Celebrating Festivus: An Unconventional Holiday for Everyone


If you’re looking for an unconventional holiday to add to your December festivities, look no further than Festivus. Invented by Dan O’Keefe in the 1960s and popularized by the television series Seinfeld almost 30 years later, Festivus is a great way to celebrate the season with friends and family. Let’s take a look at what Festivus is, how it came to be, and how you can celebrate it in your own home.

Festivus Fast Facts

  • Festivus is a holiday celebrated on December 23 that was created for those who don’t have a traditional holiday to celebrate.
  • The holiday was conceived by author and editor Daniel O’Keefe, and was celebrated by his family as early as 1966.
  • In 1982, Daniel O’Keefe wrote a book, Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic, that deals with idiosyncratic ritual and its social significance, a theme relevant to Festivus tradition.
  • Festivus is now celebrated on December 23, as depicted in the Seinfeld episode written by the younger O’Keefe titled “The Strike“.
  • The aluminum pole was not part of the original O’Keefe family celebration which centered around putting a clock in a bag and nailing it to wall.
  • Other traditions introduced due to the Seinfeld episode include practices such as the “airing of grievances” during which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed them over the past year, followed by “feats of strength” involving wrestling head household member to the floor until pinned.

What Is Festivus?

Festivus is a holiday celebrated on December 23rd that has its roots in the O’Keefe family tradition. The O’Keefes created Festivus as an alternative holiday celebration that focused on togetherness instead of gifts and other material possessions typically associated with Christmas. Dan O’Keefe’s son Daniel wrote about his father’s invention of the holiday in his 1997 book The Real Festivus. The popularity of this unconventional holiday exploded after it was featured on an episode of Seinfeld in 1997.

Celebrating Festivus

The traditional celebration of Festivus includes some unique activities like “airing of grievances,” which involves people voicing their complaints about each other during dinner; “Feats of Strength,” where participants compete against one another in physical challenges; and the centerpiece, an aluminum pole which stands in place of a Christmas tree. It’s believed aluminum was chosen because it lacked any commercial value or sentimental meaning.

How to Celebrate the Holiday at Home

If you want to host a festive festivity with friends and family this year, here are some tips on how to get started:

  • Pole – Choose an appropriate pole for use during your celebration;
  • Invitations – Invite guests to join you while explaining the traditions involved in celebrating Festivus;
  • Food & Drinks – Serve food and drinks appropriate for the special day;
  • Music – Play music appropriate for the gathering (optional).
  • A Seinfeld Marathon – Have a Seinfeld marathon of your favorite episodes and share it with your loved ones.

A Holiday for the Rest of Us

Festivus is a great way to bring together people who want something different from traditional holidays like Christmas. With its message of togetherness and focus on community rather than presents, there’s something truly special about this unique holiday that everyone can enjoy—regardless of religious beliefs or backgrounds. If you’re looking for something different this season, why not try celebrating a Festivus? It may just become your favorite new tradition!

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