On the Blessed Origins of Festivus

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While most people in the US will be celebrating Christmas today, I'm guessing a few of you out there will be gathering around the olde Festivus pole. For those of you indulging in Festivus (A Holiday for the Rest of Us!), you might be interested in learning that the Costanza clan's strange celebration of choice-- popularized on Seinfeld-- actually existed long before the show. The holiday, which features a stark aluminum pole instead of a Christmas tree, "The Airing of Grievances" where complaints are voiced about friends that have wronged you, and "The Feats of Strength" where someone has to wrestle and pin down the head of the household for the event to end, was conceived by staff writer Dan O'Keefe's father. The holiday got its start when Dan's father began researching a bunch of obscure European holidays. Basically, he  bundled them together as an excuse to gripe about his magazine job (he worked for Reader's Digest). According to Dan, not only was he forced to attend the make-shift celebration for years, supposedly the O'Keefe household event was far stranger than anything depicted on the sitcom.

In any case, if you're looking to recreate Festivus in your home, we'd suggest you start with the pole. Here's a bit of the Kramer/ Frank Costanza dialogue to inspire you.
Cosmo Kramer: And is there a tree?
Frank Costanza: No, instead, there's a pole. It requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting.
Frank Costanza: It's made from aluminum. Very high strength-to-weight ratio.

December 25, 2009 - 7:15am
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