Festivus and Finding Joy in the Holiday Season

In Lifestyle, Relationships by Sarah Hink

December 23rd is quickly approaching, that means Happy Festivus! If you’ve never heard of this holiday, or only have some vague familiarity with it, don’t worry: Festivus is an entirely fictional holiday.

The origin of this fictional holiday is television writer Dan O’Keefe, who celebrated this tradition with his family and incorporated it into a 1997 episode of the hit comedy Seinfeld. In Seinfeld, the character George Costanza attempts to prove that his family celebrates Festivus in order to cover up a lie. While this fictional holiday was popularized as a silly storyline in a 90’s sitcom, the concept has taken on a life of its own. In fact, numerous politicians, cities, media companies, and even Google have adopted various Festivus traditions.

What is Festivus?

Celebrated on December 23rd, Festivus is jokingly designed as alternative to the commercialism of Christmas. Instead of a tree, there is a plain, undecorated aluminum pole. Following a dinner, Festivus participants engage in an “Airing of Grievances”, which involves informing other participants about problems they’ve had with the others. In the Seinfeld episode, George stated “I got a lotta problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it!” The airing of grievances is followed by a “Feat of Strength”, which in the episode, involved a wrestling match.

The Spirit of Festivus is Not a Bad One

While it is true that Festivus is a silly fictional holiday, it is also true that If you think about it, the idea of Festivus isn’t entirely a bad one. The holidays were never supposed to revolve around buying and receiving things. The holiday season is supposed to reflect gratitude toward our maker and gratitude for each other. This is something to keep in mind throughout the holidays: who you are grateful to and why.

In addition, while demonstrating a “feat of strength” might be amusing, we would prefer to focus on the airing of grievances. You don’t have to take things as far as George Costanza, but taking time to mutually air grievances and to constructively work toward resolution can be healthy for any relationship. This is because holding things in naturally builds your resentment, which your friends and loved ones cannot do anything about because they may not know there is a problem. Giving people an opportunity to resolve grievances can help your relationship move forward. Further, being open to listening to grievances about yourself returns the favor.

Contact New Direction Family Law

At New Direction Family Law, we are grateful for our family, friends, clients, and colleagues. If you need legal advice or representation regarding a separation, divorce, child custody matter, property division, alimony, or child support issue, call us. Our attorneys have ten years of combined legal experience and have built a reputation as smart, tough-minded professionals. We will stand up for your legal rights. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or visit us at our website.

Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law

New Direction Family Law
(919) 719-3470