Get Out the Pole, It's Festivus

Get out the pole, and prepare to air your grievances and perform feats of strength. On December 23, it's Festivus, the holiday for "the rest of us," according to the character Frank Costanza (played by comedian Jerry Stiller) on television's Seinfeld. The sitcom ran from 1990 until 1998 and featured stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The show revolved around Seinfeld and his three friends, George Costanza (Jason Alexander), Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards). The origins of Festivus are revealed in season nine, episode 10: "The Strike."

History of Festivus

As the story goes, Frank Costanza created Festivus after he had a run-in with another guy when trying to buy a doll for his son, George. The altercation became physical and the doll was destroyed, but a new holiday was born.

Festivus is a holiday without pressures. There are no must-have gifts, and its central focus is the feast followed by two very special Festivus traditions: the "Airing of Grievances" and the "Feats of Strength." The "Airing of Grievances" gives family members a chance to complain about each other and the injustices the world has set upon them during that year. The head of household begins the "Feats of Strength" by challenging one person to a wrestling match. The Festivus celebration cannot conclude until the head of house is pinned.

Festivus and a feast

On December 23, invite your friends and family over to celebrate Festivus. Begin with a feast. You can create whatever menu strikes your fancy. Consider serving soup to commemorate the Seinfeld characters' obsession with the soup from a very eccentric chef, Yev Kassem (Larry Thomas). Other similarly inspired food choices may include pasta primavera, black-and-white cookies and a chocolate Babka as seen in the episode "The Dinner Party."

Decorating for Festivus

When planning a Festivus celebration, be sure to include the Festivus Pole for decoration. The Festivus Pole should be plain aluminum and stay undecorated. In the episode "The Strike,' Kramer wants to know what decorations are used for Festivus. Frank replies, "An aluminum pole. I find tinsel distracting." In keeping with Frank's simplicity preference, leave your Festivus Pole plain and avoid any twinkling lights.

Because Festivus is a nontraditional holiday, it is acceptable to plan your celebration on any day in December. However you decide to celebrate, embrace the Festivus experience. You can even sing The Twelve Days of Festivus, or O Festivus to the tune of O Christmas Tree.

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