It’s that time of the year again, so dust off your aluminum pole and get ready to air your grievances. That’s right, people, it’s Dec. 23 — also known as Festivus.
As NewsFeed explained last year, Festivus is a made-up holiday popularized — and, really, immortalized — by a 1997 episode of Seinfeld called “The Strike.” It was originally the brainchild of a former Readers’ Digest editor named Dan O’Keefe (father of Seinfeld writer Daniel O’Keefe), who began the tradition in 1966, according to a 2004 New York Times article. O’Keefe said the word just popped into his head one day, and soon, Festivus began to evolve as a wacky family tradition. That is, until the younger O’Keefe adapted it into the classic Seinfeld story line, transforming it into a national pop culture phenomenon.
In the episode, George Costanza begrudgingly explains to his friends that his father, Frank, dreamed up Festivus as a less commercial alternative to Christmas — “a Festivus for the rest of us.” Traditions include the erecting of an aluminum Festivus pole and two key practices: Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength. As you might imagine, George doesn’t mind the former too much; but he loathes the latter.
Fifteen years after that iconic episode aired, the spirit of Festivus lives on. Even the folks at Google are celebrating this sanctimonious day with a fun little surprise. So put up your Festivus pole, air some grievances and enjoy this special day. And if you’re as lucky as Kramer, you might even stumble upon a Festivus miracle.