Tuesday, December 21, 2004


At my kids' dance recital last Saturday, I got to sit through a reading of "Twas the night before ... the holidays" with the children miming "snug in their beds" and dancing to "visions of sugarplums." Each time the poem traditionally used the word "Christmas" the teacher substituted "the holidays." The holidays?

Yes, well I suppose holidays exist and many have now gussied themselves up and set up shop in December: Kwanzaa, Hanukah (however you spell it) and now ... Festivus. Festivus is a Seinfeld-popularized shindig for "the rest of us":

Those two rituals — accusing others of being a disappointment and wrestling — are traditions of Festivus as explained on the show by the character Frank Costanza. On that episode he tells Kramer that he invented the holiday when his children were young and he found himself in a department store tug of war with another Christmas shopper over a doll. "I realized there had to be a better way," Frank says.

So he coined the slogan "A Festivus for the rest of us" and formulated the other rules: the holiday occurs on Dec. 23, features a bare aluminum pole instead of a tree and does not end until the head of the family is wrestled to the floor and pinned.

Sounds like fun! You can get a list of grievances worksheet here, and a feats of strength challenge card here. E-mail cards are here and here.

An outfit called the "Church of the Rotate Your Envelope Stock" founded by The Late Very Left Rev. Oral Groove has adopted and extended the Festivus holiday, designating it a High Holy Day of Optional Observation:
Although Festivus will symbolize nothing in particular, it will give friends and family an additional opportunity to get together, once the weather gets nice. Airing of grievances is recommended prior to consumption of alcoholic beverages, including the ceremonial sip of Miller Genuine Draft. Suggested feats of strength include a friendly thumb wrestling tournament. CRYES proposes expanding the celebration into a full day of activities, adding such events as offspring achievement comparisons, sports team bashing and tire rotation relay races.
So King, it really is "the season" now. Go ahead and "get that special feeling during the month of December." I admit it doesn't have a great ring to it but we mean well ... or maybe not.

UPDATE: Tom at Functional Ambivalent says the force behind the politically correct generic holiday greetings is primarily "conservative Republicans whose compensation packages have been designed by other conservative Republicans to align the interests of employees and shareholders." In short, profit-seeking managers. Hmmm ... do I smell a candidate for this year's list of grievances?


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