As most of you know, the Festivus tradition is centered on the display of an unadorned aluminum pole. We’re not sure how the Seinfeld writers Dan O’Keefe, Jeff Schafer and Alec Berg came up with this idea, but we are sure they were high on caffeine (or something else) when they did. (Note: Dan O’Keefe has given credit to fellow Seinfeld writer Jeff Schaffer for the idea of the aluminum pole.)
In Seinfeld, Frank Costanza chose the aluminum pole as an opposition to the commercialization of highly decorated Christmas trees, and also because he “finds tinsel distracting.” Bottom line, the Festivus Pole is the ultimate symbol of an anti-consumerism. Where Christmas has become glitzy and overdone the pole is not. It is plain looking, unencumbered by branches and decorations, and it is relatively inexpensive.
Kramer: Is there a tree?
Frank Costanza: No. Instead, there’s a pole. Requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting.
I myself, am lucky to own a Wisconsin made Wagner Companies pole from FestivusPoles.com. I was fortunate enough to receive the pole as a gift from their company a few years back. I still praise the glory of their pole, and after all these years it is still straight and true and has retained the sheen and smell that it had when it was new. Thank you Wagner Companies.
FestivusPoles.com is the king of the Festivus Pole. They manufacture it, package it and ship it. No muss or fuss. The pole is always perfect and ready for Festivus fun. What more do you need?
Of course, you can buy a Festivus Pole, online or at the hardware store. However, do you think Frank Costanza ordered his Festivus pole from a web site? Maybe just go to your crawlspace (or attic, basement or closet) and find out what you do have. Do you have an old lamp pole, curtain rod? Even a wooden plank or a cardboard tube covered in aluminum foil will likely suffice. Anything that is non-commercial and non-flashy. That is the true spirit of Festivus.
If you are bound and determined to have an actual aluminum pole then go to the junkyard and find one. If that fails, then break down, go to the hardware store and buy a cheap piece of aluminum tube. Make sure that you are rude to the salesperson and try to barter the price down, because that’s what Frank Costanza would have done.
This year I erected my pole in the corner of the living room, unadorned and accompanying a framed photo of Frank Costanza on one side, and another photo of the pole itself on the other. I shall keep the pole photo on the wall, to honor Festivus year round.
Frank Costanza: It’s made from aluminum. Very high strength-to-weight ratio.
Remember, Frank Costanza praises the aluminum pole for its “very high strength-to-weight ratio.” When a Festivus-goer admires a Festivus Pole, they should always comment on the pole’s strength-to-weight ration. E.g. “That’s a mighty fine pole. I bet it has a great strength-to-weight ratio.” It’s just good Festivus etiquette to do so.
Try to resist the urge to decorate your pole. I know that some of you just can’t help yourself and you might want to place lights on it, especially to help accentuate the smooth sheen of the pole. However, a true pole is unadorned. Take my advice if you wish… or do it your own way. Seriously though, it’s your holiday, do it any way you please.
Lastly, when the celebration is complete, it would be appropriate to place your pole in an out-of-the-way place, such as a crawl space. No matter where you keep the pole, it’s safe storage for next Festivus!