Today, we celebrate the holiday of Festivus, and like with most holidays, it’s important to get some historical context on this most, uh, festive of occasions.
As many of you probably know, Festivus first entered the popular culture lexicon in an episode of the hit sitcom “Seinfeld” back in 1997 called “The Strike.” What you probably didn’t know is that the holiday was actually conceived by author Daniel O’Keefe, the father of “Seinfeld” writer Dan O’Keefe, and was something his family actually celebrated as early as 1966.
The elder O’Keefe claims that Festivus, a word that he says “just popped into my head,” was initially meant to celebrate the anniversary of the first date with his future wife, Deborah. It was Daniel’s mother who coined the term “a Festivus for the rest of us” in 1976, “the rest of us” meaning the living as opposed to the dead.
In the episode written by O’Keefe Jr., Festivus is celebrated by Frank Constanza, much to the chagrin of the neurotic George, with a couple new elements added, such as the Festivus pole, the airing of grievances and the feats of strengths.
Enjoy the moment that first put Festivus on the map. And be sure to celebrate Festivus responsibly.