Once upon a time, on a cold February day in the year 1966, a writer by the name of Dan O’Keefe went on a date with his future wife, Deborah. In order to impress Deborah with his creativity and sense of humor it is said that Dan declared it Festivus Day. Little did he know that thirty-one years later, his son Daniel, a screenwriter for the hit TV show, Seinfeld, would introduce Festivus into the script.
And little did either one of them know that it would henceforth be a day that is written about and celebrated in varying degrees of seriousness!
In modern times (post Seinfeld), Festivus is celebrated on December 23. Its traditions include:
a Festivus Pole – an unadorned aluminum pole. There’s no need for decorations, no distracting tinsel; just a strong aluminum pole. We save up a bunch of the cardboard tubes from paper towels, tape them together and then cover in aluminum foil. Works like a charm!
the Festivus Dinner – the original Festivus at the O’Keefe household included your basic turkey and/or ham followed by a Pepperidge Farm cake decorated with M&M’s. The Seinfeld Festivus dinner featured an unnamed loaf, either meatloaf of tofu loaf. No one is quite sure. We stick with the original PF cake decorated with M&M’s! Slivers all around. Yum!
Airing of Grievances – following dinner those in attendance get to ‘lash out’ at each other and the world at large. A structured way of complaining and unloading. Like “Why do you always take off your shoes and leave them on my side of the bed.” “I’m sick and tired of war.” Fabulous way to ‘lighten’ up!
Feats of Strength – tradition dictates that the head of the household challenge one person to a wrestling match. In theory, feats of strength are not over until the head of household is pinned to the floor. We talk about it, but never get to it. We’re weak!
Festivus Miracles – are declared at the end of the day. The smaller ‘miracle’ the better. For instance, “The mail is here.” And everyone yells, “It’s a Festivus Miracle, the mail arrived.”
The best things about Festivus is that it’s a made up holiday, so make it up any way you like; and there are absolutely no expectations. Whoever participates, participates; and those who don’t show up, no biggie!
A happy Festivus to all!
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