Sick of Commercialism? Try a Festivus For the Rest of Us

Blake Milhoan, Features Editor

   Have you ever wanted to spend less money on Christmas? Have you ever thought the over-commercialization of the holiday was bad or even corrupt? Then you may want to consider celebrating Festivus this year. According to a dictionary definition, “Festivus is the name of a secular and non-commercial holiday characterized by the raising of an aluminum pole, the serving of a dinner, the airing of grievances, and the demonstration of feats of strength” (

   The Festivus website states that Festivus is meant as an alternative or direct protest against the commercialism of Christmas and the month of December as a whole. It usually takes place on December 23, but it can be celebrated throughout the month and even throughout the whole year  (

   An episode of Seinfeld named “The Strike” first popularized the holiday; it aired on December 18, 1997. In the episode, Frank Costanza talks about how he wanted to come up with a new holiday after fighting over a toy for his son (

   Despite the episode being the source of its popularity, Festivus doesn’t only originate from Seinfeld. A writer for the show, Dan O’Keefe, celebrated this holiday before the episode aired. “Daniel O’Keefe Sr. originally invented Festivus as a way to have a holiday that was secular and not burdened by the religious and commercialism of the holiday season” ( 

   Initially, O’Keefe didn’t want to put Festivus in the episode at all. According to CNN, O’Keeffe said this about the holiday: “The other writers and Jerry said, yeah, ‘we’d like to give this to America.’ I said I don’t think America wants it at all or should have it, but they prevailed upon me, and now the chickens have come home to roost.” Just like the origin of the holiday, Festivus also has some unique traditions. There are five main steps to celebrating Festivus (

   First, according to CNN, get a Festivus pole. A Festivus pole is an aluminum pole standing straight up attached to a wooden stand. Fortunately, there is a website where you can buy them premade. It must also be unadorned, as it is a direct parallel to the traditional Christmas tree. 

   Second, prepare a Festivus dinner. Meatloaf is the main meal that people eat on Festivus, and it is presented on a bed of lettuce.        

   Third, air your grievances. To do this, you must tell all the people celebrating Festivus with you what they have done to disappoint you. 

   Fourth, join in the feats of strength. The head of the household must wrestle with a guest at the celebration; Festivus isn’t officially over until the host is pinned to the floor. 

   Finally, call all slightly non-routine events Festivus miracles. Another tradition featured in the episode is the phrase “a Festivus for the rest of us,” which was, again, coined by O’Keefe’s father ( 

   Festivus could be celebrated simply as an appreciation of Seinfeld, the show that introduced it to the world. Or, according to Senior Farzana Akhter, you could, “…just hang out with your friends and celebrate without spending lots of money.” No matter which way you choose to do it, if you’re planning on celebrating Festivus with the rest of us this year, make sure to mark your calendar for December 23 or any other day you prefer, and get your own aluminum pole while they’re still in stock.