View Full Version : Festivus, not just for "Seinfeld"

Flash Bastard
12-23-2005, 10:05 PM

Airing of grievances, raising the pole, feats of strength. These are all important elements of the Festivus tradition.

Invented in 1966 by a Reader's Digest editor but made popular through a 1997 "Seinfeld" episode, the fictional celebration has been brought to life by fervent supporters across the country, including 24-year-old Blake Coe.

According to the "Seinfeld" episode, Festivus is celebrated on Dec. 23 and is marked by a tinsel-free aluminum pole, feats of strength, like wrestling, and the airing of grievances, during which followers tell loved ones how they have disappointed them during the year.

Although Coe also celebrates Christmas, he said Festivus is a welcome break from the holidays.

"With all of the things that now make the Christmas season about political correctness, over-commercialization and greed, it is refreshing that Festivus separates itself from that," said Coe, who has been celebrating the fictional holiday for five years.

Coe recently moved to Chicago, but he'll be home for Festivus. On Saturday, Coe's parents, Sally and Ken, put up the pole. Grandma was there, too.

Coe said he bought the aluminum pole, a centerpiece of Festivus celebrations, a few years ago at Home Depot for $5. However, merchants are now selling them online for almost $40. "I wish we had thought of that at the time," Blake Coe said, laughing.

The term "Festivus" yields more than 20,000 Web sites in monthly Google searches, said Allen Salkin, who tracked the figures for his new book, "Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us," which was released in October by Warner Books.

"Nobody else is writing about it, but it is out there; a very deep and widespread subculture," Salkin said. "I think it has to do with a need for tolerance and a holiday where you don't exclude anybody."

Coe and his friends observe the feats of strength by holding annual billiards and video game tournaments. As for the airing of grievances, "We pretty much go around and talk about each other's less finer moments," said Pat Heber.

Typically, the feats of strength, or aggression-absorbing activities, are held immediately after the airing of grievances, but there are no hard and fast rules, Salkin said.

That flexibility makes it easy for everyone to celebrate Festivus, he added.

But not everyone will. Elizabeth Zill, who is featured in Salkin's book, said one Festivus celebration was enough for her family. A few years ago, Zill strung lights around a metal coat rack and presented it to her teenage daughter as an alternative to the Christmas tree the family never bought.

"Oh, my daughter was ticked at me," Zill said, laughing. "George didn't find it too amusing either," she added, referring to "Seinfeld" character George Costanza (Jason Alexander), who was less than thrilled about his father's idea. "I have a George."

12-23-2005, 11:28 PM
hahahah, Americans are funny