Holiday Spirit

I Love the holiday season.  It’s the time when all have a reason to celebrate and a time we should all be in good spirits.  In fact, if you Google “December holidays” you will find a holiday to celebrate this season for many religions and beliefs in the World.

The holiday season kicks off with the retail community’s invention, “Black Friday”, which now starts on Thanksgiving or before, and essentially lasts until the day after Christmas with what the British, Canadians, and Australians celebrate, boxing day.  That gives us over a month of wishing good tidings to all, buying gifts, and more gifts, attending parties, overeating, buying bigger clothes because we ate too much, and figuring out our vacation days to max out our time off during the season. And after we get done, unwrapping presents, cleaning up, figuring what we will return to the stores, we have less than a week to get ready for the grand finale, New Year’s Eve. That’s when we make our annual resolutions to lose the weight we gained from all the celebrating. I’m exhausted just thinking about it all.

The holidays can also bring about feelings of stress, overwhelming pressure, and depression. So, when I happened to watch an episode of Seinfeld in 1996 where a character, Frank Castanza, known for his emotional outbursts, goes into a diatribe of how Christmas was so stressful that he created his own less stressful holiday, Festivus, I got it.

The episode is called “The Strike”.  It was written by Seinfeld writer, Dan O’keefe. Dan’s father, Daniel had earlier created the idea of a non-secular holiday as an alternative to Christmas and titled it: “Festivus, for the Rest of Us!”  The episode depicted the Festivus celebration:

It is celebrated on December 23rd not to conflict with Christmas.  The symbol is a plain aluminum pole, no decorations (less stressful). The holiday dinner is meatloaf on a bed of lettuce, I don’t think anyone is cooking all day to prepare this feast.

Ways of Celebrating
During dinner is the Airing of Grievances.  Celebrants go around the room exchanging grievances with each other.  (Kind of how my family’s meals end up everyday).

Next we have the Feats of Strength.  The head of the household challenges guests to wrestling matches.  The first one to pin the head of the household wins. I’m just reporting here, can’t explain this.

The last plank of the celebrations is the Festivus Miracles. This part is more contrived as celebrants try to find or create a miracle during the meal.  How do you create a miracle?  I’m not sure but if your family is anything like mine, making it through dinner without someone getting upset, angry, or storming away from the table, well, that would be our miracle.

 A Cult Following
Before you dismiss Festivus as just a comedic parody of Christmas consider this:  It has attracted a cult following including Jim Doyle, the former Governor of Wisconsin, Brian Billick, the former coach of the Baltimore Ravens,  and my favorite Ben and Jerry’s who created a tasty combination of brown sugar cinnamon with ginger bread chunks and a ginger swirl ice cream.  A reason by itself to celebrate Festivus!

That leaves me with this moral dilemma:  Is a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor enough reason to celebrate Festivus even though Hallmark has not developed a line of greeting cards to sell, retailers do not use it for special  promotions, the USPS does not honor it by  issuing a commemorative stamp, or  Federal or State offices are not closed for it’s observance,  and therefore results in no days off of work?  I’m conflicted, so let’s see how you feel about Festivus by taking a poll.  Simply fill out our survey below. Select your answer and then scroll down to click “Done”. We will publish the results on December 22nd, Festivus Eve, on the website.

Happy Holidays
In the meantime, I want to wish you the safest and happiest of whatever holiday you celebrate.

For me, you can wish me anything you’d like, including FESTIVUS for all of us!

Special thanks to Google for providing the details.



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