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Festivus: A Holiday for the Rest of Us

December 18th, 2020 · No Comments · City Library, Events, Holidays, Main Branch

Festivus is something many of us associate with episode 10, season 9, of the popular show Seinfeld, titled ‘The Strike’, but it was actually created nearly thirty years before that episode was written in 1997. The tradition was started by Daniel O’Keefe, father of ‘Seinfeld’ writer Dan O’Keefe, in 1966, initially as a sort of alternative holiday. The O’Keefe Festivus celebration differed from the Costanzas, but several key aspects, like the ‘Airing of Grievances’ and ‘Feats of Strength,’ carried over into the show.

One of the main differing features is the aluminum pole, described by Frank Costanza as having appeal due to its “high strength to weight ratio.” Instead, in the O’Keefe household, a clock was placed in a bag and nailed to the wall by the older Daniel O’Keefe. While the meaning behind this action is not clear, feel free to interpret it as you like, as the holiday is fluid and organic. It is not restricted to any specific rules, rather dictated by a feeling or an emotion, and can fit whatever is required by the celebrants.

Since the 2020 holiday season is going to look different this year, why not try something new and set up an aluminum Festivus pole, or nail a clock in a bag to the wall. Create your own Festivus tradition, whether it includes the standard ‘Feats of Strength’ or ‘Airing of Grievances’, or something entirely new. Perhaps watching the Festivus episode of Seinfeld with your family over Zoom will become a new part of your holiday celebration. Whatever it is, have a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season.

Read more about Festivus by reserving one of these books for curbside pick-up:

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