If you’re a “Seinfeld” fanatic, you know to bring out the aluminum pole for Festivus in December. If you aren’t a fan, you’re in for a dull time (you’ll see what we mean below). Festivus is a stress-free alternative to Christmas — it’s so bland and unappealing that you’ll oddly love celebrating it! Throw your own Festivus this holiday season with our printable invites, wine labels, grievance cards and “Seinfeld” drinking game — don’t forget the flowers. Now, without further ado, welcome to the ultimate guide to Festivus for the rest of us!
What Is Festivus?
Festivus is a secular holiday observed on December 23 to revolt against the commercialization and religious aspects of Christmas. The term came from “Seinfeld” in episode 10 of season 9, “The Strike.” George Costanza, Jerry Seinfeld’s friend who’s often described as a “short, stocky, slow-witted, bald man,” has direct ties to the holiday. George’s father, Frank, invented the holiday after a less-than-successful Christmas shopping trip. Instead of scoring the last doll on the shelf, another man snagged it. Aggravated, Frank quickly thought of a melancholy way to observe the holidays. While guests thought Frank was overreacting, the holiday still brought tons of laughs. Thus, the long-held tradition of the Constanza family was invented.
5 Elements of a Festivus Party
There are five essentials to a Festivus celebration. To stay authentic, one must have an aluminum pole, meatloaf on a bed of lettuce for dinner, a gathering to air your grievances, at least one Festivus miracle, and, last but not least, a Festivus wrestling match. Read on to learn about each tradition.
The Festivus Pole
Don’t even think about putting up a Christmas tree. Instead, Festivus calls for an aluminum pole, so head to the hardware store. The pole is aluminum because it has a very “high weight to strength ratio,” says Frank. Also, no decorations — definitely no tinsel. Frank finds it distracting. Although uneventful, raising the pole is a suggested ceremonial event that occurs as guests walk in. Overall, the Festivus pole resembles the unnecessary decorating that Christmas requires. If you Google “Festivus”, the aluminum pole will appear on the left side of the search results.
The Festivus Dinner
After admiring the spiritless Festivus pole, guests are invited to sit for an uninteresting dinner where all the glorious Festivus activities begin. The meal consists of meatloaf on a bed of lettuce, and nothing more. The distasteful food is a protest against the effort people put into a traditional Christmas dinner. Estelle Costanza, Frank’s wife, brings out the not-so-enticing Festivus dinner. Fans who have observed the holiday themselves often incorporate other recognizable meals and snacks from the show, such as bagels and pasta primavera. Dig in!
Printable Wine Label
To get through this holiday without dying to leave, provide booze! In the spirit of Festivus, we created an adorable label to attach to a wine or champagne bottle — whatever is your cup of tea. Or should we say glass of vino?
Festivus wine label instructions:
1. Remove the original wine label by soaking the lower half of the bottle in a bowl of room temperature water with 5–10 tablespoons of baking soda.
2. After 30 minutes, remove the bottle from the water and wipe the label off with a dry towel.
3. Download our Festivus design and print on glossy paper at home or at your local printing shop.
4. Attach the label to the bottle of wine with double-sided sticky tape and voila!
The Airing of Grievances
“I’ve got a lot of problems with you people! Now, you’re going to hear about them,” Frank exclaims to his Festivus guests, indicating the start of the airing of grievances. To air your grievances, gather with family and friends and share all the ways they have disappointed you in the past year. For example, in the episode, Frank yells at his son’s boss, Mr. Kruger: “My son tells me your company stinks!”
To inspire reasons why your friends and family annoy you, we created fill-in-the-blank grievance cards based off memorable “Seinfeld” quotes. Don’t get carried away, this game is meant to stay lighthearted.
The Festivus grievance cards instructions:
1. Print this page out on double-sided cardstock.
2. Personalize the cards by filling them out.
3. Cut each card out along the lines.
4. Read aloud to company! If you’re embarrassed to voice your distaste towards your guests, post your grievances on the Festivus pole.
During the Festivus celebration, Kramer, friend and neighbor of Jerry Seinfeld, yells out “It’s a Festivus miracle!” when people are surprised by something. For example, in the episode, Jerry is startled during the Festivus dinner when the woman he’s seeing barges in. When an awkward moment surprises the group, it’s time to shout “It’s a Festivus miracle!”
The Feats of Strengths
Festivus isn’t over until the host is pinned down by the chosen opponent of honor. As appealing as this game sounds, the objective of this wrestling match is to pin the host down on the floor in a headlock. In the show’s Festivus celebration, Frank Constanza is the host that insists on his son George pinning him down. “Until you pin me, George, Festivus is not over,” explains Frank. To keep all guests and hosts safe, we suggest a thumb war in the place of a Festivus wrestling match.
Printable Festivus Invites
Who are the unfortunate guests you’ll be welcoming to Festivus? We created fitting Festivus invites for your celebration. As mentioned, Festivus takes place on December 23, but don’t feel obligated to host on this date. On our invites, we share the event agenda so your guests are prepared. You’ll learn about these traditions below.
The Festivus invite instructions:
1. Print out an invite on a piece of cardstock.
2. Cut only along the lines.
3. Sign your name.
4. Wait for the RSVPs.
The “Seinfeld” Drinking Game – Festivus Episode
Pour your wine from your newly Festivus labeled bottle — it’s time to drink! Tune into episode 10 of season 9, “The Strike,” to join in on the festive fun. Whip out this Festivus drinking game at the party. Be sure to print out a few so everyone knows when to drink.
Although this holiday may not seem extraordinary, the simplicity and spirit against the commercialization of Christmas makes for a hilarious celebration. Don’t take this holiday too seriously, as it did air on a sitcom known for ridiculous plotlines. To make up for the lack of decorations during Festivus, decorate the room with cheery flowers. There are no rules against flowers!