December 23, 2010 – “A Festivus for the rest of us!”
When Frank Costanza (the character played by Jerry Stiller) uttered those words on the TV show Seinfeld in 1997, Festivus became an instant hit and secured a place in pop culture history.
So, as a fan of the show, Festivus has a special place in my heart, although I quite merrily celebrate Christmas, too.
Recently, I discovered that Festivus dates back to 1966. It was originally created by writer Dan O’Keefe to commemorate the anniversary of his first date with his wife, Deborah. Years later, he moved it to December 23, hoping to celebrate the holiday season without focusing on the commercialism that surrounds it. It was his son, Daniel, a writer for Seinfeld, who brought it to the series.
We can all agree that Christmas is too commercial, and somehow we’ve lost its meaning. So, Festivus is a great idea – in theory. Still, I like a little commercialism with my Christmas – the keyword being little. I try to avoid going crazy and keep shopping to a minimum, but it doesn’t always work.
If you’re planning a Festivus celebration ala Seinfeld, there are four major components that add a little zip to the original Festivus.
The Festivus Pole, a simple aluminum pole, is a low maintenance holiday decoration, according to Frank Costanza, because tinsel is distracting.
The Festivus Dinner is typically meat loaf or spaghetti, another simple meal.
During dinner participants Air Grievances to share how they’ve been disappointed this year by other participants. What fun!
The Feats of Strength pit participants against each other, and ends when someone is pinned to the ground.
Perhaps the four components aren’t the vision O’Keefe had in mind when he created the holiday; we have his son and Seinfeld to thank for taking it a few hilarious steps further.
And in case you’re wondering what my family and friend are getting for Christmas this year, I’m proud to say that a donation has been made in their name to the Human Fund.
Just trying to keep it simple.