The Quick 10: Happy Festivus!
Yes, friends, it's that time of year again "“- the time of year when we gather together with friends and family to share feats of strength, airing our grievances and putting up the seasonal aluminum pole. Indeed, it's Festivus. What started as a joke on Seinfeld has become a bona fide holiday. Here are a few things you need to know before you break out the Festivus pole.
1. The Seinfeld Festivus was based on a real holiday made up by Dan O'Keefe, the father of one of the show's writers. But don't think that the two are the same. "The reality of this day was far more bizarre and sinister," wrote the younger O'Keefe. "Less like something from a comedy about zany, lovable New Yorkers and more like something from The X-Files. Like if one of the Lone Gunmen had children, and they all lived under a power line." He says that the tagline "Festivus for the Rest of Us" was made up by his father and is one of the similarities that actually made it into the show.
2. Rod Blagojevich inspired a Festival celebration just last year when a Festivus pole mysteriously appeared in the Illinois State Capitol's rotunda. It turned out that a college student had erected the pole as his "airing of grievances" against corrupt governor Blagojevich. The pole has returned this year.
3. In 2000, Ben & Jerry's introduced Festivus, "an ice cream for the rest of us." And it sounds like it was delightful "“ a base of brown sugar-cinnamon ice cream with gingerbread cookie chunks and a ginger caramel swirl. Um, yes, please. Unfortunately, the only place you'll find this particular Festivus is in the Ben & Jerry's Flavor Graveyard. You can ask them to bring it back, though, if you're so inclined. Also, I give the company props for writing what might be the coolest press release ever.
4. The Baltimore Ravens also capitalized on Festivus in 2000. When it looked like the Ravens might actually make the playoffs, their coach told the team that he didn't want to hear the word "playoff" come out of anyone's mouth. He wanted them to concentrate on the regular season and then they could consider the playoffs. Instead, the players started referring to the playoffs as Festivus and the Super Bowl as Festivus Maximus both amongst themselves and in the media.
5. Not to be outdone, a Wisconsin man put his own Festivus pole up at City Hall in Green Bay amidst a raging debate over whether a government building should have a nativity scene. Some people weren't very happy about his compromise, but another rather prominent Wisconsin resident happily displays his Festivus pole: the governor. When a Wisconsin-based company sent him a Festivus pole a couple of years ago, he promptly displayed it in his house. It's now in the state historical museum.
6. Speaking of which, if you want your own Festivus pole and can't be bothered to go to Home Depot and buy a pole (And rest assured I'm not mocking you; I would be in the same boat), you can check out festivuspole.com. They're pretty sweet.
7. There are also a few Festivus-based crafts over at KWillis.com. There are greeting cards (I especially like the one that says "You're a Disapointment!"), a worksheet for the Airing of your Grievances and a Feats of Strength Challenge Card ("I can't read it! I need my glasses!")
8. In 2008, Denver held their first annual Festivus Film Festival. Not only do they have a fun name, they have a pretty sweet logo as well.
9. If you're killing time at work today or tomorrow like a lot of people are, you can read the entire script for the Festivus episode ("The Strike") here.
10. What's Festivus without alcohol? If you can't imagine such a thing (I feel like it would really escalate the Airing of Grievances), then Festivus Wine may be just the thing for you.
Does anyone out there celebrate Festivus? Let us know what your traditions entail.