12 non-Christmas episodes for the rest of us

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Seinfeld: “The Strike”

Much like Chrismukkah, Festivus has become an alternative to the consumer machine that has become the holiday season.  According to the Seinfeld model, Festivus is celebrated on December 23rd, and it’s traditional greeting is “Happy Festivus,” but you can mix it up with, “Festivus For The Rest Of Us.”

Festivus was made popular by George Costanza’s eccentric dad, but it started at the home of Seinfeld writer, Dan O’Keefe. Festivus has gained momentum in the popular culture, despite its overly complicated rituals.

During Festivus, you put gifts under an unadorned aluminum pole. Then you participate in the “Airing of Grievances” which is an opportunity to tell others how they have disappointed you in the past year. This is followed by a Festivus dinner, and then the “Feats of Strength” in which the head of the household must be pinned down, wrestling style.

Although Festivus is really just a made up holiday in the Seinfeld episode, like The Human Fund charity George invents to avoid buying gifts, it’s become an actual thing people in America celebrate. Perhaps it’s a testament to the power of Seinfeld on our collective culture, or maybe it’s because folks are just so weary from the holiday season, but Festivus has gained a lot of recognition since this episode aired in 1997.

“The Strike” was the 9th episode of Seinfeld’s last season, and you can watch it on Hulu now.