A Festivus for the Rest of Us

Happy Festivus, everyone!

As far as made-up recently created holidays go, this one has really taken off. A holiday celebrated on December 23, it gives people the option to avoid the consumerism of all other December holidays.

abc_festivus_101223_mnFestivus was made famous in 1997 by Seinfeld writer, Dan O’Keefe, and depicted in Season 9 episode, “The Strike.” In that episode, George Costanza’s dad, Frank, decided he was not going to conform to the increased commercialism associated with the December holiday season. In the episode, Frank tells Kramer that, after going to purchase a Christmas gift for his children and getting into a fight there, he realized there should be a new holiday.


He then coined the phrase “A Festivus for the rest of us” and outlined some of the rules:

  • it would be celebrated on December 23
  • features a bare aluminium pole instead of a tree
  • there will be airing of grievances for all the disappointments of the past year
  • it would not end until the head of the family is wrestled to the floor and pinned.

Festivus was originally created by O’Keefe’s father and celebrated by the family as early as 1966. It was done to diffuse family tension any time from May to December.

Festivus Ben and Jerry flavorInterestingly, this has introduced a new phenomenon to the season. Many people organize Festivus dinners and celebrations now as a result of the Seinfeld episode and perhaps, also in reaction to the over-consumerism of December.


  • Ben and Jerry’s ice cream added a “Festivus” flavor to their line for a limited time
  • There is a website where you can celebrate Festivus by airing your grievances or submitting pictures of your feats of strength: http://www.realfestivus.com/
  • You can buy your own Festivus poles online (I did not add those links!)
  • You can also buy bumper stickers, greeting cards, T-shirts. Actually, this is beginning to sound more and more like another December holiday I know….

So, if you or anyone else you know will be celebrating Festivus on the 23rd, please let us know! Do you air family grievances or is that just a regular Christmas anyway?

In the meantime, let’s celebrate with the Costanzas.

2 replies

  1. Festivus reminds me of the way that mistletoe originally was planned. That all the year’s grievances would be aired and then the people would either kiss (Europeans like kissing man to man, woman to woman with no romantic thoughts given to this custom!) or shake hands and let bygones be bygones. I think Festivus sounds like fun as long as no one is hurt while the wrestling goes on! Smiles, Robin


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