Happy Festivus, everyone!
Festivus is a holiday celebrated “as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season.”
The holiday’s traditions include a Festivus pole, which must not be decorated (“I find tinsel distracting,” Festivus creator Frank Costanza explains), a Festivus dinner which typically includes family and friends, an Airing of Grievances and the Feats of Strength. The Airing of Grievances (Buddy’s favorite part) is an after-dinner tradition in which participants go around the table and tell everyone else how disappointing they’ve been all year, while the Feats of Strength signals the end of the holiday if younger members of the family are able to pin the family patriarch.
Because 2020 has been such a lousy year, many people likely forgot we lost Jerry Stiller this year. Stiller famously played Frank Costanza on Seinfeld, arguably the most well-known of the many roles the 93-year-old actor took on during his long career.
It may be a small mercy, in a way, since Stiller didn’t have to witness the first socially-distanced Festivus and holiday season as the Coronavirus rages across the US this winter. (Contrary to some clown’s vandalism on Wikipedia, Stiller died of natural causes, not COVID-19.)
In the real world, Festivus was created in 1966 by the writer Daniel O’Keefe. The holiday wasn’t popularly celebrated until 1997 when O’Keefe’s son, then a writer for Seinfeld, included the now-beloved holiday in an episode of the show.
Over the next two-plus decades, Festivus has become a “real” holiday, with many people marking the occasion by getting together with friends.