Festivus is the correct name.
Festivus is December 23, a day in (television history) reserved for those who feel the traditional holiday traditions don’t fit this year.
Festivus was a holiday reserved for people who were more inclined to embrace their "bah humbug", rather than their Christmas spirit, in pre-pandemic years. Festivus is a good alternative or outlet to that, and it's fair to say there may be more of us in that camp this year than ever before.
On December 18, 1997, the farcical holiday was born on "Seinfeld". Jason Alexander played George Costanza and revealed that Jerry Stiller, his father, created the day to juxtapose the commercial and religious aspects of traditional December holidays. Jerry Seinfeld, who was the main character in his show's name, which aired on NBC for nine seasons and 180 episodes, takes an interest in the holiday as well as its unique rituals.
If we get technical, Festivus could have roots that date back to 1966, when Dan O'Keefe (the "Seinfeld") writer introduced Festivus into its plotline. It was his father who first dreamed up the holiday. The episode's tagline, "Festivus is for the rest of the us!" was a huge success.
This holiday includes a number of traditions that are appropriate for the second year of a pandemic.
Festivus tradition calls for an additional ceremony called the "airing grievances," in which you can tell people how you're disappointed. If "Seinfeld" was still making new episodes, I am sure they would expand Festivus to allow you to complain all about the pandemic or anything else in your life.
I for one will be content to sit around a scrappy, salvaged pole complaining my head off. I'll rant about the missed family gatherings, missed friends dates, and missed playdates with my child. I'll even complain about missing opportunities to meet a stranger, make a new friend, or a neighbor, and have a fresh start, a breather of life. It makes me feel better to think about all the complaining and about the fact that 2021 was released in one big swoop. All in the name Festivus!
I hope to feel better, be thankful for my family's health, and that my toddler will have more time ripping wrap paper and playing with my box of toys that took so long to arrive.
Although I understand that venting my frustrations can be therapeutic, too much complaining (as with too much of anything) might not be good for me.
Guy Winch, a New York-based psychologist, said that it is important to differentiate between two types grievances. These are those that we cannot do anything about and those that we would like to solve. He was speaking in an interview with Guy Winch.
Winch stated that if your grievances revolve around things beyond your control such as illness, cancellations of holiday plans, or job stress, then you can "by all means, stand by that pole and vent"
If you can control the grievance, shouting at others and listening to them might not work. Winch suggested that instead of yelling at someone about their grievance, you should "scream into the abyss, but don't cause tension or fights that could ruin what would otherwise have been a lovely (tongue in cheek) celebration of pettiness.
Tina Gilbertson, a Denver-based psychologist and author of "Constructive Wallowing" (How to Beat Bad Feelings By letting Yourself Have them), says that complaining is not a good strategy.
In an earlier interview, she stated that "airing your grievances" is only half of the battle for feeling better. You can either have someone validate your grievances or you can do it yourself. If you say that you hate feeling trapped at your home, give it a reply like "Yes!" To heal, every grievance must be witnessed by someone compassionate.
If you want to really get into the spirit of Festivus law, then the pole and grievances should be followed by an attempt at literally pining down everyone around. If you are trying to quarantine or avoid unvaccinated relatives or if they cook dinner, this is probably not the best idea. It could be therapeutic to fight your housemates and release some tension, provided that no one is hurt.
Yet, it is important to take a moment before you go all out.
David Susman, a Lexington-based psychologist, said via email that he believes the "airing of grievances" depicted in "Seinfeld" is the last thing we need in this year.
"With the added stresses from COVID-19 and political strife, racial unrest, and racial conflict from 2020, it is important to focus now on positivity and healing," said Susman, who is also assistant professor of psychology at University of Kentucky.
You are a party pooper.
Festivus is a holiday that was born from American television. It's not for everyone, but it's for many of us. Let's not be shy about voicing our grievances. You might try to find a little bit of positivity, since even George Costanza's father smiled every once in a while.
This story was updated from a December 2020 article.