Festivus – The Christmas Alternative

festivusA few days ago I wrote a blog post that was aimed at Christmas.  In the beginning it was designed to show you how we celebrate the Christmas season in our household.  It started out all warm and fuzzy and then graduated into one of my typical rants about commercialism, religious intolerance, oppression and the like.  You know how I can get sometimes.  I spelled out how Kim and I don’t go to malls to do the holiday shopping thing.  There are a lot of reasons that go into that, like the hassle, the crowds, and for me the commercialization of Christmas makes me seriously ill.  We don’t even exchange gifts anymore.  We might buy something for the house like a new TV but we don’t typically exchange presents that are found under a christmas tree.  We rarely decorate the house during the season anyway.

The blog post had been saved a few days before and I was getting ready to post it when I began glancing at some of the news headlines of the day.  News headlines tend to make me ill in much the same manner as the commercialization of Christmas.  But one story caught my eye, about a guy who erected a Festivus pole in Florida.  I read the article and its comments.  The article made me smile, but the comments that slammed the guy ticked me off a bit.  I abandoned that post in favor of this one.

I am not a religious person.  I believe more in Karma than I do any kind of religious practice.  One thing I wish I could love about the Christmas season is how each religion observes it and how people of different faiths can celebrate the season side by side.  But I think these days we all know that can’t be possible no matter how much we talk about religious tolerance.  And yes, that tolerance includes people who don’t practice a religion and people who are Atheists.

315px-Festivus_Pole

Festivus Pole

Contrary to popular belief, Festivus didn’t start as some funny gag thought up by the writers of Seinfeld.  Yes, it was celebrated in an episode, but the practice of observing Festivus dates back to February of 1966.  It is now celebrated on December 23.  For those not familiar, Festivus is a way to commemorate the holiday season without having to deal with the pressures and commercialization of the season.  Celebrating Festivus does NOT mean you are an Atheist!

Festivus celebrations include a plain aluminum Festivus pole and events like the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength”.  The meal is usually turkey or ham, but meatloaf will also do.  If you think about it, celebrating Festivus with friends or family sounds like a lot more potential fun than suffering through the boring things you go through every year with your regular holiday season churn.  I mean really, imagine throwing back some cocktails and airing grievances and performing feats of strength with your guests.  To me, that sounds like it could have the making of some really great holiday traditions!

Seeing that Kim and I don’t exchange gifts at Christmas anymore and since we like to stay home and just have a calm, quiet, relaxing Christmas Day, I’m wondering if we should begin our own Festivus traditions this year.  I always have beer cans on hand that we can make a Festivus pole out of, and we always have some grievances we can air especially if we save them up all year for the celebration.  I’m sure it would be fun to arm wrestle my wife, or see who can lift our 157 pound Mastiff the highest off the ground.  We could come up with all kinds of stuff to do to honor the traditions of Festivus!

Since we’ve already removed ourselves from the mainstream Christmas celebrations because of the stress of the season and the senseless commercialization of it, it might just be the perfect time to say:

Festivus For The Rest Of Us!

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