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Festivus Dinner

Festivus Dinner

What are the traditions of a Festivus Dinner?

Many people like to imitate the meal that was shown on the Seinfeld episode "The Strike". Another popular tradition is to include foods that have been featured in other episodes of the Seinfeld series. Even further, some people like to include foods featured in the original "O'Keefe" Festivus celebrations.

What should you serve at your Festivus dinner? We have many options and suggestions below. Don't forget, the whole point is to make your Festivus celebration fun and memorable!

Tip: Festivus! The Book has an entire chapter dedicated to Festivus Dinner!

The Seinfeld Festivus Dinner

In the Seinfeld episode "The Strike," a celebratory dinner is shown on the evening of Festivus.

The on-air meal strongly resembles slices of meat loaf placed on a bed of lettuce. The meal also includes side-dishes of what appears to be peas and mashed potatoes.

In the episode, no alcohol was served, but George Costanza's boss, Mr. Kruger, drank from a flask.

The Official Festivus Dish - Meatloaf

Festivus Dinner Meatloaf

Some people would like to stay true to the traditional "Seinfeld" Festivus and they serve Meatloaf at their Festivus Dinner.

But what about spaghetti? Wasn't spaghetti once considered as a candidate for Festivus Dinner?

Since “The Strike” was aired in 1997 the traditional meal for Festivus became known as “Spaghetti or Meatloaf”. But why the choice? Mainly because nobody could actually identify the meal. They saw Estelle Costanza serving a reddish food on top of a whitish base. In fact it sort of looked like red spaghetti sauce on a bed of noodles. But some thought it could be meatloaf, but what was the whitish element that was under the meatloaf. It just wasn’t clear.

Today, with the advent of clearer television (including HDTV), it is now more clearly seen to be slices of meatloaf on a bed of lettuce. Although, the notion of serving meatloaf on lettuce still seems odd to some people, this is an odd family celebrating an odd holiday. So it seems to be perfectly acceptable.

In 2013 we ran a poll to see how website visitors identified the meal. 82% of the respondents thought it was “Meat Loaf”, 8% said it was “Spaghetti” and 10% voted that it was “Something Else”. The masses have spoken and the ruling is that it is truly meatloaf.

Festivus meatloaf, placed on a bed of lettuce (a la Estelle Costanza).

Festivus meatloaf, placed on a bed of lettuce (a la Estelle Costanza).

The "Real Festivus" Dinner

The original Festivus dinner in the O'Keefe household featured a main course of turkey, ham, beef stew or lamb chops with pecan pie as dessert as described in the book "The Real Festivus", authored by writer Dan O'Keefe (the original writer of the Seinfeld episode).

There is little mention of alcohol, other than a note that the adults drank champagne. As well, there has been mentions of Daniel O'Keefe Senior's love of "Pabst Blue Ribbon" beer, though there is no hard evidence that this was his drink of choice at Festivus-time.

Table manners at the O'Keefe family Festivus were entirely relaxed and the children were able to lick their plates and talk with their mouths full. Also, the table was decorated with chocolate kisses, candies and knickknacks, funny hats were worn and the children were encouraged to make Play-Doh sculptures at the dinner table, in a competition which was judged by their mother.

Surprisingly, in O'Keefe's book there is no actual mention of "Pepperidge Farm" cake, which is often referenced as the Festivus dessert of choice. However, in Festivus! The Book Dan O'Keefe did confirm his mother's penchant for serving a Pepperidge Farm cake decorated with M&Ms. He also described it to be a white cake with chocolate icing.

Home-made Happy Festivus Cake with M&Ms

A home-made Happy Festivus Cake, studded with M&Ms.

Other Festivus Dinner Menu Options

There are many other options for your Festivus Dinner. In fact, plenty of people have even more fun by serving foods/dishes that have been in some of their favorite Seinfeld episodes.

All the items listed below were featured in the Seinfeld series in one episode or another, making them all fun options for your Festivus celebration! If you want an even more comprehensive list of Seinfeld foods check out Appendix A of Festivus! The Book.