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Happy Festivus – December 23

Happy Festivus! You probably know about Festivus – celebrated on December 23 – from watching the famous episode of Seinfeld about the holiday.

In the show, Frank Costanza brings up haunting childhood memories of the holiday to his son George, including the “airing of grievances” and “feats of strength.”

But did you know that Festivus has been around for over 50 years?

Let’s take a deeper look at the origins and meaning of the quirky, alternative holiday, understand the Festivus rituals, and read some quotes from the Seinfeld cast.

Celebrate Festivus.

When is Festivus?

Festivus is celebrated on December 23 each year.

What is Festivus?

What is the meaning of Festivus? Festivus is a secular (non-religious) holiday celebration without the typical commercial and religious pressures associated with Christmas.

The TV show Seinfeld brought the holiday to broad public attention in 1997, characterizing it as a parody holiday.

Happy Festivus FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about the holiday of Festivus.

What day does Festivus fall on this year?

Festivus falls on December 23rd each year. Check out the chart below to find what day that is for the current year:

  • Saturday, December 23, 2023
  • Monday, December 23, 2024
  • Tuesday, December 23, 2025

Happy Festivus!

Who invented Festivus? How was Festivus created?

Daniel O’Keefe originally created Festivus in 1966 as a tribute to his wife, Deborah, on the anniversary of their first date. O’Keefe was an author and editor at Reader’s Digest for over 30 years.

Seinfeld TV show connection to the Holiday

Fast-forward to 1997. O’Keefe’s son, Dan O’Keefe, a writer on Seinfeld, used his father’s holiday—and his family’s history of celebrations of it—as inspiration, writing Festivus into an episode of the show called “The Strike.”

The popularity of Festivus took off from there, becoming part of popular culture and a new holiday for the rest of us to celebrate.

Festivus on December 23

What are the rules of Festivus?

These are the rituals of Festivus, as seen in the 1997 episode of Seinfeld called “The Strike.”

  • Festivus Dinner – Family and friends gather around the dinner table for a meal in celebration of the holiday.
  • The Festivus Pole – An unadorned aluminum pole is set up to celebrate Festivus, in contrast to the garish, tinsel-adorned Christmas tree in many homes.
  • Airing of Grievances – During the Festivus meal, each person announces all the ways each of the others around the table have disappointed them over the past year.
  • Festivus Miracles – In the Seinfeld episode featuring Festivus, Cosmo Kramer declares a “Festivus Miracle” for easily explainable events in celebration of the holiday.
  • Feats of Strength – After the Festivus meal, challengers try to wrestle the head of the household to the floor. The holiday ends only if the head of the household gets pinned.

Seinfeld “Festivus” Episode Excerpt Video

What is the Happy Festivus slogan?

The original creator of Festivus and his family used the phrase “A Festivus for the rest of us” after the death of his wife in 1976.

In the seminal Seinfeld episode, Frank Costanza describes to Kramer how the idea of Festivus came to him. Many Christmases ago, he was fighting off another customer to buy a doll for his son George.

The doll was destroyed. In the aftermath, he explains, “I realized there had to be another way. But out of that, a new holiday was born. A Festivus for the rest of us!”

How does Festivus end?

Festivus ends with the Feats of Strength. Challengers to the head of the household try to wrestle him to the floor. When the head of the household is pinned, Festivus is over.

Check out 173 Funny Drinking Toasts

Festivus holiday.

Happy Festivus Quotes

1.) Welcome, newcomers. The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re gonna hear about it.
Frank Costanza

2.) Weren’t there feats of strength that always ended up with you crying?
Jerry Seinfeld to George Costanza

3.) A Festivus for the rest of us!
Frank Costanza

4.) Frank invented a holiday. He’s so prolific.
Cosmo Kramer

5.) It has a certain understated stupidity.
Jerry Seinfeld

6.) 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 Costanza

7.) Let’s do it, then! Festivus is back! I’ll get the pole out of the crawl space.
Frank Costanza

8.) Instead, there’s a pole. Requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting.
Frank Costanza on why the Festivus pole is bare

9.) George, Festivus is your heritage. It’s part of who you are.
Frank Costanza

10.) Happy Festivus, Georgie. 
Elaine

11.) It’s a Festivus Miracle!
Cosmo Kramer

12.) Until you pin me, George, Festivus is not over! Let’s rumble!
Frank Costanza

13.) Oh, please, somebody, stop this!
George Costanza

14.) This is the best Festivus ever!
Frank Costanza

15.) All I’m saying is if you celebrate Festivus, you may live longer.
Jerry Stiller

16.) It’s a stupid holiday my father invented. It doesn’t exist.
George Costanza 

17.) Have we accidentally invented a cult?
Dan O’Keefe, the originator of Festivus

Tips For Having a Happy Festivus

18.) It’s essential to have a nice pole with a good “strength-to-weight” ratio. Aluminum works best. It should be about seven feet high. IMPORTANT: Do not decorate the pole. Tinsel is distracting.

19.) No gifts, please.

20.) Prepare in advance for the “feats of strength” portion of the holiday celebration. See the list below.

21.) Invite guests to see the pole.

22.) The host welcomes guests before dinner and starts with airing grievances.

23.) Look for Festivus miracles throughout the celebration.

Festivus Greetings – Happy Festivus

24.) Warm wishes on Festivus.

25.) A Festivus for the rest of us.

26.) Happy Festivus!

27.) May the joy of the Festivus season be with you all year long.

28.) Merry Festivus Wishes!

29.) Wishing you a very Happy Festivus! Wait for some amazing Festivus miracles to happen.

30.) Tis the Festivus season! May you have the most memorable Festivus of your life. Raise the Festivus pole, air the grievances, and test the feats of strength.

31.) Warmest greetings this Festivus season.

32.) May your Festivus be filled with true miracles and the best Festivus of your life.

33.) On the occasion of Festivus, my only wish is that all your grievances be aired on this day.

Feats of Strength Ideas

Thumb wrestling – you know, “1,2,3,4 I declare a thumb war.” It’s a suitable feat of strength that won’t likely result in any injuries.

Leg wrestling – move the coffee table to the side and have at it.

Balancing act – See who can stand on one leg the longest without losing balance.

Arm wrestling – Keep those elbows flat on the table surface.

Wall squat endurance contest – Determine who can stay in a squat position leaned up against a wall the longest.

Play Fibbage – The online TV game made by Jackbox Games is a fun one to play with a small group.

Red Hands – The hand slap game can result in some sore hands and hurt feelings but makes a good addition. One player extends their hands with palms up; the second player places their hands on top palms down. The player with hands palm up must hit the second player’s hands before she moves them away.

By Michael O’Halloran

Michael is the founder and editor of Greeting Card Poet.

Etcetera

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