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
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.
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.
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.
- Main Courses and Side Dishes
- Big Salad
- Marble Rye
- Shrimp (the ocean called...)
- Mutton or Pork Chops
- Chinese flounder
- Kung-Pao Chicken (George likes his chicken spicy)
- Pizza (Make your own)
- Paella (Don't make too much!)
- Pasta Primavera
- Egg Rolls
- Very thinly sliced deli meat
- Lobster (Preferably "Poached" Lobster)
- Crepes (Tightly wrapped)
- Gyro (Bought from a vendor on the subway platform)
- Cornish game hen
- Home-made sausages
- Atomic Sub
- Tuna on toast
- Chicken Salad
- Mulligatawny (Recipe)
- Wild Mushroom
- Chicken Gumbo
- Turkey Chili (Recipe)
- Crab Bisque (Recipe for Seafood Bisque)
- Mushroom Barley
- Lobster bisque
- Yankee Bean
- Consommé (It isn't really a meal)
(Suggestion by Kevin F.: If you serve soup you are obliged to give your guests the "no soup for you" treatment.)
- Black and white cookies (Look to the cookie)
- Chocolate Babka or Cinnamon (Lesser) Babka
- Chocolate éclairs
- Pineapple gelati
- Wedding cake (Antique wedding cake)
- Huckleberry Pie (Cosmo's favorite)
- Low Fat Yogurt
- Jello with cut up bananas (George likes the bananas!)
- Muffin tops
- Poppy Seed Muffins
- Bear Claws (Eat them in pairs)
- Pretzels (They might may make you thirsty)
- Pudding skins singles
- Drake's Coffee Cake
- Chips Ahoy Cookies
- Ring Dings
- Airline peanuts
- Non-Fat Yogurt
- Large Block of Cheese (the size of a car battery)
- Dip (Not for double-dipping)
- Oh Henry!
- Chunky bars
- Junior Mints
- Chinese Chewing Gum
- Tic Tacs
- Hennigan's Scotch (Too bad it doesn't exist)
- Fruits and Vegetables
- "Mackinaw" Peaches
- Hampton Tomatoes
- Grapefruit (Be careful it doesn't squirt you in the eye)
- Steamed Broccoli (Vile weed!)
- Boxed Raisins
- Corn Flakes
- Egg white omelet
- Scrambled eggs with lobster
- Ketchup and mustard in the same bottle
- Maple syrup (bring your own)
- Fast Food
- Arby's (it feels like an Arby's night)
- Kenny Roger's chicken
- Papaya King Hot Dogs