Normally, when the holiday season ends, Festivus fans take a break. Unlike other years, one particular Festivus fan has been busy writing and compiling “Festivus! The Book“.
Yes, that is correct! A new book about Festivus has been released. Billed as a “Complete Guide to the Holiday for the Rest of Us” the book covers every aspect of Festivus from how to get a Festivus pole to what to prepare for dinner. It attempts to answer every question from how you should be airing your grievances to your options for a Feats of Strength competition. In essence it is, “Encyclopedia Festivus”.
Written by Mark Nelson, the creative mind behind FestivusWeb.com, the book was written to fill a need in Festivus. “Festivus has progressed to the point where a written tome was necessary, and FestivusWeb.com cannot begin to cover every aspect of Festivus,” Nelson has said. “Also, in reviewing previous books written about Festivus by Alan Salkin and Dan O’Keefe, neither of those works covers Festivus in such a complete way.”
Sounds serious right? Well, not really. The book has a humorous tone throughout, something many believe makes Festivus more enjoyable. “Festivus is about having fun,” Nelson adds. “Sure, a wrestling match can be a serious event, but, when Festivus is concerned, it’s never overly onerous.”
Included in the book is feedback the website received through a Festivus 2014 survey, which revealed strange details such as what people use as a Festivus pole and how people air their grievances. “We received some interesting responses,“ Nelson reports. “We’ve included all the feedback in the book… at least all the feedback that was family-appropriate.”
Do people still celebrate Festivus? Yes! More and more all the time. The book includes a dozen examples of how people celebrate the holiday. Real people, celebrating real Festivus… from New Jersey to Burbank. From Pennsylvania to Virginia, and then around the world to Sydney Australia, Regina Saskatchewan and Kandahar Afghanistan, before returning to Wisconsin and Massachusetts. The book is literally telling the story of “Festivus Everywhere!” Readers are taken into people’s homes, workplaces, local bars and establishments and even over to the town square to hear stories of unique poles, feats of strength, and special traditions for the airing of grievances. Some parties feature costumes, re-gifting, trivia, humorous name tags and of course just, good old-fashioned elements of a traditional Festivus.
The book also delves into the O’Keefe family’s Festivus. Readers are lead to discover the strange rituals which were included in the original family holiday. The author even asks Dan O’Keefe if he still celebrates Festivus, and receives a very predictable answer: “No”.
“The O’Keefe chapter made me nervous, as I wanted to get it right,“ Mark explained. “I managed to have Seinfeld writer Dan O’Keefe read one of the first drafts of the book. It was important to be sure I had framed his family in good light. Thankfully, his reaction was positive. In fact, the book contains his endorsement on the back cover. Always the joker, the endorsement is humorous, however Dan’s honest feedback is much appreciated.”
The reader is also taken on an in-depth overview of “The Strike”. For example, did you know that there was originally two actors hired to play the two-faces of Gwen? Also, the book reveals some of the lines that were cut from the final episode. We’re left to ponder how come we never got to hear the character Frank Costanza say he was going home to “polish the pole” in the final cut. Finally, you get to read how a minor character went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. Huh, a Pulitzer Prize? We would have thought appearing in the Festivus episode would have sufficed as the pinnacle of anyone’s career.
In an attempt to include every last aspect of Festivus, the author also contacted Mike Kopischke, a parody songwriter who penned some of the first Festivus songs, “O Festivus” and “The Festivus Bunch” based on the songs “O Canada” and “The Brady Bunch”. Mike is a huge fan of Festivus and was more than able to explain the true meaning of the holiday. It’s a wonderful addition to the book as Mike also offered his humorous song writing talents with a brand new Festivus song for the book.
In a chapter about Festivus Dinner, there is a recipe for Mulligatawny soup (Kramer’s favorite), with the explicit instructions to go to your neighbors place to steal the ingredients. A wonderful idea! There is also a recipe for Black and White cookies. “They are not easy to make,” Mark explains. “It’s difficult to spread the icing as nicely as you would see in the same product made by a professional baker. If you can do it well, please post a photo. Your talents should be recognized.”
The book has everything! Did we tell you that an aluminum pole is featured on the right side of every page spread? Of course it’s plain and unadorned, just as Festivus aficionados prefer.
The book even contains a glossary of Festivus terminology. Are you wondering why a glossary is necessary? We asked Mark:
Us: Why a glossary?
Mark: Because it’s funny.
Us: Glossaries aren’t funny!
Mark: This one is.
There is so much in this book, we have only given you a taste of the hilarious details. Check it out for yourself! It’s available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. For a 200 page book it’s priced right, and would be perfect as a stocking stuffer for the Festivus or Seinfeld fan in your life. Or, or get a copy for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!