgiving dinner is for?
Greeting Card Universe has set up a Festivus for the Rest of Us Pinterest board to help you find greeting cards, an aluminum pole, a sweater, or anything else you need to make your Festivus for the Rest of Us.