Gateway News

‘A Festivus for the Rest of Us’: An Inside Look at a Lesser-Known Holiday

An infographic displays the proper way to celebrate Festivus.

An infographic displays the proper way to celebrate Festivus.

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If you’re a part of the vast majority of people who became lifelong fans of ‘Seinfeld,’ you should be able to point out all the major occurrences of the 90s sitcom. From the Soup Nazi to Mulva to carrying a Frogger arcade game across the street, you can quote every instance of the legendary series.

If you’re one of these people, what this article contains is nothing new. Instead, this introduces the mainstream to a holiday that is easily overlooked amid the preparations for Christmas day: Festivus.

Festivus, which is properly celebrated every Dec. 23, was firstly introduced to us on the “Seinfeld” episode titled, “The Strike,” in which Kramer (Michael Richards) goes on strike from his job as a bagel vendor. During the episode, Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller) approaches Kramer with an idea for a holiday to take away from the commercialism and materialistic vibe of Christmas:

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…out of that a new holiday was born … a Festivus for the rest of us!

The origins of Festivus

The casual partaker of Festivus may credit this holiday to Costanza and his desire to eliminate commercialism, but the reality is just that, real. Festivus was actually the brianchild of “Seinfeld” writer Dan O’Keefe, after being inspired by the idea that came from his father. His father, Daniel, wrote literature which reflected philosophies similar to the idea of Festivus, dating back to 1966.

The sitcom’s episode had an overall theme of the “Anti-Christmas” variety. The episode also included George Costanza (Jason Alexander) creating a fictional charity known as, “The Human Fund,” in which he could receive donations for personal gain.

The Festivus celebration

So with all this hullabaloo about Festivus, you may be asking yourself, how exactly do you celebrate such an outrageous holiday? The answer is simple: outrageously. The following are the appropriate steps to execute a successful celebration:

The Festivus celebration is summarized by three events: the raising of the Festivus pole, the airing of grievances and the feats of strength.

The Festivus celebration is summarized by three events: the raising of the Festivus pole, the airing of grievances and the feats of strength.

  • The Festivus pole

In an attempt to take away the flash and substance of the traditional Christmas tree, an unadorned aluminum pole must be erected to commemorate the holiday. This is done “in opposition to the commercialization of highly decorated Christmas trees, because it is ‘very low-maintenance,’ and also because the holiday’s patron, Frank Costanza, ‘finds tinsel distracting,'” according to Festivus fan site Festivusweb.

  • The airing of grievances

Christmas is a holiday to express gratitude for what you have with your family and loved ones. Festivus encourages the complete opposite. On this day, sit around the table and complain about what bothers you most. It is the perfect time to let those around you know exactly how you feel.

  • Festivus dinner

Opposed to a lavish feast with all the fixings, the dinner seen on the “Seinfeld” episode is a simple spaghetti with red sauce dinner, accompanied by meatloaf. Feel free to variate from this dish, as long as it’s still as average as the day itself.

  • The feats of strength

To conclude the Festivus festivities, the celebration ends with a feat of strength, in which a guest is chosen to wrestle the night’s host, and the celebrations do not end until the host is pinned. If you’re doing this, make sure the host is someone you can take on.


So there you have it, the proper way to celebrate the biggest non-commercialized holiday in the world. Now go out, stream this episode, enjoy your spaghetti and happy Festivus!








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