Festivus Rules

People often ask, "What are some of the rules and traditions of Festivus? How do you celebrate Festivus?" This is one of the biggest questions newcomers have when it comes to Festivus.

Since Festivus was spawned from an episode of Seinfeld, namely "The Strike", many of the practices people observe during the jholiday come from events which occured during that episode. However, Festivus existed prior to being on television, in the family of Seinfeld writer Dan O'Keefe.

The Tradition of Festivus (Festivus Rules)

The Festivus celebration, as described in the Seinfeld episode "The Strike," includes four main components:

The Festivus Pole

The Costanzas' tradition begins with an aluminum pole, which Frank praises for its "very high strength-to-weight ratio." During Festivus, the unadorned Festivus Pole is displayed. The pole was chosen apparently in opposition to the commercialization of highly decorated Christmas trees, because it is "very low-maintenance," and also because the holiday's patron, Frank Costanza, "find[s] tinsel distracting." (Read More)

Festivus dinner

In "The Strike," a celebratory dinner is shown on the evening of Festivus prior to the Feats of Strength. The on-air meal appeared to be meat loaf or spaghetti in a red sauce. In the episode, no alcohol was served, but George Costanza's boss, Mr. Kruger, drank from a flask. (Read More)

The Airing of Grievances

At the beginning of the Festivus dinner, each participant tells friends and family of all the instances where they disappointed him or her that year. As quoted from Frank Costanza: "I've got a lot of problems with you people, and now you're going to hear about it!" (Read More)

The Feats of Strength

Traditionally, the Feats of Strength take place after the Airing of Grievances. The head of the family tests his or her strength against one participant of the head's choosing. Festivus is not considered over until the head of the family has been pinned to the ground. A participant is allowed to decline to attempt to pin the head of the family only if they have something better to do instead. While it may be fun idea, the traditional Feats of Strength could be damaging to people, not to mention furniture and household appliances. We have a collection of good alternatives to traditional feats of strength on our Feats of Strength Page (Read More)

Other Important Parts of Festivus

The Festivus Miracle: Although it is not an official element of the holiday or its celebration, the phenomenon of the Festivus Miracle is mentioned twice in the original episode. An obvious sendup to the popular phrase "Christmas Miracle", both manifestations of Seinfeld's "Festivus Miracle" were caused by Kramer. In today's society the use of the term "Festivus Miracle" has become far more mainstream. (Read More)

The Human Fund: "The Human Fund" is a made-up charity used by George Costanza. After getting a gift from his friend Tim Whatley that stated a donation had been made in his name to a charity, George distruibuted cards to his co-workers stating a donation had been made to the "The Human Fund," a fake charity with the slogan, "Money For People". (Read More)