Festivus, For the Rest of Us
By Nancy Wurtzel on December 14, 2012
Happy Festivus!! Let the countdown begin. There are just nine days left before this most wonderful of holidays — “Festivus, for the rest of us.” If you are a Seinfeld devotee, then you probably mark this special December 23 celebration.
But do you know the story of how Festivus actually began?
Festivus was started innocently enough in the 1960s in upstate New York. Daniel O’Keefe, created the fun holiday and it became a family tradition. Decades later, one of the O’Keefe offspring, Dan, worked on the Seinfeld show. Dan shared tales of his Festivus family celebrations and lo a classicSeinfeld episode was born on Dec. 18, 1997.
In the Festivus episode, Frank Costanza, George’s father, was a rabid Festivus observer.
This unique holiday, as featured on Seinfeld, involves an aluminum pole (unadorned and always tinsel-free), the Airing of Grievances (AOG) over dinner and the sharing of Festivus miracles. The episode also included donations made to “The Human Fund,” remembering Castanza family celebrations of the past (complete with pathetic audio tapes), and finally the Feats of Strength — wrestling between the males at the Festivus gathering.
“The Strike,” episode was an immediate hit.
For Seinfeld enthusiasts, you will recall it also featured Kramer walking a one-man picket line against a bagel store, Jerry’s girlfriend of the week (of course) and George’s boss, Kruger, who drank from a flask all through the Festivus meal.
None of it was a pretty picture.
Yet, for the Seinfeld faithful, the Festivus episode is a true classic. At this time of year, the episode is fondly remembered and quoted often.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.
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