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Today is Festivus (aka ‘The Holiday For The Rest of Us’)

Commercialism of Christmas got you down? Not feeling the holiday spirit? Perhaps Festivus (aka “the holiday for the rest of us”) is just what the doctor ordered.

• Made famous by a 1997 “Seinfeld” episode in which George’s father explains the alterna-holiday, Festivus has since taken on a life of its own.

• Celebrated on December 23, the nondenominational holiday involves a metal pole (instead of a Christmas tree). Instead of exchanging gifts, participants are encouraged to air their grievances. After that come the feats of strength (pushups, for example). The party continues until the head of the family is wrestled to the floor.

• The story of how Festivus came to be famous is almost as hilarious as the holiday itself. According to a 2004 article from The New York Times, it all started with Dan O’Keefe, who invented the holiday back in 1966. His son, Daniel O’Keefe, a writer on Seinfeld, told the story of Festivus to his co-workers. The writers worked up a show about it. The holiday has been in the public consciousness ever since.

• Web searches are certainly on the rise. Over the past week, online lookups for “festivus poles” and “festivus activities” have both spiked over 150%. Also getting a seasonal bump: “festivus cards” and “how to celebrate festivus.”

 

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