Festivus for the Rest of Us

December 26, 2007
I can remember running down the newly-installed hardwood stairs in my house on December 23rd 2003, hoping that my Mom made her famous cranberry cinnamon rolls. “Dad, why is there a giant metal pole in our front yard,” I asked with a puzzled, sleepy look. “It’s Festivus, Sand,” he relied. “Festivus for the Rest of Us.” Up until this insightful moment of my life, I thought that the holiday season only included Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Winter Solstice- not that I knew what Winter Solstice was. What was this ‘Festivus’ my dad spoke of? Did he just make it up? And what’s a giant metal pole in my front yard have to do with it?

Essentially, Festivus is the brainchild of Seinfeld character, Frank Costanza. One Christmas, after fighting over a doll for his son in the store, Frank decided Christmas was too commercial. As a result, he created his own winter holiday: Festivus. As senior Margaret Wheeler puts it, “It's kinda like an anti-Christmas. You have this big dinner and there's a thing called the Airing of Grievances, where you go around telling everyone at the table how they've disappointed you in the past year. After dinner, there is some sort of wrestling match [called the Feats of Strength] between the head of the house and a challenger.” Every household that celebrates Festivus also erects a large, plain, aluminum pole in place of a Christmas tree at the focal point of the common room.

While the customs of Festivus might seem foreign to traditional holiday-goers, the overall idea of the holiday is surprisingly welcomed in the St. Agnes community. “I don't celebrate Festivus” said Danielle D. “It’s not too ridiculous though because you get to tell people what you really think of them.” Even Mrs. Griffin agrees that Festivus is a holiday to love. “I think everyone should celebrate Festivus,” she said. “How could you go wrong with the aluminum pole? The holiday is so much better without all of the commercialized distractions!”

So maybe my dad isn’t crazy for driving a 7 ft aluminum pole in our front yard. Maybe, despite all its strange customs, Festivus is simply a stripped down, non denominational form of its commercialized brother, Christmas. Or maybe, it’s just a holiday so completely beyond practicality that there’s no choice BUT to celebrate it. “No tinsel, no problem,” right?

Some information regarding Festivus from: Festivus The Holiday for the Rest of Us; By: Allen Salkin

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