As I’m sure you know, Festivus is tomorrow, so it’s time to get your aluminum pole ready, think of what you hate about your closest friends and family, prepare Festivus booze, and burn any gaudy displays of consumerism that comes with “Christmas.” Although Frank Costanza envisioned this day to be about the rejection of toys and merry crap you find this season (despite being able to go out and buy various Festivus products), the holiday actually started a long time before he reigned blows down about the man who stole George’s doll.
The origin story of Festivus is a long and motivational journey, not unlike Christmas’ Nativity story. The holiday was first celebrated in 1966 by Seinfeld writer Daniel O’Keefe’s father, but the iconic Festivus pole was added later on during the production of the episode by writer Jeff Schaffer. The airing of grievances were always a part of the Christmas alternative, but the feats of strength also came about later.
While the first incarnation of Festivus aired in “The Strike” in 1997, the holiday started receiving more national attention and celebration over the last 10 years or so. In 2005, Allen Salkin wrote a book called Festivus: The Holiday For The Rest Of Us, and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle was declared “Governor Festivus” and displayed a Festivus pole in his executive residence. As more folks continued to adopt the seasonal practices, a Florida man in 2012 erected his own Festivus pole next to a Nativity scene at the Florida state capitol. And thus continued the “War On Christmas” with this largely fictional and comedic holiday.