South O’ the Highway

Your Guide to Celebrating a Proper ‘Seinfeld’ Festivus

Christmas isn't for everyone. Why not try a different holiday this year?

Christmas is a time for celebrating our family and loved ones. While many feel that Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year,” it’s also understandable to get a little sick and tired of all the saccharine togetherness. That’s why we’re here to remind you that there’s another holiday in late December—one that’s equally festive, but less cloying. December 23 is Festivus! Read on to find out how to celebrate this alternative holiday.

Festivus was made famous in an episode of Seinfeld (created by and starring East Ender Jerry Seinfeld). In the episode “The Strike,” written by Dan O’Keefe, Kramer asks his boss at the bagel shop for the day off on December 23, in observance of the holiday. However, Festivus was actually created by O’Keefe’s father in the 1960s or 1970s, and there are several differences between the holiday portrayed on Seinfeld and the O’Keefe family tradition.

The holiday, which is celebrated by George Costanza and his family on the show, revolves around an undecorated aluminum pole (you can order your own pole at festivuspoles.com). The traditional Festivus meal (also eaten by the Costanzas) is a meatloaf placed atop a bed of plain lettuce. Alternatively, you can try the O’Keefe dinner, which is turkey, ham, beef stew or lamb chops with pecan pie for dessert.

The main Festivus event is the Airing of Grievances, which takes place during dinner. During this activity, everyone goes around the table and give reasons why the loved ones present disappointed them during the year. While George Costanza’s dad is the only one who is allowed to do this on Seinfeld, the O’Keefe family extends the invitation to everyone. After the Airing of Grievances are the Feats of Strength. During the Feats of Strength portion of the evening, the head of the household is wrestled and pinned to the ground by a guest of their choosing (in Seinfeld’s case, Kramer was the “lucky” wrestler).

Festivus may not be a widespread tradition like Christmas, and celebrating the holiday may cause family drama and literal physical pain. But if you need a respite from all the comfort and joy, consider holding a Festivus celebration instead.

For more info about Festivus, check out festivusweb.com.

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