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FESTIVUS / NATIONAL ROOTS DAY
For all of you Seinfeld fans, this is the day. Festivus is here. A chance to respond to those who have let us down.
Each year on December 23rd, Festivus commemorates a holiday episode of the television comedy, Seinfeld. In 1997, the popular television comedy brought Festivus to the masses when Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller) explains he invented the holiday in response to the commercialism of Christmas. Its slogan is “A Festivus for the rest of us.”
Sitcoms often combine holidays and family discord. However, one only has to look to our own families to find a little humor. This holiday reminds us how easily we take things too seriously at times. Politics, traditions, grudges and more lead us down unintended paths. Sometimes those paths turn out to be quite the hilarious turn of events. Well, hopefully, they’re more hilarious than not. At least while watching through the magnifying glass of the Seinfeld episode safely from our homes, we see a bit of our selves and those we hold dear.
HOW TO OBSERVE #Festivus
Festivus traditions derived from the television episode and the original creator have been combined over the years.
- Adorn an aluminum Festivus pole to be displayed in the home. In the O’Keefe household, there was no pole. Instead, a clock was placed in a bag and nailed to the wall.
- Serve a traditional dinner in the evening.
- During dinner, allow the Airing of Grievances. Each person takes turns describing how the others have disappointed him or her over the past year.
- Feats of Strength follows dinner and involves wrestling the head of the household. Note: The holiday is not complete unless the head of the household is pinned. Failure to pin the head of the household could result in perpetual Festivus.
- Festivus Miracle – a frequent if unimpressive miracle. You may count carrying all the groceries into the house for dinner without tripping or dropping one of the bags as a Festivus Miracle.
Festivus Song by Danny Lutz
Festivus Song by Brett Houston
While watching the Seinfeld episode, count the number of miracles. Pick up an aluminum pole. Decorate it. Let the Airing of Grievances begin and celebrate. Use #Festivus to post on social media.
Daniel O’Keefe, Reader’s Digest editor and author, created the holiday in response to family tension. One of its central practices is the “airing of grievances.” He first celebrated the day in February of 1966. But later, the day was recognized as it is now, on December 23 in honor of O’Keefe’s first date with his future wife. O’Keefe’s son wrote the Seinfeld episode featuring the celebration.
Used in a sentence: I would love a Festivus for the rest of us sweater for Christmas.
NATIONAL ROOTS DAY
National Roots Day on December 23rd encourages families to delve into their family history, heritage, and ancestry.
Each year during the holidays is an ideal time to collect family information. While families gather around the table telling stories and sharing memories, someone is sure to be the family historian. It is entirely possible a grandparent, parent, aunt or uncle has already started a family tree and will share with other family members.
Gather photos – and get them labeled before memories fade. Names, places, and dates become fuzzy after a decade or two. Strive to involve every generation. Share struggles and accomplishments. Document stories from one generation to another. Each generation is made up of the previous generation’s efforts, travels, failures, and successes. They help us to be who we are today but they
It is often interesting to learn about the lives of our ancestors; where they came from, their struggles, their accomplishments. It is a combination of everyone on the family tree that helps to make the person we are today.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalRootsDay
Look into your own family’s roots. Share family stories with your children. Organize those photos. Some ways to encourage family members to share family history is by asking questions. Come prepared with the information you would like to learn. At the same time, be prepared to listen. You never know what stories might be worthy of being heard. Tools you will want to have handy include:
- A notebook
- A tablet or computer
- Something to record audio or video
- A list of questions
- Your family tree
- Stories you may have heard
- Photos, especially ones you need help identifying
- Photo safe pen – you can also make a photocopy that you can write on
If your relative has additional photos, ask permission to make copies. Whether you take a picture with your phone or bring a portable scanner, those photos may help you to identify people in your collection. Match them to the stories your family member is telling, too.
Used in sentence: I have tons of old photos of family members and enjoy going back over them during the holiday season. Lots of great memories.