My New Festivus Pole

Direct and repressed people,
Hold your reprieves–
Get started on your meatloaf,
It’s Festivus Eve!

What’s that, you say? You don’t know Festivus, also known as Festivus for the Rest of Us?

Festivus has been practiced by author Dan O’Keefe since the 1960s and was introduced to the public in 1997 by his son Daniel, one of the Seinfeld writers.

Since then, thousands of people have joined in celebrating this December 23rd holiday, which is partially a statement against rabid consumerism. Some of us just love silly holidays.

In the Seinfeld episode “The Strike”, George Costanza’s dad invents the holiday after a particularly bad Christmas shopping incident. He revives the tradition during a holiday dinner, and it has been emulated ever since.

There are three main elements to Festivus. First, you must display a bare aluminum pole– no decorations. Second, during dinner, which usually includes meatloaf, the Airing of Grievances occurs. This is when you tell friends and family how much they’ve disappointed you over the past year.

The third element is Feats of Strength, which typically means wrestling. In some Festivus traditions, the holiday is officially over when the head of the household is pinned. Some Festivus parties also include a Festivus fruitcake.

Today a coworker and I made a Festivus pole as a lunchtime project. I found a three foot aluminum pole at the store, and he whipped up a wooden base for it. I was so impatient to put the pole up that I tried to prop it up in a ceramic plant pot I found under the kitchen sink. It crashed to the ground in several pieces moments later.

Once the pole had a secure footing, we took pictures of it against the starkest backgrounds possible. Just before leaving for the day some of us posed for Feats of Strength pictures with the pole. Celebrating Festivus at work was a lot of fun because it doesn’t offend anyone. It’s nonpartisan, nondenominational, somewhat nonsensical, and most people are familiar with it.

I checked out other Festivus poles on the web, and it looks like some people put theirs in Christmas tree stands. Hmm. A little too fancy, I think, although that’s practical. While spreading Festivus cheer and direct honesty, I received an emailed greivance from someone on an official grievance form. Wow, I need to send some of those out.

Honestly, I lobbied for the celebration all three components of Festivus at work because of the potential therapeutic value of the second and third parts. I’m sure that we all have things we would like to say to and resolve with our coworkers. It would be cathartic to wrestle to get all the pent-up ire out before the new year, when we could start fresh. Several people agreed that we could rent padded sumo suits to do that.

As for the fruitcakes, I mailed out inflatable fruitcakes this year, so guess that I have fulfilled that optional part of the Festivus holiday. And there’s still tomorrow, which is Festivus proper, to try to convince people to speak their minds and work out their weirdness.

You can find the original Seinfeld episode about Festivus on YouTube, and I’ll list some links to Festivus resources. While I do not mean to detract from Christmas, I am disappointed that the celebration of our Savior’s birth has become all about gimme gimme gimme, toys, family politics, commercialism, pressure, and stress. So I understand why some people defect and celebrate Festivus instead.

Grievance Forms: http://www.festivuspoles.com/Files/pdf/grievances.pdf

Festivus Poles: http://www.festivuspoles.com/pages/Festivuspoles.htm

Feats of Strength Challenge Card: http://www.kwillis.com/festivus/feats-of-strength-challenge.jpg

Festivus E Cards: http://www.airyourgrievances.net/festivus.html

A few Festivus websites tend to be vulgar, so beware of those if you do a general internet search for Festivus information.

Happy Festivus everyone! May your grievances be resolved and your wrestling without serious injury.


I find tinsel distracting. -Frank Costanza


Originally posted December 2010. And yes, my 2011 Festivus grievances have been delivered.

©2010 H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com.

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