Food Of The Feast: Festivus (For The Rest Of Us)

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The holiday season is here, and ever-present. In many situations, you’ll run into others that celebrate a different holiday event than your own. In an effort to be accommodating to all, we’ve come up with a quick guide to the foods and traditions of the varied holidays in December (beyond the standard assortment of food-related holidays) to help you celebrate with all your friends, coworkers, and kin.

Festivus

While seemingly starting in an episode of Seinfeld, Festivus actually tracks back to the writer’s father and his family back to 1966. No tree will be raised, but an aluminum pole (The Festivus Pole) stands unadorned. No distracting tinsel, good strength-to-weight ratio, and a central part of Festivus decorations, it can be hidden in a crawl space throughout the year.

Two major events happen the night of the Festivus dinner on December 23rd.

  • The Feats Of Strength- The head of the household choses an individual to wrestle, unless they have something better to do. The wrestling does not end until the house head is pinned.
  • The Airing Of Grievances- ”And at the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year!” Festivus is not often a happy holiday.

To come to the actual feast of Festivus, the event as featured on Seinfeld featured meatloaf. In the real origin, it started with ham or turkey and a Pepperidge Farm cake coated in M&Ms.

Festivus, while initially considered a joke holiday for those tired of the stress and expenditures that come naturally with the holiday, has become a cultural touchstone for many. While the feast is actually minimally covered, the events surrounding it have become legendary. If you and your friends, or you and your restaurant, can take a lighthearted approach to the season, a Festivus feast might just be what you need.

For your restaurant, you might want to entertain the notion of Festivus in a mocking and humorous sense, allowing customers to come in and celebrate the holidays without having to fully commit to the insanity that comes with religious observances and familial commitments. An aluminum pole, a simple cake coated in M&Ms, and even a standard ham and turkey might be appropriate special menu notes.

If anything, you can find the episode of Seinfeld that focuses on it, entitled “The Strike” and play it on one of your televisions for a bit of entertainment; even making a themed-night of it with discounts, costumes, and games (although, you may not want to feature the Feats of Strength for insurance purposes) could give people a light break from the holidays right before they start.