December 9, 2007

A Festivus for the rest of us!

Get the aluminum pole out of the crawl space -- it's Festivus season!

As anyone who owned a television at some point in the past decade knows, or should know, Festivus is a winter holiday created by George Costanza's visionary father, in an episode of Seinfeld 10 years ago. Invented as an alternative to the commercialism, unrealistic expectations, and family unity of the traditional holidays, Festivus forsakes gift-giving and celebration for the more satisfying practices of airing grievances and wrestling family members. And as a pretender to the biggest holiday of the year, Festivus is really the king of indie holidays. And to the delight of those people who write the "offbeat news" columns in newspapers, Festivus is actually being celebrated by the portion of our society most interested in living like a parody of themselves. As this video compilation explains, Festivus consists of setting up an aluminum pole (for its high strength-to-weight ratio) on Dec 23rd, and gathering your friends and family around to explain to each of them how they have disappointed you over the past year. Having completed this affectionate task, the evening proceeds on to the Feats of Strength, which may take many forms and is not formalized beyond the precept that the celebration may only conclude when the head of household is pinned to the ground. Although gift giving is not required, the universal Festivus gift creed, for those who decide to anyway is to:

Give only something you don't want that you expect the recipient doesn't want either.
according to this tutorial video on the official Festivus pole dealer's website. That's right, the demand for Festivus poles has reached the point where they are really being produced and sold. (Who knew so many found tinsel distracting?) Anyway, I assume that people who actually celebrate the holiday find ways around insulting their friends and wrestling their parents but who knows.

I've never actually celebrated Festivus, but I wouldn't mind finding people who did, so that I could determine what nutritional value they might contain.