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How to Celebrate Festivus: A Guide for the Rest of Us

How to Celebrate Festivus: A Guide for the Rest of Us

And the wise woman stared down at the red-headed child swaddled between two sheep and a raccoon and proclaimed, “Today. Today shall be a Festivus for the rest of us!” And the whole town rejoiced by flinging their popsicles in the air and lighting their paper airplanes on fire. And that my child is the story of the very first Festivus, say a bunch of grandmas, right now, probably, somewhere in the world.

Why? Because it’s Festivus time! This special time of the year has descend upon us like the head of the household in the "Feats of Strength." Yay! We've got less than a week to prepare for Festivus (December 23), so get your aluminum pole and list of grievances ready, because Festivus 2013 is going to be a doozy. To help with last-minute preparations, we’ve compiled an all encompassing guide to Festivus for you and your family. Merry Festivus to all and to all a good day!


In short, Festivus is a holiday for the rest of us. Meaning: it’s for everyone. It’s a secular holiday for people who want to celebrate, but simultaneously avoid the commercialism of Christmas and the holiday season. It is also a central story in the Seinfeld episode “The Strike,” or, as it is know among Festivus celebrators, “The Day the Nation’s Eyes Turned to Truth.”


1. An Aluminum Pole: In lieu of a Christmas tree, menorah, or other religious holiday symbol, the aluminum pole is a timeless symbol of the Festivus celebration. It is to be kept undecorated! Refer to it as the “Festivus Pole.”
2. Dinner: There are many schools of thought on what constitutes an official Festivus dinner. Some say it can only be meatloaf and spaghetti with tomato sauce, others say a turkey or ham dinner is fundamental and a Pepperidge Farm cake decorated with M&Ms must be served for dessert. We like to combine both traditions together in one meal: A turkey/ham meatloaf and M&Ms covered in red sauce.
3. Sense of Humor: This is important for all things, but especially Festivus. No one wants a dry, stick-in-the-mud Festivus celebrator. Loosen up with your best 1997 Kramer impersonation. Grandma will love it.
4. A List of Grievances: As soon as dinner has been served (please see #2), the “Airing of Grievances” begins. This is the time to finally tell your little brother how annoying it is that he hides your shower cap in the kitchen cabinet and that you think you deserve a higher allowance for all the chores you do around the house. Stick it to the man! (the man = friends, family, and the world at large).
5. Muscles: Someone’s got to have some or you’ll be celebrating Festivus all year long. The “Feats of Strength” is the closing tradition in the celebration of Festivus, and is muy importante because it decides when the holiday has ended. What? You’re confused? OK, The “Feats of Strength” goes like this: The head of the household (HOTH) selects one person to battle in a wrestling match; that person may decline, and another is picked; the match commences, and Festivus continues until the HOTH is pinned to the ground. So, we hope you’ve been doing extra pushups in gym class because someone’s going to have to pin grandpa to the floor or you’ll be hearing your family’s grievances over and over forever and ever.
6. Imagination: Like #3, this is vital for most activities in your life, but the loosey-goosey nature of Festivus makes imagination super crucial for this holiday. Start another Festivus tradition! Find a new Festivus decoration! Add to the holiday with YOUR MIND PEOPLE.
7. A Miracle: A Festivus miracle is something you do—YOU—in the physical world, meaning you cause the thing to happen and then declare it a miracle. Went to the store and bought milk? A Festivus miracle! Scraped the ice out of your driveway? A Festivus miracle! You see the pattern.

How do you plan on celebrating Festivus?

Topics: Life
Tags: holidays, how tos, seinfeld, celebration, secularism, festivus, feats of strength

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About the Author
Ashley Brooke Roberts

Ashley Brooke Roberts is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actor living in Brooklyn. She's a performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and can usually be found smiling at random dogs on the street. Follow her on twitter at @AshleyBRoberts.

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