TV culture can really influence our reality, it can even provoke traditions and holidays! Among the festive effects TV has brought to us, the hilarious Festivus holiday is one of the greats to grace our calendars.
Brought to sitcom life by legendary comedy show writer of Sienfield, Dan O’Keefe, from the real-life inspiration of his father Daniel O’Keefe who officially started the makeshift holiday tradition.
Siendfield writer Dan took the liberty of embedding this holiday into the show in 1997, on the episode “The Strike” season 9 episode 10. Within the episode, it is revealed that the character George Costanza’s father invented Festivus when he was a child and has loathed it ever since.
Ready to learn more about this quirky holiday? You’ll be shouting “Festivus for the rest of us!” by the end of this article!
In this article
Meaning of Festivus
Let’s take a quick peek into the origins of Festivus as seen from the Seinfeld character Frank Costanza’s perspective:
Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.
Kramer: What happened to the doll?
Frank Costanza: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born. A Festivus for the rest of us!
Kramer: That must have been some kind of doll.
Frank Costanza: She was.“The Strike”, Seinfeld, Season 9 Episode 10
Frank Costanza’s character invented Festivus as an alternative to Christmas. Due to the fact that high pressure is put on by the holiday and how much the Christmas season has been commercialized. And so, in the heated moment of a blind Christmas rage, Festivus was born.
There are several Festivus practices and Festivus traditions, if you will, and you can bet your bottom dollar they are quite comical. Would we expect anything less from Seinfeld? Let’s take a deep dive into this secular holiday, and who knows you may just be swayed to take on Festivus yourself!
- Festivus Pole: No Christmas tree here! As Frank Costanza says “No. Instead there’s a pole. Requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting.”
- Airing of Grievances: During the Festivus meal (dinner) everyone takes turns expressing how the other people around the table have disappointed them throughout the year. Fun right?!
- Feats of Strength: After the oh-so-exciting Festivus meal, the feats of strength begin. This is where someone wrestles and attempts to pin down the head of the household (Frank Costanza) and the holiday would only officially come to an end once the head of the household was pinned.
When is Festivus Celebrated?
Festivus falls on December 23rd every year.
Since Festivus is a holiday in the place of the Christmas holiday as a way to avoid partaking in the hectic Christmas commotion, it’s no wonder that it is strategically celebrated on the day before Christmas Eve.
Where to Buy Festivus Pole
Getting into the Festivus spirit? Start by getting your very own Festivus pole! No decorating needed!
You can take a look at these best amazon Festivus poles, including one that you can make your own, to get your household all Festivus ready.
How to Make Festivus Pole
Do you want to celebrate Festivus, but you’re more of the crafty type? We’ve got you covered with this simple Festivus pole DIY! Follow these few steps, and you’ll be on your way to Festivus greatness.
- Gather your supplies: Pole, (Typically aluminum, but PVC pipe has been used too. Any pole material will do!) 2×4 pieces of wood (2), wood glue, saw and hole saw.
- Preparing your pole: The authentic Festivus pole itself is an aluminum pole 6 feet long and 2 inches in diameter, but you can make your Festivus pole fit you and your living space. You can find a pole of your choice at your local hardware store, or take a peek in your garage!
- Create the 2×4 base for the pole: Now that saw and wood pieces will come in handy! You can use the picture down below as a visual reference, for this, you’ll want to carefully cut two 20-inch long pieces and 2 more pieces that are 3 1/2 inches long.
- Assemble the base: Taking the 2 longer pieces, stack them as seen in the picture in an X formation. Now, with a writing utensil and the 3 1/2 inch piece of wood mark on the opposite ends of the 20-inch piece of wood that the Festivus pole will first be drilled through. On each end, you’ll want to use your wood glue and secure each 3 1/2 inch piece of wood in those spots. You’ll also want to glue the two pieces of wood together in their cross-section.
- Weigh down the base: To make sure the glue is fastened, use clamps or a heavy object and weigh down the base so the wood glue can do its magic. It’s best to leave this overnight!
- Drill your hole: Now that the glue is good to go, it’s time to drill the hole! Measure the bottom of your Festivus pole and drill a hole in the middle of your base that is slightly larger than the pole itself. That way, the Festivus pole is easy to assemble and disassemble.
And that’s it! Once your hole is drilled you can place the pole in its handy-dandy base and let the Festivus celebrations begin!
What are Festivus Feats of Strength
Ah yes, the mightiest of the Festivus traditions: the Feats of Strength. In the Seinfeld universe, this is arguably the part of Festivus character George Costanza detests the most.
Frank Costanza: George you’re forgetting how much Festivus has meant to us all. I brought one of the cassette tapes. *Frank presses play on the tape recorder*
Frank Costanza: Read that poem.
George Costanza: I can’t read it. I need my glasses.
Frank Costanza: You don’t need glasses. You’re just weak. You’re weak!
Estelle Constanza: *Estelle yelling* Leave him alone!
Frank Costanza: All right, George. It’s time for the Festivus feats of strength.
George Costanza: *George turns off the tape recorder, gets up and runs away yelling* Oh, no. Turn it off. There’s no feats of strength. I hate Festivus!
Frank Costanza: We had some good times.“The Strike”, Seinfeld, Season 9 Episode 10
In the Festivus traditions, the Festivus Feats of Strength rolls around (quite literally!) after the Festivus meal which is a dinner where the Airing of Grievances portion of the night takes place.
In the Feats of Strength, one individual is dubbed to wrestle the head of the household. The goal is for the head of the household to be pinned down, thus officially ending the Festivus holiday.
As one Seinfeld fan can imagine, George hated Festivus for many reasons but wrestling his father and ultimately getting pinned down by his father was high ranking on his hatred list.
Watch the official shortened version of the Seinfeld episode “The Strike” to see the awakening of Festivus for yourself!
GIFs are the hilarious trolls of the internet, and they are brilliant at capturing quotes and funny moments! Sprinkled throughout this article are Festivus gifs from “The Strike” episode; although it’s hard to capture the Seinfeld wit without the audio, when you watch that funny little gif you’ll swear you can hear the actor’s voices!
Now go off and grab your Festivus pole from your crawlspace, get the oven preheated for Festivus dinner, and if you’re the head of your household I’d start stretching now! Happy Festivus!
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