Happy Festivus 2022!

Are you fed up with the relentless commercialization of the holiday season? Take heart: You’re not alone!

The late Jerry Stiller, in his iconic role as Seinfeld‘s Frank Costanza, explained the origin of his anti-consumerist celebration in a now-infamous 1997 episode titled “The Strike“:

“Many Christmases ago I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way … Out of that, a new holiday was born. A Festivus for the rest of us!”

On the surface Festivus  — celebrated annually on Dec. 23 — looks like any other family gathering for the holidays, but the details make it special. They include a Festivus pole instead of a tree, the Feats of Strength — in which a younger relative attempts to pin the family patriarch — and the Airing of Grievances:

“At the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and you tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year,” Frank explains.

Festivus is completely absurd, which is what makes it fun, but it’s also a strong reaction against the all-encompassing commercialization of the holiday season. Every year it seems like the retail industry nudges the season a little further back. At first it was a few weeks, then the end of Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the holidays.

Now it’s not unusual to see lights, wreaths and images of Santa popping up in early November, setting the tone for more sales, more gifts, and more spending.

Of course if you’re reading this site, you’re a cat lover and you’re probably intimately familiar with the non-stop meowing of a dissatisfied cat. Not enough food, not enough snacks, not enough space on the bed, not enough scritches. To a cat, the Airing of Grievances can take place on any day of the year — and it often does. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be a special edition of it on Festivus.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to sit down to the Festivus table and get berated by Bud. I’m told his list of grievances is quite long this year.

Happy Festivus!

11 thoughts on “Happy Festivus 2022!”

  1. hee hee, Bella and Bertie fully agree ( as do I ). Being a grand old age now, there is nothing I need or want on a personal basis, so all gifts this year ( as for the last 10 years) are stated as “donations to the following animal charities… and a list supplied. I think it’s obviously different for children but the pressure on parents from the ad giants of “Madison Avenue” is relentless. Bella and Bertie, of course, see it simply as another day in paradise (ie: their house and us as their servants)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. Thankfully my nieces are creative and I always try to get them gifts that nurture their creativity, like art kits and that sort of thing, rather than yet another Disney product.

      I’m sure Bella and Bertie are not shy about their own Airing of Grievances to make sure you know which services need to be improved.

      Like

  2. Thanksgiving? It’s now Halloween!
    And I’ve seen some ads as early as early October/late September.
    As the American people get poorer and poorer, the corporations get more and more desperate, and try to get their third-quarter earnings earlier and earlier.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really out of control. I was just thinking about the planned obsolescence of tech gadgetry, how we’re on treadmills buying $700 smartphones that are designed to break down within 2 or 3 years to keep us on the upgrade cycles.

      We shake our heads at footage of people trampling each other on Black Friday, but our economy is wholly dependent on voracious consumerism. The trampling is normal, encouraged even.

      You’re right about the corps. This is not sustainable and no one seems to care.

      Like

  3. Today, I went to a national chain store (pharmacy & whatnot) for some last minute gift items. The Christmas stuff was still out. Right across the aisle however was Valentine’s Day merch, ready to go. Amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Milly is Airing her Grievances all right!! I just had the opportunity to foster two kittens for the first time in two years! Milly has forgotten all about being a Temporary kitten sitter while the hooman is out or asleep.

    The only way it works is if the go back to the shelter at the end! Gradual introduction commence now!

    Liked by 1 person

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