As my personal attention is presently torn between calendar co-located Christmas and Hanukkah, I decided to concentrate my tiresome obligatory holiday post on Festivus. It’s for the rest of us you know, and yes, I know it was technically 2 days ago. This is going to be really tough because aside from that Seinfeld episode, there isn’t a whole lot of information out there. Even Wikipedia simply summarizes the salient points gleaned from Frank Costanza’s recounting. Don’t worry; I’ll come up with something.
In our house, out of a long standing agreement, we celebrate Hanukkah out of respect of the Jewish faith of my ex and son. It wasn’t a hard sell for him at all. We started when he was 4 and what kid is going to argue with 8 nights of presents? This, by the way, was a terrible idea. Eight days of hell as our gift crazy 4 year old talked presents morning, noon, and night. The nightly gift was about 10 minutes of distraction before, “when do I get another present?”. Ugh. Naturally we were apprehensive this year because when disaster occurs, the sane thing is to repeat the exact same thing. Very happy to say it went wonderfully with a year of wisdom added to his little head. Christmas remains at my moms, a beloved tradition of many year, though now with lots more stockings up on the railing. She already changed mine to read Michelle. 🙂
So let’s talk Festivus! As I understand it, there are three main components – the aluminum pole, the airing of grievances, and the feats of strength. I’m telling you right now I’m not getting an aluminum pole. They are not as light as they look, and I can just see my son managing to topple it through the bay window. I could probably drum up some kind of trans* symbolism about a pole, but you know, let’s just not go there. Too soon to find phallic humor super funny just yet. Talk to me this time next year and I might have something different to say.
Ah, the airing of grievances! In Costanza world, this means recounting to your loved ones all the ways they disappointed you in the past year. Yeah, I got nothing there either. My loved ones have been super, and even those on my ex’s side of the family really put away the recriminations and have been perfectly sweet. Well, at least within my earshot, and that’s all I really care about. I could air my frustration at my son for being only 5 and now able to deftly out maneuver me in arguments, to the point where I’ve had to break my vow to never close with, “because I said so.” I’m actually pretty proud of him for that though. OK, I’m zero for two now on Festivus tradition. Not so good.
The final Festivus festivity is the feats of strength, which apparently continue until the head of the household is pinned. I’ve never been under the illusion that I was head of the household, but even if so, that is a ridiculously easy task now that I enjoy the upper body strength of a 12 year old girl couch potato. I don’t think my ex can take me though (let’s see if she reads this). If we can reinterpret “strength” as some kind of inner resolve or fabricated esoteric concept, I think I got a shot, especially if I get to define it. I can define the living crap out of anything if it tips the advantage my way.
I think when all is said and done, you will find that I’m totally tapped out on Festivus. I love the idea of a holiday for the rest of us who aren’t particularly religious but want in on the year end festivities that now stretch back to Halloween. Then again, the glory of sacred traditions is that we kind of make them up as we go along and within half a generation it seems like this has been the way of it for hundreds or years back or more.
Oh sure, we’ll keep the name because the groundwork has already been done and people who like to appear clever without doing much work have latched on to it. We can ditch the pole for a shrub (no! no Monty Python here!) or especially sprouty spider plant. The airing of grievances can be the baking of cupcakes or yodeling of Ricola. No more feats of strength, but preservation of meats. Shaping up, right? Awesome low maintenance plants, yummy cupcakes or powerfully unpleasant cough drops, and a sausage making party. Shush you, I did not say ‘sausage party’! And the best part, the official greeting of Happy Festivus, Y’all! Gotta have the ‘y’all’ or it’s just not irritating enough.
So, happy Festivus y’all, and to y’all a good night, may your sausage be spicy, and cupcakes one bite!