Festivus and three other made-for-TV holidays

Faux holidays like “Seinfeld’s” Festivus, popularized in 1997, forgo the traditional in favor of another way to celebrate the season. Consider it Hollywood’s way of poking fun at – or maybe offering a little social commentary about – Americans’ tendency to go overboard on their Christmas observances. Festivus is not the only made-for-TV holiday – and it even may not be the only one to catch on in real life. Here’s the skinny on Festivus and three other invented days of celebration, brought to you by the Dream Machine.


A Festivus pole was erected in the Adams Morgan neighborhood in Washington, DC in 2008. The noticeboard allowed people to air their grievances over the holiday season.

According to “Seinfeld” lore, Festivus celebrates the noncommercial and the secular. It is to be observed on Dec. 23, and it includes an “airing of grievances” session at the dinner table. It provides an occasion for relatives to vent about their disappointments with one another. After dinner it’s time for “feats of strength,” a contest in which family members challenge the head of the household to a wrestling match. The celebration ends when the latter is pinned.

Festivus is actually celebrated (“observed” may be a more accurate word) by some people. In place of a Christmas tree, the observant fashion an aluminum Festivus pole (no troublesome decorations required). It has also become a tag for December holidays other than Christmas.

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