When "Seinfeld" first introduced "Festivus" to mainstream America in 1997, the show's writers probably had no idea that 14 years later not only would it still be celebrated every Dec. 23, but that it would fit so well in an online world where "airing of the grievances" is pretty much a regular pastime.
For those of you who haven't caught the episode in countless reruns, "Festivus for the rest of us" became a catchphrase after the show's fictional Frank Costanza (George's dad) introduced it as an all-inclusive, secular alternative to Christmas consumerism. See if this jogs your memory:
The New York Times explained to viewers years later that the holiday had actually been around since 1966, invented by Dan O'Keefe, whose son Daniel was a writer on "Seinfeld."
His son took some evolutionary leaps with his dad's idea: He added a plain aluminum Festivus pole, the "airing of grievances" (a chance for family members to expel the pent-up feelings towards other relatives) and "feats of strength," wrestling matches that end with the take-down pinning of the family patriarch.
Others have contributed their own additions to the holiday over the years, which the wonderful World Wide Web has brought to us in full glory.
- At FestivusWeb.com, revelers can peruse tips on airing grievances (including posting sticky notes to poles), party ideas and re-gifting suggestions. (Might we suggest some tech gadget reycling?)
- The Denver-based Festivus Film Festival (try saying that three times fast) celebrates indie films, though other than the name, it doesn't seem to have too many gimmicks associated with the holiday.
- On Facebook, you can see how your friends include Festivus in their status updates by checking this page.
On Twitter, Festivus tweets are the best example of grievance airing gone viral, with users encouraging each other to sound off (as if they need a holiday to do that) and brag about feats of strength. Feel free to do both or either in our comments! Happy Festivus ... for the rest of us!