A Festivus for the rest of us

Barring Hanukkah and Diwali (which one could argue happens too early to qualify), Festivus is the first seasonal celebration of note. One might ask why Festivus has endured as such an important observance and I am here to answer that important question.

Festivus does not require or promote gift giving, therefore there is no need for a Festivus shopping frenzy, which is a great relief for finance ministers and central bankers. If you really have a problem not opening presents, you can still retain the spirit of Festivus by giving away something you can’t stand or no longer need, like that partially consumed can of cranberry sauce mouldering in the fridge since Thanksgiving because it will definitely not be required for Festivus dinner.

Speaking of which, Festivus dinner frees us all from the tyranny of turkey. Even if you like turkey, it’s a little prescriptive to have only one acceptable dinner on an arbitrary day in December. Festivus is truly a liberating observance that allows us to serve whatever we wish, including leftovers or anything flirting with an imminent best-before date. It is also a celebration of the casserole, eliminating the need for elaborate side dishes. Because after all, Festivus is about gathering people together and not culinary one-upmanship.

And when we gather together, the cornerstone of Festivus is of course the ‘airing of the grievances’. Unlike other gatherings of this type where family disputes and snubs are whisked under the carpet of goodwill, Festivus lets us get it all out on the kitchen table (as Festivus dinner is best served in an informal venue). Surely no one would argue that it is not best to head into a new year with all grudges firmly stated and entrenched.

All most everyone has a fitness goal on their New Year’s resolution list and countless dollars are spent signing up for the gym, never going to the gym, and then feeling guilty about both the wasted money and the wasted waist. Festivus promotes fitness and kick starts those goals through the traditional ‘feats of strength’. Some believe this custom was borrowed from Vulcan martial arts, but regardless the respect for strength and light-hearted demonstrations of the ability to pick up a car with your teeth (see traditional Festivus dinner above) are a much better health move than retiring to the couch after eating too much stuffing.

Finally, Festivus has zero carbon footprint. No trees need to die or be transported from the country to the city, or even better, no fake trees need to be manufactured in China and loaded into container ships for a fossil fuelled trip to the Home Depot Kristmas Korner. Au contraire. The Festivus pole can be used year after year and even if you tire of its shiny aluminum countenance, it can go straight into the recycling bin to transformed into all manner of things.

So Happy Festivus, and this year in particular, may we all experience the Festivus miracle of the sun coming up on December 22.